Went for the Sting, Just got a Scratch – DeadMan’s Green Hornet Review
Let me just start out by saying everything I knew about The Green Hornet before seeing the trailers and all that for the movie: There’s a guy called the Green Hornet. He has a sidekick named Kato. Kato is played by Bruce Lee. They fight crime…… Yeah, that’s all I got. So it’s pretty easy to tell that I was not what you would call a fan of the character. After seeing the movie, I’m still not really a fan. While there were some good parts, it just didn’t get me the way many other recent comic book movies have.
So for those of you who, like myself, don’t know what The Green Hornet is, let me give you a rundown of the movie. Seth Rogen plays Britt Reid, an irresponsible party boy and son of newspaper editor-in-chief James Reid, who he hates. James is then promptly murdered and Britt inherits his dad’s paper, The Daily Sentinel. Soon after, Britt meets Kato, a mechanic/inventor/martial arts expert/human Swiss army knife (according to Britt)/someone else who hated Britt’s dad. While drunk and defacing his dad’s grave they stop a mugging and had a great time doing it. So Britt comes up with a plan: He and Kato will pretend to be gangsters taking over the city by taking out gangs, thus making the city a safer place. This premise is in essence the same as what I’ve read about the original series, and it is a pretty good premise. Most people who want to be superheroes just straight up say they are the good guys, are friends with the police and everyone loves them. With this way of fighting crime, everyone hates them but they don’t care. They clean up the city and get awesome front page coverage thanks to Britt’s newspaper.
The characterization of Britt is much different from what I have come to understand the original was like. Britt was actually competent, being very athletic and intelligent. He took his job at the paper seriously and his job fighting crime seriously, actually being able to hold his own out there with Kato instead of being carried by him. Seth Rogen’s Britt is basically every other Seth Rogen but now in a mask. He also stays this way for the entire movie. One of the good parts about comic movies mad nowadays is character development. The protagonists change over the course of the movie, becoming more responsible and developing meaningful relationships with the other characters. Britt in this movie does none of that. He just stumbles through everything like an idiot. I feel like this movie could have been better if they had replaced him with some other actor. Not sure who, but someone. Not to say Seth is bad, though. His idiocy still manages to get some pretty good laughs. I just don’t think he makes a good hero.
Kato is played by Jay Chou, a Taiwanese musician and actor. For the most part Chou is really good as Kato. When he is making the Black Beauty, the Hornet’s tricked out car of doom, he looks like he knows what he is doing. The high points for Chou are when he fights. Obviously you can’t really be Kato without being an awesome martial artist, and Chou looks fantastic punching dudes in face. This version of Kato has some weird power that when his heart gets going he can predict movements of enemies before they make them and apparently bend the rules of space-times to make a single car multiply into seven cars then fold back into one. The only really bad thing about Chou’s performance is when he talks. His English is terrible. Half the time I could barely understand him. But with his awesome fighting, I can let it slide.
The best part of this movie, however, is the villain. Chudnofsky, played by Inglorious Basterds‘ Christoph Waltz, is a really great character. Chudnofsky spends the entire movie trying to be a better bad guy. He is introduced in this really funny throwaway scene at the beginning of the movie with Waltz and James Franco where he is setup as the wannabe supervillain. For the most part, he is really good as a villain. His weapon of choice is a double-barreled Desert Eagle which he uses to great effect in that scene with Franco. When he is just chilling he feels like a villain, but when he is on screen with someone else he is kind of self-conscious. He is constantly asking what can make him scarier, what can make him look more evil. What he comes up with is good in concept but could have been a little better.
The supporting cast is a supporting cast. They are just there to react to what the main characters do and aren’t very interesting. Even the love interest isn’t very good. Cameron Diaz plays the love interest of both Britt and Kato, but replace her with any actress and it wouldn’t really change anything. It was also converted to 3D, but this wasn’t really that impressive. Just shit flying at the screen mostly.
The Green Hornet is by no means bad, but there are definitely better superhero movies out there. Seth Rogen is the Rogen comedy character and doesn’t really work as a superhero. Jay Chou is awesome when he fights but can’t really speak English that well. Waltz is a really great villain, a really funny characters and probably the best part of the movie. Cameron Diaz is kind of inconsequential to the whole thing, and the 3D just feels like it’s there to make people pay $3 more. In the end, if you’re looking for a new superhero movie this is pretty much all you got. It’s not really bad, just doesn’t have the same pull that stuff like The Dark Knight and Iron Man.
Final Score: 3/5