‘The Green Hornet’: Sting like a bee?

The Green Hornet (2011)

Directed by Michel Gondry

6.5/10  PG-13

First impression: Why isn’t James Franco in this movie longer?—(more on that later). The Green Hornet, a 2011 version of the popular 1930’s and 40’s radio and comic book character, stars Seth Rogen as heir to a media empire Britt Reid, Jay Chou as his butt-kicking sidekick Kato, and Christoph Waltz as the cocky villain Benjamin Chudnofsky.

Britt Reid unexpectedly becomes the owner of a popular Los Angeles newspaper when his father dies. Along with Kato, his father’s former coffee maker/car repairman, Reid plans to de-head a statue honoring his rude, insensitive dad. That night, however, Reid and Kato happen to notice a couple getting mugged. Not knowing what to do, Reid clumsily tries to intervene. When the attackers turn on him, Kato comes to the rescue, and of course, defeats them all. Realizing their true potential, the pair decides to try to clean the streets and bring justice to the city, but corruption is their real villain.

            Filled with cheesy montages and lengthy action scenes, The Green Hornet does a nice job of keeping with the motifs of the conventional comic book movie. However, while Waltz plays “Bloodnofsky” to perfection, (he always plays a great bad guy) the others don’t hold up their end of the bargain. Seth Rogen plays his part like most of his other parts—with an arrogant humor that sometimes turns to immature outbursts and name-calling for laughs—and he and Chou are often seen bickering like teenage girls.

I do admit, the car looks intimidating, and the weaponry looks impressive. Another bright spot is the five minutes in which James Franco plays a Los Angeles club owner. His accent is flawless, his jokes are right on target, and his sparring with Waltz is perfect. Waltz’s quest for intimidation is hysterical, and you should watch for the scene when he discusses his plans for a re-birth as a super-villain. Tom Wilkinson has a small part as Mr. Reid, and he plays the part of the business-savvy, workaholic father well. The animated hornet and comic-style music during the end credits are a nice nod to the Green Hornet’s classic television and comic book history. Watch out for the shocker near the end of the film, it will likely leave you re-thinking the entire movie trying to piece it together.  If butt-kicking superhero movies are your thing, The Green Hornet is right for you. If you prefer detailed plots and terrific acting, I would suggest a different movie.

The Green Hornet is out on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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