The Green Hornet
The Green Hornet 2011
I had never really been familiar with The Green Hornet other than the fact that I was aware of the old television series that had Bruce Lee as Kato, but I never knew if it was supposed to be a fun campy show or if it was more serious than the Adam West Batman television show. I’ve also been a big fan of Seth Rogen as well as Michel Gondry and I really enjoyed the movie the first time I saw it. Watching it again I noticed a lot more flaws than I originally saw, but it’s still a pretty fun movie. I was especially happy that I got the chance to watch this movie on blu-ray and I don’t that often get to break out the blu-ray player for something other than a DVD.
The Green Hornet is about Britt Reid who is a rich millionaire newspaper owner who moonlights as a masked vigilante posing as a gang member to infiltrate other gangs and dispatch them, leaving the police to take care of them. I thought this concept of the superhero is really unique, but I felt the movie never really capitalized on the differences and instead made it more like any other superhero movie. There was really only two things that tried to sell the fact that the Green Hornet was acting like a criminal rather than a vigilante. There was the newspaper propaganda created by Britt Reid showcasing the Green Hornet as a criminal even moreso than J. Jonah Jameson portrayed Spiderman as a criminal, and there was the scene where the Green Hornet is hired for a hit job. But aside from that, they acted every bit like a masked vigilante taking down crime and criminals left and right. I would have liked to have seen a more concerted effort for them to either pose as criminals or try to infiltrate the gangs rather than just smashing them head on.
I think the biggest problem I had with this movie is that Britt Reid is not a likable person throughout this entire movie. He is a self centered jerk that doesn’t care about anybody but himself, has little to no fighting ability, and is pretty much an idiot. It takes all of Seth Rogen’s charisma to make me not completely hate the character. Kato on the other hand is a really great character, it would have made more sense to title the movie Kato, featuring The Green Hornet. He’s got all the fighting ability, he’s just as charismatic as Seth Rogen without wanting to smack him upside his head, and he’s the one that makes all the impossible gadgets.
The other problem I have with this movie are the fight scenes. I generally like Michel Gondry’s unusual flair for visuals, but in this movie I just plain didn’t like it. One thing that stands out about characters like the Green Hornet is that they don’t have super powers, and yet in this movie it feels like they are trying to give Kato a super power. Whenever they go into a fight scene, or as Kato puts it, when his heart starts racing time seems to slow down. Not only that, but the various targets and weapons are highlighted in a very Robocop or Terminator way being zoomed in on and highlighted red. Then it moves into a weird “lets use a funky 3D visual effect to show off the 3D as much as possible.” Watching it in 2D looks hokey and I would imagine that watching it in 3D would look pretty cool, and yet also hokey. There was also the weird special effect hoopla that went off during Seth Rogen’s realization about the evil plot that reminded me of the montages used during Darkman’s rages. I didn’t like it there, and i didn’t much like it here either.
The one thing that I did like in this movie was the use of comedy, I have to admit that I loved most of the jokes thrown around in this movie. Chudnofsky was a great villain, and I loved the running joke about his insecurity over not looking scary enough. From the first scene with him threatening James Franco playing a hip new drug lord to the last scene with him wearing a goofy gas mask and trying to spit out his catchphrase spoken before he kills someone. But even with the added humor, he still comes off as a cold blooded killer that carries a lot of menace anytime he’s not actually coming off as funny. I especially liked the fact that he generally comes off as a smart character, like the way he ends up handling James Franco in that early scene, and also the way he handles his first meeting with the Green Hornet. I think the movie would have been better off if it had amped up the comedy more instead of trying to pass itself off as a serious action movie with a lot of jokes.
But while I was thrown off a little in the movie, I still had a great time watching it. I’m not a car guy by any means, but I thought the cars used in the movie were absolutely gorgeous. One other thing that I did think of a lot when watching this movie was an episode of Mythbusters where they actually had Seth Rogen on the show with them and they took on two of the movie myths portrayed in this movie. Through testing they found that there was no way that setting off the missiles would have done anything to get the car out of the dirt and especially wouldn’t have moved the bulldozer. If I remember correctly it would have also killed both of the guys in the car. They also found that while there was no way that the elevator would have ripped the car in half, the front half of the car would have still been able to drive. I felt like I haven’t said much good about this movie and yet I still generally liked it. It’s a lot of fun with all the jokes, the gadgets, and the action sequences (just not the fight sequences), but it could have easily been so much more. Coming up on Thursday I’ll be watching The Shadow before digging into The Avengers starting with Ang Lee’s take on the Hulk, the one movie made before The Avengers was actually being considered. Luckily Ang Lee is also this month’s LAMBs in the Director’s Chair so I’ll be able to participate once again. Until next time this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.