The Green Hornet joined the legion of super-hero film adaptations on its release in 2011. Starring Seth Rogen and Jay Chou would it prove to be a solid comic book opening or join the large list of flops?
Britt Reid (Rogen) is the playboy millionaire son of a big newspaper editor (Tom Wilkinson). Taking his life less than seriously ever since his dad prioritised his business before him, Britt seems to live out his father’s low expectations of him. That is until the dad dies and then Britt, taking on the responsibility of looking after the newspaper, also discovers that Kato (Chou), the man who looked after the cars and made great coffee, is also a martial arts expert who happens to be a bit of a genius with technology. Ever the prankster with a streak of justice, Britt uses the opportunity to get into the crime-fighting game from a different angle as the Green Hornet with the help of his new assistant Lenore (Carmen Diaz). His efforts means he faces the ruling crimelord Chednovsky (Christoph Waltz) in a battle to the death.
A great question to ask in your film-going experience is ‘what do I expect’? This is where trailers and certain reviews can be extremely helpful. If you get a good synopsis of the type of film you’re presented with, then that will help with expectations. The buzz going for the Green Hornet was that it was a comic book deal with jokes. So I expected jokes with some comic book stuff in it. On that basic level I was truly satisfied. The Green Hornet may not go down as the greatest comic book character of all time, and this film also may not make it into the list of most memorable of all time. What can be said for it, though, is that it is an action-packed, thrills and spills jaunt with much in the line of funny set-ups.
At times the movie appears rather self-indulgent for the lead actor, but Seth Rogen does look to be having a whale of a time in the role of the playboy dunderhead who isn’t all that dumb and has the cool one-liners. The heart of the film is also based on Reid’s relationship with Kato. Jay Chou puts in a quality shift as the side-kick who isn’t a side-kick and is the brains and brawn of the operation. The action he does superbly well and he’s not meant to be Laurence Olivier in the acting sense, so he does wenough to make the central partnership a hoot.
Rogen doesn’t hog everything that’s funny and our introduction to the chief bad guy Chednovsky lays out the sort of film we can expect as Waltz playing the villain understands the best ones don’t play it up for laughs, their laughs come frm them taking it seriously. Diaz plays a part that is mostly there to fill in the female input in this male dominated movie and although she offers the additional brains where necessary, it is almost a token gesture to suggest women are not just there to be love interest fodder, but can stand up for themselves.
The standard of the film is marked out by slightly exceeding the basic exectations. It is a fun jaunt with laughs without challenging the true heavyweight super hero films. This makes it worth the view for a pleasant piece of escapist fun.