Monday, 24 January 2011

The Green Hornet

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Dir: Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind)
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, Edward James Olmos
USA, 2011

Seen: January 15, 2011 at AMC (in 2D!)

Reason to see: Super hero films tend to be a yes for me

I chat about The Green Hornet on my most recent podcast, and as I was prepping for that I realized that any previous knowledge I had about the previous The Green Hornet was purely from documentaries, specials and pop culture references centred on Bruce Lee who played Kato on the 1960s TV show. So, that's not the widest knowledge base but at least it was something!

The incarnation of The Green Hornet stars Seth Rogen as son-of-rich-newspaper-man Britt Reid (aka The Green Hornet), who is really funny and I've enjoyed him in just about everything I've ever seen him in. The challenge here is, the character of Britt isn't all that likable, coming off as spoiled but at the same time it feels like we are suppose to be rooting for him with an underdog-like energy. But the two energies mostly cancel each other out so although we tend to be in the moment with him, rooting one minute but completely not caring the next - which is really too bad, because I like to root for people. Especially Seth Rogen.

Ironically, like the 60's series, it's Jay Chou that we are actually rooting for. They updated the character to be a bit more balanced as a uber-mechanic type, but again that feels like it's cancelled out a bit as he serves coffee as well. But, Jay Chou is great as Kato - great timing, really funny in a less is more way which is a great pairing with Seth Rogen, and he gets to make lots of cool stuff. I wasn't particularly fond of what they did with Kato in terms of the physical fighting, however it's not a bad choice on principle to do something different instead of trying to step into the shadow of Bruce Lee (for a comical take on what that could look like, I highly recommend checking out Finishing the Game: The Search for the New Bruce Lee).

Although I could spend lots of time pointing out the things that didn't quite work (setting up dynamics and then breaking them later, non-alignment with the violence affecting the characters), the truth is I did enjoy the film. I could have done without the oddly adult crass jokes amongst what was other wise a pretty PG film, but other than that it was a lot of fun. When it was funny, it was really funny. A lot of the action is a lot of fun. I also really dug Lenore Case's character (played by Cameron Diaz), and how she wasn't just the 'love interest' but actually a big part of the brains of the operation. That was very refreshing. But in the end, did I have fun watching it? Yep. I did.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it, but not as much as expected
I'll easily watch it again
I'd recommend it fans of superhero comedies that don't mind the occasional crass humour

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© Shannon Ridler, 2011

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