January 17, 2011

The Green Hornet Film Review

The Green Hornet

[Editor’s note: Please welcome our newest addition to the team, Andrew Hudson! Andrew will be writing some film reviews for us, and maybe a comic review now and then. Welcome to the team!]


The Green HornetTitle: The Green Hornet

Director: Michel Gondry
Writers: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg (created by George W. Trendle)
Distributed By: Columbia Pictures
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Cho, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz
Release Date: January 14th, 2011

The Green Hornet stars Seth Rogen as Britt Reid, a lazy playboy who would rather spend his nights trashing The Standard and sleeping with scores of women than doing something meaningful. But after his hard headed father (James Reid played by Tom Wilkinson) dies of a bee sting and leaves The Sentinel to his son, Britt must take some responsibility. He also discovers Kato (Jay Chou), James’s mechanic and employee, a fighter, engineer, and anything else you can think of. Then on one night, Britt decides to do something crazy and go out fighting crime as The Green Hornet along with Kato. But with a twist, everyone thinks they’re the bad guys. As they climb the ranks and start taking names with the help of secretary Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz), they get the attention of Chudnofsky. A ruthless kingpin who will stop at nothing to stop the duo once and for all.

While 2011 may be the Year of the Rabbit, it might also be the Year of the Hornet. The Green Hornet that is, the masked vigilante who’s been revived by Dynamite Entertainment’s excellent series of comics. And for the first time, The Green Hornet is debuting on the silver screen (unless you count the film serials or the 2006 French Short).

Many of my comic fan alumni cried and wept afoul over this new film before it even got released. Why so? Two words: Seth Rogen. With Rogen wearing the green trench coat, there’s a fear that the adaptation has become a badly made stoner comedy. So is it a surprisingly faithful adaptation, or just one big train wreck?

To be honest, I have mixed feelings on this one. On the pro side, this is very much a Seth Rogen film. If you liked The Pineapple Express as I had, than you’ll probably find a few laughs in here. On the con side, this is very much a Seth Rogen film. It acts too silly at times when it needs to be serious, and the film is strong on action comedy but lacks in other departments.

As far as whether or not Seth Rogen makes a good Green Hornet/Britt Reid, Seth Rogen is, well…Seth Rogen. Again, for better and worse. The writing suits his comedic skills, but I wish he had a little more flexibility, especially when it needs to be serious.

The rest of the cast was solid. Especially Jay Chou as Kato (“a Swiss army knife” as described by Britt Reid), who does a good job performing and is perhaps the most likable of them all. Cameron Diaz as Lenore Case does a fine job, too, although I wish they wouldn’t force her into a love interest role (fortunately it’s not too clichéd) and just have her being Green Hornet and Kato’s Oracle (as in Barbara Gordon).

The others did fine jobs but fell into two categories. Great actors with roles far too quick (Edward Furlong, or James Franco’s funny cameo as “Crystal Clear”). Or great actors stuck with flat characters. Christoph Waltz, who proved he had serious acting chops in Inglourious Basterds, gets stuck playing Chudnofsky/”Bloodnofsky,” a kingpin who simply shoots first and is ruthless, but lacks any sense of style or sensibility.

Perhaps the best thing about this film, aside from some good jokes, is the action. Director Michael Gondry tries something new with a mix of slow motion, well choreographed fighting, a unique adrenaline breakdown from Kato’s point of view, and explosions that aren’t overly used.

The biggest flaw in The Green Hornet, the one that gives me mixed feelings about the film, is the lack of development. In Kevin Smith’s excellent Green Hornet, we see Britt Reid Jr. go from a lazy playboy to a (mostly) serious crime fighter. But for the most part, Seth Rogen’s Britt Reid remains incompetent in both combat and maturity throughout the entire film. The story also lacks development, with not much progression in style/buildup or any feeling of a payoff.

Like I said, though, I have mixed feelings on this one. I liked it such as most of Seth Rogen’s stoner films, but there were just too many issues that kept the film from being great.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, the 3-D is nothing spectacular, more of a gimmick than anything else. Just stick to the classic 2-D screens instead.

Andrew Hudson



  1. Billy

    Nice review and welcome! I’ve got to say that when I first heard about the film I was ecstatic eventhough I’ve never read a GH comic. It just sounded great, and the books look well done. I won’t be going to see it though, because I wanted someone serious to play the role of GH, not a clown like Rogen.

  2. Aron

    Welcome aboard! Starting off with “The year of the rabbit”, was a tease. I thought, hoped, for a second that there was going to be a Usagi Yojimbo movie coming out that I didn’t know about. HA! The previews looked funny. I may catch it at the cheap-o, last chance theater.

  3. Welcome Andrew!

    I was hoping for a closer match to Kevin Smith’s script but as time passed and the film’s release came closer I realized that wasn’t going to happen. I’ll most likely see it for myself because I’m a fan of the characters but I’m just not expecting too much from the film.

  4. Aaron Nicewonger

    This was a well written review.
    Great write-up.

    As for the movie. I hated it.
    As an adaptation I’d give it a 1/10.
    As a stand-alone film, maybe 2/10.

    What an utter waste of time and money for everyone (those watching and those involved).

    What makes it worse, is seeing the proposed scripts and various attempts in the past for this film.
    Man! What it could have been, and what we got…
    I die a little inside whenever I think of this movie.

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