By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
Let’s face it.Of the pantheon of superheroes, The Green Hornet has always been kind of the good-for-nothing lazy stepbrother lying on the couch with a half-eaten microwave pizza on his chest.Created in 1935, he was apparently an attempt to cash in on the success of other crime-fighting radio serials.When told that the name “The Hornet” had already been used, the producer considered blue and even pink before picking green.
The Green Hornet was born, and that was pretty much the extent of the development put into his character (millionaire playboy: yawn… cool car, sure… ass-kicking Asian sidekick: well, I guess…).The new Green Hornet replicates that level of effort with an almost uncanny devotion to detail…
… and that’s o.k.If you’re expecting more than an amusing popcorn flick in January you’ve not been paying much attention for your entire movie-watching life.It’s the dumping ground for studios.For once, though I don’t really understand it.This was a labor of love for Seth Rogen, who co-wrote and starred in the movie.It’s got good-natured, laid back comedy as well as plenty of shit blowing up, which is all the rationale studios seem to need to do a huge summer release these days.
There’s plenty to like.Rogen does his usually snappy lines and wry wit thing, and I’ve yet to get tired of it.Jay Chou plays his sidekick Kato, who is really the reason behind the crime-fighting duo’s success.He convincingly plays a person who’s made himself into the next thing to a superhero, and his time-slowing fights are pretty cool.His just awful accent also makes for some good times.
Christopher Waltz plays an insecure supervillain, and although he doesn’t get anywhere near the chilling evil of his character in Inglourious Basterds, he brings enough to keep us interested.His scene with James Franco (a cameo “new school” villain) is nothing short of hilarious.
A last shout out to director Michel Gondry.A late addition when another director fell through, and saddled with a last-minute 3D conversion, he can be forgiven for not delivering a film as mind-numbingly original as ‘Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind’ or ‘The Science of Sleep’.His fingerprints are unmistakably on the film, though, especially a revelation sequence where Rogen’s character begins to put it all together that is as impressive as anything you’re likely to see this year.
This one is more like his latest film, ‘Be Kind, Rewind’, which is an ode to unpretentious, joyful film-making.‘The Green Hornet’ is essentially that: some entertaining, creative guys spending studio dollars on explosives and cool shit and having a lot of fun, and it is very contagious.
It’s certainly not all perfection, though.Seth Rogen has done very well for himself with smart, relevant comedy with plays perfectly with his dry, slacker delivery.Most of these lines were given to him by the Apatow machine, though, which he doesn’t quite live up to by himself.The generally comic script is unfortunately riddled with tired, never-funny lines like “Me likey…”I realize that he was trying to write his character as a clueless douchebag, but at times he succeeds too well…
I could prescribe a drink for the sometimes less than impressive special effects.I can’t really, because it’s obvious they’re trying so hard within a finite budget, and they almost have the thrown-together charm of the ‘sweded’ movies from ‘Be Kind, Rewind.’
So, I’ll kinda nitpick here.One thing that a lot of people won’t notice, but what becomes impossible to ignore when it’s pointed out, is the use of poorly looped punch lines.Let me explain.In some scenes, the camera pans away from a character, or never shows them, yet a dubbed-in and completely unnecessary line, like “Well, that didn’t work” is heard.It’s always lame, and now it will annoy you, too.My sincerest apologies.
It may not be high art, but it’s undeniably entertaining.So crack open some cold ones and give it a watch.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: whenever Kato kicks somebody in the face
Take a drink: each time Rogen inexplicably escapes death
Drink a shot: whenever time slows down