Film Review: "The Green Hornet"

(Columbia Pictures.  1 hour, 59 minutes.  Rated PG-13 for sequences of violent action, language, sensuality and drug content.  Directed by Michel Gondry.)  Seth Rogen (Britt Reid / The Green Hornet), Jay Chou (Kato), Cameron Diaz (Lenore Case), Tom Wilkinson (James Reid), Christoph Waltz (Chudnofsky), David Harbour (Scanlon), Edward James Olmos (Axford).  Music by James Newton Howard.
After the death of his media-mogul father, Britt Reid (Rogen) and his father's ex-assistant Kato (Chou) team up to foil a robbery, leading them to create a crime-fighting duo featuring the masked anti-hero The Green Hornet.  When their exploits draw the attention of renowned kingpin Chudnofsky (Waltz), Britt and Kato end up in the fight of their lives.  A goofy but fun update of a classic character.

When I say that The Green Hornet is ridiculous, know that I mean it as a compliment.  Despite a shaky first act that conveys a rather uninspiring origin story (bored rich kid wants to stick it to his uptight, newspaper-baron dad) and some lumpiness in the film's pace, Hornet really comes to life when the action begins.  Combining Gondry's visual flair with a photographer who has the good sense to take a wide shot makes for some very entertaining fight scenes.  The movie also asks an interesting question: "Is a sidekick really a sidekick when he's the more competent of the two?"  Chou's mechanic-turned-martial artist Kato provides a lot of the drive and action in the movie, though his accent is a little thick.  Rogen, who co-wrote the script, is a decent protagonist, even if he plays Britt like most of his other roles.  He's a likable enough guy, but he's not much for range.  Waltz, on the other hand, is interesting as the violent-but-insecure Chudnofsky, carrying the role but lacking the devilish charm of his award-winning turn in Inglourious Basterds.  Diaz's Lenore is slightly better than the usual "love interest/damsel in distress" that this role would usually entail, but she's just not given much to do.  It has its share of problems, but a light-hearted tone and goofy sense of humor save the Green Hornet from being another schlocky superhero movie.

P.S. Skip the 3D and save your money.  It's tacked-on, utterly useless and just screams "cash-in."
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Jared Counts

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Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies...