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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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Who Was That Masked Man?

  • Jan 15, 2011
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 than a bold and debonair crime fighter, as he was in the original 1930s radio program, The Green Hornet is now a broadly defined goofball, a spoiled and whiny jerk who can do little more than say how cool something looks before getting his butt kicked. In the annals of pulp fiction, few characters have been this unlikeable, unimpressive, and cowardly.
The unfortunate thing is that this “new” and “improved” Green Hornet sets off a chain reaction that brings down the rest of the film. This is bad because all the ingredients were there; Cameron Diaz was smart and sexy, Jay Chou was fast and fierce, the action was entertaining, the special effects were convincing, and for the first time in ages, the 3D process was full and immersive. For God’s sake, they even got Christoph Waltz, who so effortlessly earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Inglourious Basterds. But when the best you can do is have the title character run away from a crime scene shouting, “Save me, Kato!” when he’s supposed to be a ruthless vigilante, then something has gone terribly wrong.

In the film, Rogen plays Britt Reid, the son of James Reid (Tom Wilkinson), the editor in chief of a Los Angeles newspaper called The Daily Sentinel. Still upset over the death of his mother, and bitter over his father’s constant disapproval, Britt lives his life as an irresponsible slacker who likes to drink, party, and embarrass his father by ending up on the front page of the morning newspaper. James dies unexpectedly, apparently the result of a bee sting; Britt must now take over as editor in chief, a position he’s neither qualified for nor motivated to take on, mostly because he didn’t get along with his father and is disheartened by the public outcry over his death.
Even though he fired all of his father’s staff, he rehires Kato (Chou) simply because he makes a damn fine cup of coffee. But Kato has other talents – he’s an inventor and a mechanic, and I’ll bet one of his creations is a time machine because there’s no way a person can single handedly assemble a car so quickly. He also likes classical music, is skilled in the ways of martial arts, and possesses an inhuman ability to scan thugs and pinpoint their weapons. I will now skip a number of inconsequential details and get to the part where the two decide to become crime fighters. Their angle: They will wear masks, pose as criminals, and infiltrate the lairs of real criminals. In no time, Kato has rigged up a muscle car dubbed the Black Beauty with bulletproof glass, virtually indestructible steel, missiles, machine guns, and other various overkills. Kato then supplies Britt’s vigilante alter ego with a name: The Green Hornet.

Britt secretly relies on his newly hired secretary, the beautiful Lenore Case (Diaz), for tips on behaving more like a criminal, since she’s a serious journalist with a degree in criminology. He creates his own publicity by publishing stories about The Green Hornet in The Daily Sentinel, much to the chagrin of assistant editor in chief Mike Axford (Edward James Olmos). The articles catch the attention of Benjamin Chudnofsky (Waltz), a heartless Russian mobster who has control over all of the city’s crime families. If you know what’s good for you, you won’t tell him he isn’t scary, nor will you fumble pronouncing his name (an uncredited James Franco learns both lessons the hard way). Also alerted is Los Angeles District Attorney Frank Scalon (David Harbour), whose efforts to rid the city of crime have been undermined by The Green Hornet.
I’m making this movie sound a lot better than it actually is. In the hands of Seth Rogen and director Michel Gondry, the fast-paced and entertaining plot is overshadowed by the jokey and immature antics of the main character, a man so thoroughly off putting that I found myself going against everything movies like this stand for and wishing his secret identity would be exposed. How often do we root for the sidekick instead of the hero? The Green Hornet makes it impossible to do otherwise; Kato is smarter, braver, more skilled, and way more charismatic than Britt ever was. What a mockery of character and tone. Rogen can be a good actor (see Funny People), and he can also be a good writer (see The Simpsons episode Homer the Whopper), but here, he errs, and he errs badly.


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January 29, 2011
I saw this and didn't quite know what to think.  It was alright.  There were some moments when I laughed out loud.  I thought Jay Chou was great and this his scenes were among the best (especially watching him fight) but much like you... I was incredibly bothered by Seth Rogen who never does anything.  As I stated in my review... I've never seen such a useless character in all my life... and he's the MAIN character, for heaven's sake!  A main character that NEVER DOES ANYTHING!  And by the time we get to the end of the movie... he STILL hasn't done anything!
January 15, 2011
yeah, we rated this one about the same. It was weird, I was entertained and yet, there was something that didn't make me all excited about it. I am with you about Rogen, seems like this is the trend with adaptations these days, go comedy to play safe. Oh well....nice review, Chris!
January 15, 2011
At least you were entertained. I couldn't get that far, not even with all the film's positive attributes.
January 15, 2011
yeah, the comedy definitely overstayed its welcome. Rogen also co-wrote the script so I would imagine that some of his personality was incorporated into his portrayal. Good thing Chou was almost enough to carry the film.
More The Green Hornet (2011 film) reviews
review by . January 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A Slapstick Buddy Comedy
“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 …
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 . 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 …
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie


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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