The Green Hornet (2011)
Plot: After Britt Reid’s (Seth Rogen) wealthy father (Tom Wilkinson) passes away, party boy Britt is left with his father’s inheritance and the responsibility of running his newspaper, the Daily Sentinel. When Britt meets his father’s long time mechanic (Jay Chou), the two take on the mantle of masked vigilantes as Britt makes his alter ego (the Green Hornet) the primary focus of the paper, giving him influence and name recognition.
Alright, the first half is total garbage…but it gets better. The concept of heroes acting like villains to trick the criminals is solid, but it’s not executed with a lot of passion from director Michel Gondry. There’s some really bad acting going on. The first scene between the young Britt and his dad played by Tom Wilkinson is pretty poor. I always hate to pick on the kid actors, but Joshua Chandler Erenberg as the young Britt should concentrate more on his acting and less on having a long name. The biggest problem I have with this movie is that I can’t figure out what the tone is supposed to be. The sequence of events is just awkward. Britt’s at his dad’s funeral, then he meets Kato, they immediately go on a joy ride in the weapon filled car, and then Britt randomly decides to become a superhero. This seriously happens in the span of maybe fifteen minutes. Is this a comedy? Is it comedy, but with serious action? Is the action supposed to be funny? Are we supposed to take the drama seriously? Overall, it’s meant to be a comedy, but the problem is it’s not very funny. I laughed once during the entire first half. The script is pathetic, and it’s not like they have superior comedic actors to juice it up. I’m sorry, Seth Rogen is not funny. I just can’t stand it. Why do people love this guy? I don’t want to turn this into a Seth Rogen rant, but he just doesn’t work in this movie at all. I think this could have been a really funny superhero take if a better comedic actor was in the role. The other actors like Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, and Christoph Waltz as the villain are alright, but nothing special. There is a lot of overacting going on though, especially when Britt goes into his first newspaper meeting and tries to name the masked vigilante he’s secretly portraying. Edward James Olmos plays the Newspaper Editor and looks half asleep during the film. I actually find the villain quite annoying, and I don’t like the long running joke of him going through a villain mid-life crisis as he tries to give himself a generic bad guy name complete with a signature speech before killing his victims. For all my complaining, the film did grow on me in the second half. For whatever reason, I found myself invested more in the characters, the jokes got a little better, and there’s even a solid suspense driven scene involving a USB drive at the end, even though the entire sequence ends up amounting to nothing…lame. But there’s not a lot here, and even the cool car devices are things we’ve seen a hundred times in James Bond films. If this had a better lead actor, it could have been cool, but the Green Hornet is mostly forgettable.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10 (Passable Entertainment)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):
Best Performance: Jay Chou as Kato
-In the beginning, he’s actually pretty bad, but this is the character that grows on you the most, and he is a fairly big bad ass.
Worst Performance: Seth Rogen as Britt Reid/Green Hornet
-There’s just nothing here. He sleep-walks through the comedy. He sleep-walks through the drama. And when he screams, it’s always the same pitch.
Best Line: “I can see by that stupid expression you’ve had on your face for the past five minutes that you’re trying to piece this together.” –Scanlon
-This is pretty clever. Britt pieces together how his father came to die as he flashes back memories in his head, and when he comes out of it, Scanlon calls him out on actually doing this, as if Scanlon was watching the flashbacks with us, the audience.
Worst Line: “I call it the black beauty.” –Kato on the weapon car
“It’s beautiful…and it’s black.” –Britt
-This is what I mean about the writing being lazy. Not only is the name ‘Black Beauty’ cliché, but Britt’s reaction to it is so uninspired…Really, that’s the joke you’re going to go with? Reversing the words?
-Britt and Kato have a mildly amusing fight in Britt’s room. Britt smashes Kato’s face on a foosball table and uses the foosball players to hit him in the head. That’s funny. There’s also a cool shot where Kato throws Britt right through this very small window with pin point accuracy.
-This really pissed me off, and I totally blame the director. Sometimes when Kato fights, we see it quickly through his point of view. Before he attacks, people and objects light up red, almost like he’s a computer planning his attack. It’s so visually distinctive, that it feels like Kato has some super power or something, but it’s never explained. I guess it’s just a directing technique on seeing how this guy plans his attack, but that’s really lame. But what I hate even more is that Britt is randomly able to do it at the end, with no training whatsoever! And he’s just as good as Kato! What the hell! Oh, but instead of things lighting up red, they light up green. You know, because he’s the Green Hornet. Wow…that’s unbelievably lame.
-James Franco has a glorious cameo that unfortunately only lasts one scene. But he monologues, and basically just rips into Waltz’s character, Chudnofsky. It’s the one scene that’s written really well, and Franco delivers it flawlessly.
-Cameron Diaz’s character Lenore comes into the picture, and in her first scene, Britt basically tries to impress her. This was the low point for Seth Rogen. It’s not that he does anything embarrassing or horrible: it’s just that he’s supposed to be really funny and charismatic in this scene, but he’s anything but. And it lasts for a long time. It’s just awkward.
-Britt and Kato are driving around as Britt spots shoes hanging on a telephone wire. Britt responds in a very serious manner with, ‘I think we’re in the hood,’ as he looks at the shoes. That’s a funny line.
Bad Ass Moment:
-Kato and Britt are in the kitchen. Kato gets mad at Britt and unleashes a lethal punch. Britt dodges, but the punch completely destroys this cabinet. Wow, that’s some punch.