For anyone who is in a terrible hurry, it all boils down to this… The Green Hornet is an entertaining film. If you spend the money to see it in theaters you likely won’t feel slighted afterwards. That being said, there is a catch… you have to suspend your disbelief about this movie and enjoy it for what it is. Die hard comic book geeks: you will probably find this to be a slightly campy re-issue of the 1960’s television series. Film school nerds: you might be disappointed by Michel Gondry’s adaptation. But once again, if you accept this film for the not-too-serious action-comedy that it is then you are bound to enjoy yourself.
This version Green Hornet is the large-screen adaptation of a 1960’s television show and before that a serial radio program, stemming originally from a DC comic book series (the label that brought you Superman and Batman). This incarnation stars Seth Rogen as Britt Reid (a.k.a. The Green Hornet), aire to his recently deceased father’s multi-million dollar newspaper empire. After his father’s death, Reid decides to fight crime as a vigilante and by posing as a criminal himself he is able to infiltrate the criminal underworld. It’s no coincidence that Rogen’s character delivers seemingly off-the-cuff one liners at every turn; Rogen also co-wrote and co-produced the movie. Vietnamese film star, Jay Chou has taken on the role (previously filled by the late and great Bruce Lee) of Green Hornet’s sidekick, Kato. It’s hard to be critical of Chou’s portrayal of Kato; it just doesn’t stack up against Bruce Lee’s legacy, but who could really? He makes a valiant effort, but Lee had a certain quite cool about him that anyone would be hard-pressed to replicate.
The last unknown factor in this endeavor is French-born director Michel Gondry. Gondry made a name for himself directing a string of visually compelling music videos and has been consistantly moving on to bigger and better work over the last few years. Gondry’s work most notable to American audiences would be “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” though I personally think his best directorial effort was the music video for “Star Guitar” by the Chemical Brothers. Gondry has a tendancy to be highly experimental with his cinematography and while this often bares bountiful fruit, in the case of Green Hornet it comes off as doing camera tricks for the sake of doing camera tricks.
These concerns are minor in the face of the movie as a whole, but such fair warnings need to be issued in order to avoid hurt feelings later. So check your critical thinking brain (the brain you took with you to see “Black Swan”) at the door and enjoy the ride. And in the name of enjoying big explosions and fight scenes, it’s worth dropping a few extra dollars to see this one in 3D.
Now on DVD
Running Time 119 minutes