I didn’t hate The Green Hornet, just putting that out there. In all honesty, it really wasn’t that bad. The film was torn apart by critics but I thought for the most part, that it was watchable, entertaining and frequently humorous, despite being somewhat flawed. Maybe it’s because I’m a Seth Rogen fan, or perhaps it’s because I’m a Christoph Waltz fan, but either way, I did enjoy The Green Hornet.
It never tries to be anymore than what it is, and that’s a crowd pleasing, mindless fun popcorn flick. And with an already established fan base (the character has appeared in radio, television and comics), the film looked to add a few more people to the Green Hornet fan club.
Seth Rogen stars as Britt Reid, a playboy whose father is a newspaper magnate (Tom Wilkinson). Britt doesn’t care much for the newspaper business and Britt’s father doesn’t care much for his partying ways. When his father suffers an early death, everything changes for Britt. He starts to look for meaning in his life and this leads him to Kato (Jay Chou), his father’s car mechanic. Kato is more than just a mechanic though, he also has expertise in martial arts, gadgetry and just about everything else that can come in handy when fighting crime.
And that’s exactly what Britt and Kato decide to do. “We’ll pose as villains, but we’ll act like heroes” as Britt puts it. He figures by posing as villains, they’ll be able to infiltrate the criminal underworld. Their target is Benjamin Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), a Russian mobster who is up to no good. Using their souped up/tricked out car and Britt’s endless inheritance money, they start their crime fighting spree.
The bromance that develops between Kato and Britt is similar to what we would see in one of Rogen’s other films, such as Superbad or Pineapple Express. And that’s because Rogen has re-teamed with writing partner Evan Goldberg. Like usual, they’re good with the humor, especially the banter and interplay between the two leads. Rogen and Chou are both quite charismatic and this comes out in their wonderful chemistry. The film is heavily built on their relationship and the two pull it off with flying colours.
Rogen gives an everyman likability to the part and Jay Chou has a breakout performance in his first english language film. As I said, the two work really well together and offer very enjoyable performances. Waltz, while usually a good actor, can’t really do much here. Chudnofsky is a bit too flat and generic of a character to be an admirable villain. As talented as Waltz is, he can’t do anything with the paper thin material for his character. His opening scene where James Franco makes a cameo is pretty awesome but aside from that, Waltz is stuck in an underdeveloped role. Almost as bad is Cameron Diaz‘s character. Diaz plays Britt’s secretary, who is more or less pointless and has no real reason being in the film. The character is extremely underwritten.
The film takes on the shape of an action comedy, gone are the dark and serious tones of films like The Dark Knight. This is a goofy and fun superhero film. It’s got a rocking soundtrack and while it can become mindless at times, especially with the story, it’s never unenjoyable. Director Michael Gondry‘s eccentrics are kept at bay more or less but he’s quite adept at orchestrating action, constantly pushing it forward with imagination and energy. And when he does unleash his eccentric side, we’re in for quite a treat. There are a few really inventive scenes here.
So despite the nonsense, crazy story and underwritten characters, The Green Hornet is a fun ride. It mostly entertains and the chemistry between the two leads is great. It really wasn’t as bad as the critics say and I think if you go in with the right frame of mind, you just may find yourself surprised. On a pure entertainment level, it does pretty well.
Sony comes through with the Blu-Ray, offering another strong transfer. Occasional softness aside, the image looks great. Very well detailed and almost always perfectly crisp, it pops off the screen at points. Real solid black levels and accurate fleshtones only serve to enhance what is an overall, very nice looking picture. Filled with clear music and appropriate/realistic sound effects, audio comes in pretty well. Action scenes engage all the speakers and the smooth and crisp dialogue reproduction is very welcome. It’s all around impressive and one or two action scenes even border on demo worthy.
Special features include:
- The Green Hornet Cutting Room
- Audio Commentary with Actor/Producer Seth Rogan, Producer Neal Moritz, Director Michel Gondry, and Writer Evan Goldberg
- Deleted Scenes
- “Awesoom” Gag Reel
- “Trust Me” — Director Michael Gondry
- Writing The Green Hornet
- The Black Beauty: Rebirth of Cool
- The Stunt Family Armstrong
- Finding Kato
- The Art of Destruction
- The Green Hornet PS3 Theme.
The Green Hornet Cutting Room allows you to cut together your own scenes and share them online. It sounds a lot more fun than it is. The commentary track is actually pretty enjoyable and is heavily populated. It rarely derails and offers a lot of interesting information on the film and the original series and how they updated The Green Hornet for a new generation.
There are also a couple little features that I’d recommend watching. The Trust Me feature looks at Gondry and his directing style and how the cast worked with him while Finding Kato looks at the casting on Jay Chou. There are a handful of these small features and I’d suggest giving them all a peek. Not sure why they wouldn’t just combine them into one big making of but nevertheless, if you enjoyed the film these features give a bit more insight into the making of it.
Overall, this is a pretty solid package. The film is flawed, I’m not doubting that, but it’s entertaining and often funny. Don’t go in expecting an expertly crafted superhero film like The Dark Knight, this is a goofy superhero film that never takes itself too seriously. Backed by some strong audio and video, and a healthy amount of special features, The Green Hornet will make a nice addition to any Blu-Ray collection.
A silly plot and underwritten characters make The Green Hornet just another average action/comedy.