THE GREEN HORNET
Starring: Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz, Jay
Chou, Christoph Waltz, Edward
James Olmos, David Harbour,
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 108 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony
Director: Michel Gondry
Executive Producer: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg,
Michael Grillo, Ori Marmur,
George W. Trendle, Jr.
Producer: Neal H. Moritz
Writer: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, Chairman/CEO
Amy Pascal, Chairman - Motion Picture Group
Sony Pictures Entertainment (Columbia Pictures/TriStar/Screen Gems/Provident/Affirm Films)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000; Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
The movie, set in modern times, tells the story of the origins of the Green Hornet aka Britt Reid, the great nephew of John Reid, aka The Loan Ranger (also created by George Trendle in 1932). It opens with Britt as a young boy getting chewed out by his father, a newspaper mogul. Britt tries to explain he was trying to stop a bully in a fight, but his father won’t listen. Instead, he tears off the head of the toy action figure Britt is carrying and throws it into the trash.
Cut to 20 years later in Los Angeles. Britt has become an irresponsible playboy. One night, Britt smashes a hotel window while his father writes an editorial slamming the city for letting a crime spree get out of control. The main culprit is arch-criminal Benjamin Chudnofsky, who has just blown up a rival’s nightclub and drug dealing hangout. Britt’s father is shocked about the brazen public nature of the crime, even though he’s friends with the District Attorney.
The next morning, Britt’s father chews Britt out again when he finds Britt waking up with the girl he brought home the night before. Later that day, Britt’s father suddenly dies from an allergic bee reaction, leaving his son the vast media empire he built. Britt fires all the house staff, including his father’s trusted assistant Kato. Much to his chagrin, however, Britt discovers it was Kato that made everything run smoothly, including the great morning cappuccino Kato made every morning. Britt discovers that Kato has other talents, like keeping all his father’s fancy cars in great working order.
Britt hires Kato back, and the two men spend the night celebrating their new friendship with several drinks. Still angry at his tough-minded father, Britt convinces Kato, who also found Britt’s father hard to take sometimes, to visit his father’s grave and cut off the head of the bronze statue the city erected in his honor. Britt hides his face with a green scarf.
After committing this vandalism, Britt sees a gang of men roughing up a young couple taking a stroll in the evening air. Britt challenges the villains, but has to be bailed out of the situation by Kato, who just happens to be an expert martial artist.
Back at the Reid mansion, Britt is thrilled to uncover Kato’s hidden talent. He talks Kato into working with him to become a crime-fighting superhero team, just like the comic books Britt enjoyed reading as a kid. Britt says the weakness of those comic book heroes was that they tried to be known as good guys, which always put their friends and innocent civilians in danger, to be used as blackmail against the superhero. Britt suggests they pose as tough masked criminals to get close to the real criminals and destroy their criminal enterprises. Kato says this means that both the criminals and the police will be after them. So, he builds a souped-up bulletproof car, The Black Beauty, with lots of funky weapons and gadgets, for fast getaways and extra protection.
Britt takes over management of his father’s crusading newspaper, to play up the criminal exploits of their secret identities. After their first foray into the criminal world, Britt suggests he should call himself “The Green Bee,” but Kato, who’s actually more clever, convinces him that Hornet is a better nickname.
Using the newspaper he inherited, the Green Hornet and his partner begin making a name for themselves. [SPOILER ALERT] With the help of Britt’s new secretary, Lenore Case, they begin hunting down Chudnofsky, the underworld kingpin. Chudnofsky, who’s been in the crime business for a long time, becomes jealous of the Green Hornet’s notoriety. He sets a trap for Britt and Kato, to eliminate these new rivals.
Seth Rogen gives a loopy performance as Britt Reid aka The Green Hornet. Though it’s a good idea to lighten up the superhero genre, the comedy here is sometimes too over-the-top. For instance, a jealous comic fight between Kato and Britt over the affections of Lenore goes on much too long. It may remind some viewers too much of the comical fight scenes in The Pink Panther movies between Clouseau and his own Kato. A little cutting might help this movie immensely.
Other than that, there’s way too much foul language in THE GREEN HORNET. This is a bad idea, not only from a moral standpoint but also from a box office viewpoint. Studies by MOVIEGUIDE® and other sources have shown that too much foul language limits box office. Also, the action violence in GREEN HORNET is a bit too strong, even though Kato invents a gas gun for Britt to use to knock out bad guys instead of shoot them. The movie’s sexual innuendo, though brief, includes some passionate kissing, an implied bedroom scene and some references to looking at women’s rear ends. Finally, the Green Hornet’s crimefighting gimmick requires him to deceive people, including the police.
All in all, despite some fun, exciting and funny moments, THE GREEN HORNET could use some re-working. MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong or extreme caution for the foul language. THE GREEN HORNET plays too much like a lightweight juvenile fantasy, not a solid movie that can stand the test of time. There’s too much Golly Gee! and not enough Wow! The Green Hornet’s car is definitely cool, however.
Seth Rogen gives a loopy performance as Britt Reid aka The Green Hornet. Though it’s a good idea to lighten up the superhero genre, the comedy is sometimes over-the-top. The movie also has too much gratuitous foul language. The violence also gets a bit too much, although The Green Hornet uses a gas gun to knock out some bad guys rather than kill them. MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong caution. A little cutting would improve this movie immensely.