Friday, January 14, 2011

The Green Hornet Review

Greetings Internet!

I’m sorry about how long its been since my last review...but I’ll make my triumphant return with a discussion about the absolutely incredible The Green Hornet.  For a film that’s gone through development hell, with multiple incarnations since the mid-90s, the end product is visual overload in all the best ways.  Part bad-ass action movie, part buddy-comedy TGH exudes a special kind of frenetic energy that keeps the pace brisk and the audience consistently entertained.  More than once was my jaw on the floor at what was flashing before my eyes.

The Green Hornet’s story follows a relatively well-trodden path for most super-hero and comic book movies.  The main character (Britt, played by Seth Rogen) goes from a boy with a very non-nurturing childhood to a man with daddy issues, culminating in a crime-fighting bad-ass with an even more bad-ass partner (Kato, played by John Chou).  The major twist to this familiar hero story is in how the protagonists go about their crime fighting; they pose as villains but ultimately act as heroes.  With this methodology the pair are able to take down Los Angeles’ crime population with the facade of eliminating their competition.  This is a fairly simple, straightforward plot with just enough twists and turns to keep the viewership interested; a simple story can allow the phenomenal action sequences and overall stunning visual flair stand out that much more.  A complicated plot can be a blessing and a curse; if the audience diverts their attention to deciphering what is happening, there is opportunity for nuances in the film to be missed, of which The Green Hornet has plenty.  The simplicity of the story allows the viewer to sit back and bask in the genius that is Michel Gondry.  Gondry pushes his incredible filmmaking style further down the rabbit hole the TGH; the Kato-vision fight sequences are absolutely stunning, as is a how’d-he-do-dat epic car chase that seems to last forever (which is a very, very good thing).

Seth Rogen continues his string of excellent comedic performances with The Green Hornet.  This is a very funny movie.  There were very few heavily-dramatic moments in the film, usually capped with a great one-liner to pull us back into the happy place in which this film lives.  And that’s the way it should be.  For this type of hero movie a straight dramatic tone would just not fit; a film about two men wearing green masks driving in a James Bond-style Chrysler Imperial needs to have a comedic overtone.  Writers Rogen and Evan Goldberg (who also teamed up for Superbad and Pineapple Express) did a fantastic job of melding action and comedy into a marriage of pure awesomeness.  Add in Gondry’s visionary skillset and you’ve got a film that works on so very many levels.
I would be remiss to conclude this review without mentioning Christoph Waltz.  He was absolutely phenomenal in Inglourious Basterds, and he continues his trend of greatness with The Green Hornet.  Waltz plays a great villain; despite his somewhat un-menacing stature he is a ruthless mobster who controls all of the crime in LA.  He does whatever is necessary to maintain his position of power..did I mention that he carries a custom-made double-barrel handgun??  His deadpan delivery makes his already-hilarious dialogue even funnier.  This man needs to be in every film, immediately.  Please, Sam Mendes, cast Waltz as the main villain in Bond 23!!!

If you couldn’t tell, I absolutely loved The Green Hornet.  It is quite the ride from beginning to end.  While delivering one of the best comedies I’ve seen in a long time, Michel Gondry has pushed the envelope on visual effects and the use of 3D to augment a film.  I’m not exactly the biggest fan of 3D films, but when used subtly adding in the third dimension can really enhance the viewing experience.  The Green Hornet’s use of 3D will impress you more than it will annoy you.  Clash of the Titans, this is not.  If you enjoy action-comedies The Green Hornet is a must-see.  If this is any indication on what is to come in 2011 I predict that I’ll be a very happy nerd.

The Green Hornet: 4/5

The Bearded Bullet


  1. Great review for the first great movie of the year!!