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The Green Hornet (2011 movie)

A 2011 film Directed by Michel Gondry inspired by the characters from a radio program in the '30s.

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A MASKED Slapstick Buddy Comedy!

  • Jan 14, 2011
“The Green Hornet” is an idea that debuted as a radio program in the 1930‘s, then it went on to movie serials, a comic book in the 40's, a TV series (in the 60's with the legendary Bruce Lee) that got a cult following, after which it went on to inspire another comic book series and other media. The TV series was known throughout Hong Kong as “the Kato Show”; and paved the way for the late great Bruce Lee to break into Hong Kong cinema. When I heard about the news that director Michel Gondry has been tasked with a re-issue of the TV series with Seth Rogen and pop star Jay Chou, I was less than optimistic. Seems like this is the trend with Hollywood movies these days, remake a TV series, movie or comic book and then flower it up with a comedic approach. No one wants to put real brain power into the creation of a remake these days; comedies are always the way to make a quick buck.

Well, the bad news is 2011’s “The Green Hornet” pays more attention to slapstick humor that it loses the original’s stone-faced vigilante bent on justice thing. Rogen plays the character as a bumbling idiot and while arguably it is part of his charm, I thought it overstayed its welcome. The good news is, Jay Chou proves to be quite charismatic as the character made iconic by a martial arts legend. The direction stumbles at times but it recovers. I guess Gondry’s film isn’t so bad after all…so let’s review this movie as a stand alone product rather than comparing it to the TV Series since it simply borrows the characters established from before.

                       Seth Rogen and Jay Chou in "The Green Hornet."

                      Cameron Diaz and Seth Rogen in "The Green Hornet."

Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) was a young man who wasn’t exactly raised with love and attention by his father (Tom Wilkinson), a newspaper magnate who becomes killed by an allergic reaction to a bee sting. Britt is rich spoiled brat who never learned to fend for himself, he wastes his time and money in partying and ‘living it up”. Now, seems like he is forced to take over the newspaper his father had built, something he has no clue as to how to run. But with the assistance of Kato (Jay Chou), an expert martial artist who has an uncanny knack for modifying cars, creating weapons and making insanely good cappuccino, Britt realizes that his life has been empty since his childhood and decides to take on the life as a vigilante called the Green Hornet; with Lenore’s (Cameron Diaz) unknowing assistance, the two embark on a new adventure. But now the duo has caught the eye of criminal mastermind Chudnofsky (Christopher Waltz who delivers the campy lines with natural ease), now Britt and Kato may have bitten off more than they can chew…

Let’s cut to the chase; 2011’s “Green Hornet” does not expand on the premise of the original TV series, but it does approach the material with a different flavor. Despite my misgivings with its execution, I have to admit Gondry seemed confident in what he set out to do. The film goes forward and keeps its energy through the delivery of slapstick comedy, displays of cool gadgetry, action complete with cool posturing, and loads of explosions. The premise of a film is very simple, it is a sort of a ‘coming of age’ flick mixed up with a buddy flick as our two adventurers learn to find their true destiny. It was entertaining and I had fun with its ride, nothing wrong with having a movie that you don't have to think about after all.

                     Seth Rogen in "The Green Hornet."

                    Seth Rogen as Britt Reid and Jay Chou as Kato in "The Green Hornet."

                    Christoph Waltz in "The Green Hornet."

Seems like the film feels more inspired by a comic book-funny paper as the shots and style feel quite reminiscent of modern comics; it abandons the feel of the TV Series that garnered a following (it doesn't feel like a tribute at all). There is “Kato-vision”, a sort of way of anticipating what one’s opponents may do and it serves as a nice character device to bring Kato's skills to light; there is a tribute scene for the legendary Bruce Lee's patented 1-inch punch and references to his fighting style were highly visible in the film (such as turn and hook kick with ease against multiple opponents) . Of course no “Green Hornet” flick is going to be complete without a very cool car and the “Black Beauty” simply looks awesome. The film’s display of gadgets and costumes prove to be the film’s main ‘spice’ as the direction seems to love such things as Kato’s inventions are on grand display. Since Britt knows next to nothing about fighting, he has a gas-gun and this serves as a great serving of comedy. Chudnofsky’s double-barreled desert eagle is just so weird and yet it proves so cool; and held and delivered with campy dialogue, the film stays solid in its comic book sensibilities, (but it misses the tone and feel of the actual comic series). Despite my reservations of the film being too comical, I liked the way the direction handled the wild mix of humor and it delivers as much PG-13 violence as it could possibly muster. I suppose the film wanted to be one of the ‘funny books’; it works since it feels quite sure of itself and honestly it is just fun to watch.

