Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Movie Review: The Green Hornet

Directed by Michel Gondry, (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind) The Green Hornet is an adaptation of the 1930s radio drama of the same name (it wasn’t a comic book for another decade). Pampered rich boy Britt Reid (Seth Rogan) is a slacker with serious daddy issues enjoying a balanced life of slacking and partying until his father’s death leaves him charge of the family newspaper: The Daily Sentinel. Distraught, he forms a bond with his father’s former mechanic Kato (Jay Chou). During a booze-inspired late-night desecration of his father’s grave (remember, daddy issues) Britt and Kato thwart a mugging, which inspires Britt to start a crime fighting duo. Britt calls himself “The Green Hornet” and poses as an upstart criminal attempting to muscle in on crime lord Chudnofsky’s (Christopher Waltz) territory.

Over the last few years there have been two directions that a decent action movie can go in: the gritty and realistic (Batman Begins) or the glibly self aware action comedy (Iron Man). But The Green Hornet is so self aware that it’s practically provides its own MST3000 track. Starring (and written by!) Seth Rogan, almost every criticism you could aim at The Green Hornet is voiced by the characters themselves. For example, Chudnofsky’s metamorphosis from respectable mafioso to a crazy guy in a gas mask and red trench coat calling himself “Bloodnofsky” isn’t really believable, but it it hilarious. Even when his underling says that adopting a scary name and catch phrase is a horribly stupid idea, he goes with it because, hey, why not? Which pretty much sums the entire movie. Does it make sense? No, but it’s funny, so why not?

What was surprising was the amount of violence in the film. For a guy “pretending” to be a criminal, he and Kato rack up a decent body count. The only major weak point of the film is the extremely forced love triangle between Britt, Kato, and Daily Sentinel secretary Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz). It serves as a wedge between Kato and Britt, but in a “hey we really need to put a wedge between Kato and Britt let’s throw in a love triangle” sort of way. It does lead to a pretty great brawl between the two of them, but it’s really awkward otherwise.

Overall, it’s a tremendously fun film. Director Michel Gondry choreographs great action sequences, fantastic car chases, and times gags perfectly. Bring a sense of humour and enjoy The Green Hornet with your goofy friends.

Oh, and save a few bucks and find a theatre that is showing it in 2D. The 3D, as usual, was pointless.

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