I like to start my reviews off by getting my bias out in the open. The Green Hornet is a film I walked into not inclined to like because of two elements – I strongly dislike Seth Rogen and I hate 3D movies. With that said, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked The Green Hornet. It’s not a movie that I loved by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a fun, competent movie that is almost ruined by the pointless addition of 3D. The movie works largely because Rogen comes is very natural and not over the top as Britt Reid. He’s a likeable guy who desperately wants to do good: but he ‘s also kind of a lazy hero.
I don’t know anything about The Green Hornet so from my perspective it was refreshing to watch an “origin” story and not have any expectations about how it’s supposed to be. I didn’t sit there and whine, “that’s not right, this character should be more serious.” Or “where’s the thing that means this?” As I said Reid is lazy, after his father dies he decides he wants to be a hero. Not because he liked his father and wanted to avenge his death, he wanted to do it because it was a cool thing to do.
His desire was made even stronger once he met his father’s assistant Kato (Jay Chou) who made a mean cup of coffee and just happened to be a martial arts expert and mechanical wizard. The movie has typical Buddy Cop movie style banter, but Rogen and Chou play off each other really well. Rogen is to be commended for being able to take a back seat and let Chou shine. This is as much his movie as it is Rogen’s, perhaps even more so because Chou gets to do all the really cool stuff.
Director Michel Gondry (The Enternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind) seemed a weird choice to direct a comic book movie but he does a good job here. The only time he goes over the top is during the action scenes where he introduces “Kato Vision”. A pretty cool way of showing how Kato plans out his moves before he does it. It’s a fun bit of sfx but it is ruined by the 3D. The 3D doesn’t suck you into the movie, it takes you out of it - especially during these scenes because it changes the aspect ratio and the 3D doesn’t add any detail or depth to the shot composition.
The other downside to The Green Hornet is Cameron Diaz. Another one of my bias’ is that I don’t like her (as an actress). She always seems to play a “smart” dimwit and she does it again here. The movie comes to a halt whenever she’s on camera – which is a lot.
I was never entirely clear on how The Green Hornet planned to take on the bad guys. The hook to the Hornet was, they were going to pretend to be bad guys to get close to them and take them out. But the movie never showed them planning or doing any of this. This goes to Britt being lazy. He relied on Diaz’s character knowledge of the criminal mind and history of criminal organizations to do their attacks. But all The Green Hornet and Kato did was randomly attack street hoods and muggers. They never did anything that would lead you to believe they were criminals or trying to establish themselves as crime bosses.
Despite my gripes, I still had a decent time at the movie. This isn’t worth the 3D premium to see, but well worth a matinee. Just don’t go in expecting anything and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The Green Hornet and Kato are just two people who wanted to do cool stuff and had the money and talent (at least Kato did) to do it. It was nice watching a Comic Book movie where there wasn’t much brooding or tales of woe involved.
Final Grade B-
By Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 01.15.2011