The first act of the film is aimed at our two leads, as they find each other and learn the rules of brotherhood, it breezes by rather quickly. The script by Rogen and Evan Goldberg) does throw in some easy twists about jealousy and rivalry as they wonder who the real sidekick was, and they both seem to like the same girl. There are also some bits of politics and journalistic integrity thrown in. I am not sure, I saw the direction struggling to keep the film moving in the middle parts, it loses some of its established comedic pacing as it experiences a need for a tonal shift as the middle part of the film gets a sober stage. Grondry does manage to keep the film going, but there were times that the comedy appears to have overstayed its welcome. Gondry struggles but he manages to keep it together as Chudnofsky declares himself the new improved “blood-nofsky”; the joke was good as delivered by Waltz, but it felt a little out of place. There were also moments when the good parts were too far in between.

                        Seth Rogen and Jay Chou in "The Green Hornet."

                       Jay Chou as Kato in "The Green Hornet."

                      Jay Chou as Kato and Seth Rogen as Britt Reid in "The Green Hornet."

Rogen can be a very funny guy and this film does have his character down as an idiotic, former stoner rich kid whose eyes became brightly-lit with optimism and dreams of making a difference. The actor is good for what his character demanded, but the script does overplay his comedic persona a little too much. Jay Chou (The Treasure Hunter) steals the show despite his limited English-speaking skills; I was somewhat resistant in seeing him as “Kato” but he does pull it off, as he makes his flaw part of his screen charm. His action sequences were assisted with mild slow motion and while he doesn’t have the skills of a Bruce Lee, I thought his portrayal was the perfect fit to coincide with Rogen’s character.  Chou has that quiet and yet, confident enough to know what he is capable of and this is the true image of a martial artist. Chou and Rogen make a good team; and this film was built on their chemistry, the comedic riffs Rogen gives off was helped along by Chou’s screen presence.

As for the 3D, I thought the film could’ve done well without it. “Green Hornet’s” release was delayed because of its additions of 3D, but you wouldn't miss the 3D even when you saw it in DLP (took off the 3D glasses twice to see what it looked like and it almost looked the same without them). Gondry did seem to have the expansion to 3D in mind (notice some perspective-focused action sequences), but the touches didn't exactly enhance the cinematic experience as with "Avatar" or "Resident Evil Afterlife".

“Green Hornet” has enough ‘zing’, spark, energy and charm to keep the film above the bowels of mediocrity. Gondry appears capable of handing bigger budgets and I was surprised that after his “the Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind”, he seemed quite at home with this project that his fans would see his signature amid all the whimsical touches of rolls of newsprint, “kato-vision”, cars sliced in half and weird elevator windows. I am happy to report that 2011’s “Green Hornet” may not be inventive nor is it groundbreaking nor does it surpass the TV Series, but it does work as a laugh-out-load re-issue (if only for a little while). It was almost great but not quite; it was a pleasurable fun, but too bad it didn’t quite get to where it should be.

 RENT IT ! [2 1/2 Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "The Green Hornet 3D" Poster art for "The Green Hornet: An IMAX 3D Experience"


A Slapstick Buddy Comedy A Slapstick Buddy Comedy

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January 24, 2011
Will add to the ever expanding rental queue. Thanks for saving me $20 bucks :)
January 25, 2011
You're welcome! This was alright but too many elements rendered its good points nearly useless. I highly recommend seeing BLACK SWAN and THE KING'S SPEECH over this one.
January 23, 2011
Sounds like my expectations for this film are dead on from what you've reviewed here. I'll get around to this one, but definitely won't be at the top of my list this season. Great writing!
January 23, 2011
Thanks, Quinn! While this movie wasn't horrible, it sure wasn't impressive nor did it expand on the concept of the TV series. For me it had a good start and perhaps even a decent climax, but overall parts of the movie didn't mesh well and Rogen's character proved too annoying for me. Good thing Chou was good in his role....
January 17, 2011
I had a feeling that this film would be ok, but I knew watching the trailer that Jay Chou was going to be good in this. Great review WP.
January 17, 2011
Thanks, man. I think I should drop a few reviews on some of his movies just so folks will know that he has been around even before this movie.
January 17, 2011
You were right I had to come back and put them some back in.
January 18, 2011
Yeah, this review page got a few glitches. Makes me wonder.....
January 16, 2011
Not that fond of Jay and neither am I into remakes, LOL... 3Ds are overrated too!
January 16, 2011
Really? Some of my Chinese friends here eat up his concerts. But I am with you about the 3D being overrated. Thanks!
January 16, 2011
so who's your fave Chinese singer?
January 16, 2011
I've almost lost touch with that since I hardly buy CDs nowadays! Joey Yung, I suppose :-)
January 15, 2011
I've got to say right off the bat that this looks awful. I'm so sick of comedic, irreverent takes on classic TV series and comic book characters. It's like the '60s Batmania all over again.
January 15, 2011
that is a good way of putting it. Some people loved it but I am not one of them. See, even the Iron Man movie series started falling into those comedic traps and Stark should be one serious and moody dude. This was entertaining, it didn't annoy me but it sure lacked something big.

