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The Green Hornet
6 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Michel Gondry

Written By:
Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, George W. Trendle

Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, Christoph Waltz, David Harbour, Edward James Olmos, Jamie Harris, Chad Coleman, Edward Furlong, Morgan Rusler, Taylor Cole, Robert Clotworthy, Jamison Yang, Gary Davis, Lu Parker, Diane Mizota, George Fisher, Daniel Arrias, Eddie Perez, Keith Adams, Dennis Keiffer, David Powledge, Jerry Trimble, Maximilian Law, Reuben Langdon, Joe O'Connor, Jill Remez, Joe O'Connor, Joshua Erenberg, Analeigh Tipton, Michael Holden, Irene White, Billy Mayo, Brandon Rudat, Beverly Brooks, Theodore Bressman, Dave Rickley, Dina Mamedova, Tanner Gill, Bryan Thompson, Amir Abdalla, Alexandra Lord, Christy Petersen, Frederick C. Ruiz, Travon Magee, Zoli Dora, Austin Michael Coleman, Les Mumphrey

The Green Hornet (2011)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
January 17th, 2011

'The Green Hornet' can take comfort, and maybe even some pride, in the knowledge that it is based on one of the earliest superheroes, a character who made his first appearance on radio in the 1930s, before having a popular TV show in the 60s, with Van Williams, and Bruce Lee as sidekick Kato. Now this big-budget feature, originally scheduled for release in July 2010, finally hits in theaters in January, perhaps because there is nothing about it to make it stand out from the crowd, and it is significantly less memorable and entertaining than the likes of Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, or even the fairly recent Kick-Ass, to which it bears a resemblance.

This is also the first major studio project of director Michel Gondry, whose signature offbeat creativity is mostly undetectable here. He favors instead, an extremely conventional method of storytelling, while the screenplay, by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, can never quite find the right tone, unevenly alternating between broad comedy, and lame, derivative action, while still expressing a desire to have itself taken seriously.

Rogen receives top billing, and tackles the lead role of Britt Reid, a rich slacker who inherits a newspaper empire, following the sudden death of his father, James (Tom Wilkinson), who was never too happy with his son's aimless, hedonistic, irresponsible lifestyle.

Britt knows nothing about running a business, but he does try to make something of himself, by concocting a crazy scheme to team up with his dad's multi-talented assistant Kato (Jay Chou) and fight against the city's various crime networks as masked crusaders. Kato is a martial arts expert, weapons designer, and auto mechanic, while Reid mainly just tags along, armed with a gun, and several different gadgets Kato has to teach him how to use.

They are not real superheroes, per se, but are simply ordinary guys aided by expensive technology. Their alter egos garner a lot of media attention, and they also cross paths with the maniacal Russian crime boss Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz). Everything feels familiar and very uninspired, trapped in a state of relentless mediocrity.

The sporadic humor is occasionally successful, and Rogen is terribly miscast, making Britt a snide, spoiled, clumsy, arrogant, fool, insufferable for most of the duration, and not, in any way, affable or charming. Cameron Diaz is totally wasted in a throwaway, paper-thin part, as Lenore Case, Reid's fetching new secretary. Someone of Diaz's stature should at least get an opportunity to serve as the obligatory love interest, but even that does not happen, and she has, maybe, two or three brief scenes with Rogen.

Jay Chou looks to be having a lot of fun, and has plenty of presence and charisma, too, and he never does the easy thing of simply imitating Bruce Lee. He also earns most of the laughs, through his remarks to Reid, or his reactions to Reid's frequent moments of clumsiness and stupidity. Christoph Waltz, fresh from his Oscar win for Inglorious Basterds, makes for a terrific, deliciously unhinged villain, but has almost nothing to do. James Franco is delightful in an unbilled cameo (remember him and Rogen together in Pineapple Express?).

Action scenes are dull and repetitive, amounting really to drawn-out car chases (not even made interesting by the presence of various James Bond-like mechanisms) and lots of random property destruction. There are much better choices in this particular subgenre, and don't make the mistake one guy did at my screening; he showed up thinking he had paid to see The Green LANTERN, with Ryan Reynolds. I take it he was very disappointed.

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