Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Green Hornet

Michel Gondry did this rendition of the 1966-’67 TV Series proud, sticking to the series in many ways but still modernising it and making it suitable for the audience of today’s society. Unlike many modern adaptations they modernise everything to a ridiculous extent and although they have upgraded the car, they have kept it to be a 1966 Chrysler Crown Imperial, they kept the clothes the same costumes and got similar features, such as the flipping floor to reveal The Black Beauty and the parting of the wall for the car to exit.
Irresponsible playboy Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) becomes the new publisher and owner of the Los Angeles' "The Daily Sentinel" after the sudden death of his father by an allergic reaction to a bee sting. Britt's party life is about to change when he has to take responsibility in life and him and his coffee-maker/driver/mechanics and kung fu expert, Kato (Rumoured to first be played by Stephen Chow but now Jay Chou) become friends. They later go on to stop a theft after vandalising Britt's fathers statue once they realise, whilst sitting in one of the many cars, how much they dislike him. They end up stopping a theft and saving 2 people. With the help of Kato, Britt starts a new career of fighting crime as the masked superhero "The Green Hornet", suggested by Kato as Britt’s idea was The Green Bee, hmm.
It being the 3rd feature-film and writing collaboration of Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, including Superbad and the brilliant Pineapple Express, you expect the same sort of humour and stupidity from Rogen. That is exactly what you get.  Rogen plays this 28-year-old slacking, party and drink obsessed man living off his dad’s wealth; but once he is left alone he has to become responsible but still happens to end up as a silly and petty character, becoming a ‘hero/villain’. He uses his new found ownership of the paper to publicize the about the high-profile criminal that is The Green Hornet.
Kato on the other hand is a genius. He plays Britt Reid's valet, who doubles as The Green Hornet's unnamed, masked driver and sidekick to help him in his vigilante adventures, disguised as the activities of a racketeer and his chauffeur/bodyguard/enforcer; although Kato does most, if not all, the fighting and we see the Asian fighter plan out battles as they happen in slow-motion, visibly highlighting objects he can use to his advantage. As well as being the top crime fighter in the film he looks after all of Reid’s cars, fixes them and upgrades them. This is definitely where his expertise shows with the creation of The Black Beauty. It is clearly obvious that Kato does all the work and is the mastermind, whereas Britt is the incompetent fool. Kato does not, by far, receive the credit he deserves.
Lenore Case, played by the lovely Cameron Diaz, is hired by Britt as his assistant and researcher. She plays a knowledgeable journalist with a degree in criminology, perfect for their plans, which unwittingly basically becomes the back bone and brains of The Green Hornet’s actions without knowing that Kato and Britt are the ‘mastermind villains’. Doesn't have as big of a screen role as I would have thought but there we are.
A comical aspect of this film would have to be the role of Chudnofsky played by Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds). Chudnofsky is the main villain in the movie but seen as a pathetic and a tad feminine character; that is actually pretty small but controlling over his army of men, this could show his weakness of several men against The Green Hornets 2, and he even asks for their help. He is a paranoid Russian gangster who rose to power and controls all of the crime in the L.A by planning to join all of the crime families of Los Angeles together to organize a "super-mafia." Many of the people he confronts, James Franco playing Danny ‘Crystal’ Clear for one, constantly mock him about how he is not scary, and this then leads him to follow in The Green Hornet’s footsteps by giving himself a nickname, Bloodnofksy. Except from green he wears red in order to appear more fearful and alarm provoking.
Like any action film there are the typical conventions of the lack of responsibility turning into a sense of drama that turns into aspects of control and power leading to the late night researching alone and fighting back harder and stronger, achieving a sense of accomplishment doing good. There is also, most typically, a thought to be good guy who turns out to be a baddie using the main role for blackmail and working for the enemies; found by the past truth and revealing a mischievous guy to be virtuous and respectable.
In terms of directing and editing there is a mix that reminds me of specific areas in other films, such as the ‘comic book’ and surrealist style of Scott Pilgrim when Kato comes to rescue to save Britt and kick all the criminals butts. Also a later part in the film with a fight between the goodies and baddies in the newspaper warehouse of ‘The Daily Sentinel’ reminds me of the scene where an enemy gets palpated through a newspaper generator in one of the Bond films, can’t pin-point exactly what one it was though. Don't worry nobody gets killed in such a gory manner in this film as it is a PG-13 but just the location and hiding behind giant paper barrels reminded me.  

However, there is a section where Chudnofsky/Bloodnofksy gathers his 'super-mafia' together and there are several split screen, don't get me wrong it is very creative the way it is done, but for me it was too busy and I had to reply the section 3/4 times to take in each area. Split screens are a big downfall in my books.
The Green Hornet is a little imprecise as it combines laughs with action, characters with explosions, and light comedy with unpredictable ominous humour. You see which parts of the film are the styles of Rogen and Gondry, but strangely their distinctive and different styles work quite well together, resulting in a slightly comical but confounded movie. I think the film could do with more a sting, it did lack comedy and interest in parts; however it is worthy of the hype it has collected. John Schwartzman’s cinematography skills really do show, and in a magnificent green light.
Result: 7/10 as it was more intriguing than first anticipated but don’t think I would classify it as a ‘must-see’ film.


  1. I never expected Ryan Reynolds to play the Green Hornet. Totally unexpected. I look forward to watching this film. Hope to read more new-movie-blogs from you :D

  2. Sorry to dissapoint but it's not Ryan Reynolds, it's Seth Rogen. Reynolds is the Green Lantern which will be released June 17th in the UK :)

    I will be sure to watch and review that when it comes out.