the problem with  adaptations or remakes is this; they don't know (or too lazy) to build characterization and so they thought comedy is the easy way to make a quick buck.
January 16, 2011
oh, by the way, this is more of a TV series tribute than a comic book adaptation, they say so in the interviews.
January 16, 2011
Which is part of why it sucks. By the way, who keeps changing the topic info? It's driving me nuts!
January 16, 2011
I have no idea. I know I fixed it and then it was changed to movie directed by Michel Gondry (which I thought was smart) but someone changed it to a 2011 film; then now it is back again to 'inspired by the comic' which is misleading. It is getting on my nerves too. The origins of the character are clearly not from the comic and the movie is more inspired by the TV Series...I bet you know the dweeb who keeps on requesting to get it changed. (who in the comic does Bruce Lee's trademarked 1-inch punch?!)
If anything the movie takes a little here and more on the TV Series, anyone can see that. It does have some comic book movie sensibilities in the way some shots were framed and the comedy is like a bad edition of Batmania but it is more inspired by the TV series than anything.
January 16, 2011
I changed it to "A 2011 comedic action film loosely inspired by the comic book character of the same name" because that's what it is. If people just say the film and the year, that's not really a definition. And someone put 3D into the title, which is silly because 3D is one of the screening formats, it's a technical aspect and not part of what the film is called. (sighs)
January 16, 2011
Well, for one thing, the origins of the character DID NOT come from the comic and another, when you see the film, it clearly pays homages to the TV Series than any of the comics. (The TV series is more popular) and even the filmmakers said they had the TV SERIES in mind when they made the movie; the comic wasn't very popular as I could tell and the TV series did inspire a new version in the 80's and the 90's. I think the lunch staff made it "a movie directed by..." to make it generic and no confusion can be seen. At times, things are better when they just focus on the 2011 movie itself.
January 16, 2011
Yeah, but leaving it simply as a 2011 movie doesn't tell you anything since there will be hundreds of movies during 2011. LOL!
January 16, 2011
well, I don't know who did that. The definition now is something I restored after I saw "a 2011 movie" and something else LOL! I think maybe a staff member did "a movie directed by Michel Gondry", it is safe but not exactly definitive. I noted why I changed it. It also matches the wiki. I still feel that it was inspired by the TV Series than anything...

Hey guess what movies I am going to watch tomorrow?
January 15, 2011
Man I didn't know what to think about this. I'm still on the fence as far as if I'm seeing this or not but hearing all the comedy elements that are in it and that I think Seth Rogen is horribly miscast as well as Christoph Waltz, who after winning an Oscar must have just said "fu** it, I'm known now" and took the job for teh monez.
January 15, 2011
It's hard to explain how I feel about it. I was entertained and yet that feeling wasn't satisfying; it's like having a plain cheeseburger that somewhat keeps your hunger away and yet, it wasn't exactly filling. The comedic approach bothered me but the direction was competent enough to pull it through. Chou did good by not even trying to be Bruce Lee.
January 15, 2011
by the way, the action scenes (they can be outrageous though) weren't goofy but the tone, mood and script was just plain silly once it hits its middle point. I think you should give it a shot...but do not expect too much.
More The Green Hornet (2011 film) reviews
review by . March 27, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Kids trying to live their dreams
It’s the cool factor done to impress, to the utmost. It suits the taste of those who like to imagine a world that they don’t live in. Hence, it’s the cup of tea for the majority of the American and Chinese public (esp. those in the range of 15-30). It’s entertaining, it’s lively and it’s kind of funny in some ways. You’d think, how could anyone be impressed with such kind of bs? Well, anyone and everyone who has a sense of humor as well as sense of adventure, …
review by . May 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I waited a long time to view this film and I should have waited longer! It was worse than what most of the critics said about it. Seth Rogen is incredibly miscast in this movie that is a ridiculously bad comedy that does nothing to imitate one of the best action based television series ever. The movie had a decent first scene with a young Britt Reid being sent home from school to face the wrath of his father, who pulls the head off his superhero doll. Shift forward 20 years and we have Seth Rogen …
review by . January 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
If there's anything about comedies like The Green Hornet, it's that you can always bet someone will be crazy enough to take it far too seriously.  And yet there's a sense that can't blame people for actually doing it.  The Green Hornet isn't a bad movie by any means, but that doesn't mean it doesn't sting.  It does, but that sting doesn't hurt as much as you might think.  Much of what the Green Hornet doesn't do too well it's made up for …
review by . January 16, 2011
Get Stung Again
The Green  Hornet debuts in theaters this weekend.      This film covers the origin story of how Britt Reid decides to become the Green Hornet to fight crime. It is interesting what has been remembered from the old Green Hornet TV show to people who were not part of the generation where it debuted. Few people would probably be able to identify, offhand, the actor who played Britt Reid. Whether the same will happen to the revival of this franchise to a new generation has …
review by . May 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*1/2 out of ****     As a superhero movie, directed by Michel Gondry, and written by Seth Rogen; "The Green Hornet" really pisses me off. It has the potential of a really awesome, radical, "cool" action-surrealism flick, but alas, it's trash. Complete and utter trash. I guess that doesn't mean it's unwatchable, but when people call the film "fun", I can't help but wonder how disturbed these people really are.    There's nothing fun about watching a talented …
review by . January 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Green Hornet has appeared in books, a television series, and perhaps in its most famous form, as a radio series. Adapting a superhero to the big screen is not without its share of challenges. For every Batman and Spiderman that sets box office records there are several that fail miserably, such as Daredevil, Elektra, The Phantom, The Shadow, and the first Hulk movie.      When it was first announced that Seth Rogen would star as the title character many people were first …
review by . January 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Coulda used a little more green
THE GREEN HORNET   Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg   Directed by Michel Gondry   Starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson and Christoph Waltz       Britt Reid: That is the balls.       I’ve got to give it up for Seth Rogen.  The man has gone from full on geek to perpetual stoner to slimmed down, unexpected superhero in Michel Gondry’s most indisputable attempt to penetrate the …
review by . January 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         You know something is wrong when the worst character in The Green Hornet is The Green Hornet himself. As portrayed by Seth Rogen, we see a twelve-year-old trapped in a man’s body, a bratty and talkative megalomaniac that does none of the dirty work and truly has no idea what he’s doing. Rogen, who is also the co-writer and one of the executive producers, is not only tragically miscast but has also written his character badly; rather …
review by . May 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I think Seth Rogen is at his best when he keeps his mouth shut.  Which, unfortunately isn’t hardly ever these days, and is almost completely never in “The Green Hornet.”    He was one of my favorite characters (second after the great Busy Philips) in the cult TV show “Freaks and Geeks,”  and he did it mostly with a glower and a few choice words.  His best cinematic performance so far has been in “Observe and Report,”  an unsettling, …
Quick Tip by . May 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Dumb, dull, unfunny and extraordinary, excruciatingly overlong Michael Gondry and Seth Rogen's   "The Green Hornet" is the epitome of what filmmaking at its absolute worst. This idiotic, inane so-called "slap-stick"/ “superhero"/ "buddy comedy" film is one of the very worst films of the year and in my opinion a top contender for the worst picture of 2011 category for the "Razzie.” Rogen who stars and co-wrote …
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The Green Hornet is an upcoming 2011 action-comedy film, based on the character of the same name. The Green Hornet is an American pulp hero and masked vigilante - created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker with input by radio director James Jewell in 1936. Since his radio debut in the 1930s, the Green Hornet has appeared in numerous serialized dramas in a wide variety of media. The character appeared in film serials in the 1940s, a network television program in the 1960s, multiple comic book series from the 1940s on, and a feature film in January 2011.

Directed by Michel Gondry, the film stars Seth Rogen in the title role, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Evan Goldberg. Supporting actors include Jay Chou as Kato, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz, Edward James Olmos, David Harbour and Tom Wilkinson.

The film will be released in the United States on January 14, 2011, and the United Kingdom April 8, 2011, which will also include RealD Cinema and IMAX 3D. The film has been dubbed as a re-issue of the TV series rather than the serials or the comic books. After all, it has strong tibutes to Bruce Lee's portrayal and even gives homage to his one-inch punch. Jay Chou knew he couldn't play the role like Bruce, but the references to his movements were all there.

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Director: Michel Gondry
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: January 14, 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Runtime: 108 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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