First Night Flicks: The Green Hornet

The Green Hornet (2011)

Directed by: Michel Gondry
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz
Written by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Based on the radio series created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker

There’s a moment at the beginning of The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) where Seth Rogen describes a certain show he went to see with some friends in Tijuana the previous weekend involving a woman and a horse doing things a woman and a horse should never do. He tells his co-worker, “… it is not as cool as it sounds like it’s gonna be. …you know what? To be honest I just felt bad for her, we all just felt bad for her. …I kinda felt bad for the horse!”

That pretty much describes how I felt while watching The Green Hornet. I felt bad for just about everyone involved in this film, in front of, and behind, the camera.

The film attempts to tell the story of Britt Reid (Rogen), a spoiled, bratty rich boy who loses his father and gains a publishing empire that does not interest him who decides to start fighting crime because…?

That’s one of the film’s major faults, while it wants you to believe that Britt has always believed in protecting the innocent, it doesn’t do much to develop his character early on beyond the shiftless party boy. We’re supposed to buy that inadvertently saving a couple after performing an act of vandalism inspires him to fight crime from within because it felt good to help someone, but the only person we see Britt truly try to help throughout the majority film is himself, even after he decides he has a “mission” to help the innocent.

In fact, Britt is pretty much useless as a hero. His major contribution to saving that couple was in witnessing the crime and yelling at the criminals to stop. His arrogance leads him to believe he’s smarter, faster and stronger that he thinks he is. While this is true, he doesn’t realize it for a long time, and the actions he takes in his arrogance only serve to hamper his attempts at heroism. He relies on his “executive associate” Kato (Chou) and his secretary with the criminology degree, Lenore (Diaz) to help him plan his next steps and build his cars and weapons, but his egotism won’t allow him to acknowledge just how vital they are to his “work,” when the truth is he would be nothing without either of them. If Kato weren’t equipped with marital arts skills, Britt would have never survived his first foray into vigilantism.

The main villain in the piece is Chudnofsky (Waltz), who claims to control all the crime in the city of Los Angeles. He’s an immigrant of unknown origin who built his empire through intimidation and hard work, and can be both chilling and funny at times. The best scene in the film involves him meeting with a meth-dealing club owner, Crystal Clear (a surprise cameo I wouldn’t dream of spoiling) who has dared to operate without informing Chudnofsky or paying tribute. I wish more of the movie had been this fun, but the brilliant Waltz is ultimately wasted.

In the end, The Green Hornet is a cacophonous waste of time and talent, signifying nothing.

The Green Hornet credits end with the Sony make.believe logo. I wish I could make.believe I had never seen this film.

Posted on January 15, 2011 at 12:59 by Lyssa Spero · Permalink
In: Movies, Reviews · Tagged with: , , , ,

One Response

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  1. Written by arkonbey
    on 2011-01-16 at 03:17

    I suspected this from the trailer, thanks for confirming. My video store does a rent-two-get-one-free deal. MAYBE this will be the free one. Or maybe I’ll just watch Real Genius again.

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