Synopsis: In the 3D action-comedy The Green Hornet, Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is the son of LAâs most prominent and respected media magnate and perfectly happy to maintain a directionless existence on the party scene â until his father (Tom Wilkinson) mysteriously dies, leaving Britt his vast media empire. Striking an unlikely friendship with one of his fatherâs more industrious and inventive employees, Kato (Jay Chou), they see their chance to do something meaningful for the first time in their lives: fight crime. To get close to the criminals, they come up with the perfect cover: theyâll pose as criminals themselves.
Protecting the law by breaking it, Britt becomes the vigilante The Green Hornet as he and Kato hit the streets. Using all his ingenuity and skill, Kato builds the ultimate in advanced retro weaponry, Black Beauty, an indestructible car equal parts firepower and horsepower. Rolling in a mobile fortress on wheels and striking the bad guys with Katoâs clever gadgets, The Green Hornet and Kato quickly start making a name for themselves, and with the help of Brittâs new secretary, Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz), they begin hunting down the man who controls LAâs gritty underworld: Benjamin Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz). But Chudnofsky has plans of his own: to swat down The Green Hornet once and for all.
Release Date: January 14, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Comedy
Behold, yet another comic book adaptation has hit the screen. With Director Michel Gondry at the helm the hopes are high walking in to The Green Hornet, and even as the film falls into the unoriginal trap of yet another comic book movie it entertains nonetheless for a short time. But before long the painful generic formula falls heavy on the viewer and all hope becomes lost that this story will break free of the ghastly comic book adaptations curse that has plagued most that came before it. What makes the character of the Green Hornet/Britt Reid different from other comic book heroes is that he is not a hero, nor does he desire to be one initially. The rich kid with nothing better to do and absolutely no ambition, Britt Reid, is angry at his deceased father and uninterested in becoming the heir to the throne of newspaperdom. He would rather have a good time and keep the party going. Enlisting the help of his previous daily coffee maker and father’s mechanic, Kato (Jay Chou), the two utilize the wealth of Reid to create an amazing crime caper car and take to the streets of Los Angeles–without any clear plan or direction. Using his newspaper to create hype around the Green Hornet his antics escalate, creating a war between himself and the drug king of Los Angeles, Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), for power. While being informed of what to do next by his intelligent and beautiful assistant who just happens to know all about the criminal mind, Lenore (Cameron Diaz). Everything becomes one big mess in the city all because Reid was bored and Kato had incredible skills as an engineer.
Let’s discuss Kato for a moment. He is the brains and the brawn of the operation but is demoted to mere sidekick and does not even have a name. He wears a mask, drives the car, understands how to use all the fancy gadgets he designed, and has actual skills when it comes to fighting. He also has the incredible ability to see the weapons of his opponents in lightning time, excellently executed on screen through the use of a bionic effect and the color red, and react just as quickly. His humor is dryer but still full of wit and he actually has respect for women, and people, as opposed to Britt Reid. So why then is Kato the sidekick? Why not take the cars and run Kato and become your own super hero crime fighting force? These are the questions I asked myself from the moment both Reid and Kato put on their masks. Reid is obviously the comic goof, the joke of a super hero but his stupidity and lack of prowess makes him fun at first as he lives out any 15 year old boy’s dream but his lack of focus or aptitude as the story continues turns him into a character you could easily see die and not care one bit. Obviously Reid needs to grow up and this is his “origin” story of becoming the Green Hornet but even when the end comes and he has built a small amount of respect from the viewer Kato still remains who you would rather watch on screen and Reid a bumbling mess of poorly executed jokes and zero skill.
The Green Hornet becomes a predicament by the end. The problem of not appreciating or caring about the Green Hornet himself is not the only issue at hand. The action plays out as it should, resulting in a bloody gun blazing finale with a multitude of special effect and stunt work. But what it does not have is a clear focus, partially due to the fact that the characters themselves do not have an actual goal set for themselves at any point. Are the Green Hornet and his sidekick good or bad? Do they wish to be hated or loved? These questions go unanswered even as they take down the bad guy in the end. Super heroes need a grander purpose, an unselfish motivation for why they do what they do, risking their lives every day. The enjoyment of watching a man put on a mask and play is great and the movie showcases the excitement both Reid and Kato get out of their free wheeling adventures. Without anything more though the film dies quickly and the interest of the viewer drops significantly in the second act before being jolted awake again with the spectacle of the finale. This film is in dire need of structured characters and clear thought, something that has been overlooked in lieu of fanciful technique. Everyone loves escapism and brainless entertainment but when it comes at the cost of near boredom and disinterest is it actually worth it? No.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Michel Gondry
- Producer(s): Seth RogenEvan Goldberg
- Screenwriter(s): Seth Rogen (Britt Reid/The Green Hornet)Jay Chou (Kato)Cameron Diaz (Lenore)
- Story: Christoph Waltz (Chudnofsky)
- Cast: Edward James Olmos (Axford)David Harbour (Scanlon)Tom Wilkinson (James Reid) Michael TronickJohn SchwartzmanOwen Paterson
- Cinematographer: James Newton Howard
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA