Film Review: Green Hornet
● By Wendy Sipple
The new adaption from the 1940s radio series and short lived television series adds its new wrinkles in an updated take on the characters. The movie is ultimately an origin story that follows Britt Reid, a boy whose father is a rich newspaper tycoon that is far more interested in his media empire than raising his son.
So when Britt’s father unexpectedly dies the empire falls to a spoiled Britt in his mid-thirties that has done nothing with his life other than grow more and more resentful of his father. Britt meets one of his father’s employees named Kato. The two strike a friendship. When out late, Kato and Britt witness a mugging and take action. The thrill of saving people not only hooks them, but make them realize how they have underutilized the potential of their lives. As it turns out Britt has the means and Kato has the knack of both weapons knowledge and unparalleled fighting ability. The new super hero duo set out to knock out LA’s most notorious drug king.
Green Hornet not only stars Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, Funny People), but is also written by the comedian as well. So while the film has many of the key moments we’ve come to expect of a superhero movie, it is intertwined with an odd sense of humor. I found the movie’s quirky sense of humor quite funny but I can also see how its unique brand of comedy could turn people off as well. The best way I can describe the comedy would be to imagine Seth Rogen’s character from Knocked Up inheriting millions of dollars and becoming a super hero. His heart is in the right place, by the guy is an idiot that makes a lot of bad decisions. Most of the comedy is derived from how he and Kato go about learning to become heroes and how much more capable the “sidekick” is than the “lead” hero.
Fortunately the film is directed by Michel Gondry, who has a very unique visual sense as a French director. The hand to hand combat scenes featuring Kato were original and flat out awesome. I wish they had more Kato karate scenes. In addition, Gondry is good at taking odd material and breathing life into it, much like he did with Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind.
Jay Chou stole the show as Kato. I loved the character and he pulled off a tough role that was made famous by Bruce Lee. His agility made the impossible feats he pulls seem possible and his calm demeanor just oozed “cool”. I was also struck by the strength of the supporting cast the Green Hornet assembled, headlined by Christopher Waltz and Edward James Olmos to just name a few. Even the funny cameo featured the talented James Franco, a friend of Seth Rogan.
I really had fun watching Green Hornet. There was a nice visual flair that was not annoying but definitely helped the film stand apart in its action. The cast was very strong and the production values were top notch. The x-factor comes down to its unique sense of comedy. If you like the comedy then you will really enjoy the Green Hornet, however if you find the comedy annoying the Green Hornet will not work for you.
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Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.