Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Green Hornet

Lowdown: Useless millionaire heir joins his father’s driver to fight crime as vigilantes.
I will admit to arriving at The Green Hornet by mistake. I was actually cruising Netflix for superhero movies and thought I was about to watch The Green Lantern. But never mind that; it’s not like I was made to suffer. As silly action/comedy movies go, 2011’s The Green Hornet – made by Michel Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame – is above the genre’s average.
Our main hero, The Green Hornet, is Britt (Seth Rogen). Britt is a playboy whose entire lifestyle is the result of his having a multimillionaire father (Tom Wilkinson) who owns a major Los Angeles newspaper. Having the strict father that he has, Britt is not a happy chappy unless he’s at a party, in his limousine, or in a one night stand.
When the father dies in rather eccentric circumstances – stung by a bee – Britt does not know how to digest the news. He feels the pain when his tailor made morning coffee (what seems to be a cheap copy of Melbourne coffee) fails to arrive, at which point he makes an actual effort to discover what goes on around him. Discovering he does: he find the coffee used to be made by his father’s chauffer, Kato (Jay Chou), and is now no longer made because he had fired all of his father’s staff. Britt meets up with Kato to learn there is more to Kato than meets the coffee cup: the guy’s a martial artist as well as a car tweaker that can turn his father’s pet car fleet into something from a James Bond movie. Kato is rehired.
Together, the two embark on using Kato’s skills to deform the statue made in Britt father’s honour. In the process, the two use Kato’s gadgets and martial arts on some criminals that happened to be in the vicinity, which gets the two entangled with LA’s numero uno crime lord Chudnofsky (a Christoph Waltz outclassing everyone else in this movie), a rather loveable chap with the distinct problem of not being scary enough for his own liking.
Things develop from that point onwards: our duo become crime fighting vigilantes, with Britt passing for The Green Hornet and using his own newspaper to push his image through; everyone else regarding the two as criminals; Britt hiring a smart secretary (Cameron Diaz) who, unbeknowest to her, acts as the intelligence source for the team; and the matter of LAs criminals and the local DA fighting things out to a level that ends up with The Green Hornet duo at the sharp end of the fight.
By far the most interesting thing to say about The Green Hornet is that in the sixties TV series it was Bruce Lee who played in the role of Kato. As for the current Hornet? Other than the aforementioned director, several things conspire to raise The Green Hornet above the levels of mediocrity common to films of this genre. Most notable is the cast, which includes many a quality actor (did I mention Edward James Olmos or James Franco?). Yet it has to be noted quality stops with the leading pair. Particularly Rogen, who talks and walks the way Rogen always does - that is, too silly and too annoying.
No, what Green Hornet has are all the other actors coupled with a collection of fun/silly actions scenes and a director with more panache than usual.
Overall: The Green Hornet does not add up into a great movie, but in the right mood it can be fun; the perfect Netflix flick. I liked it, and I'm giving it 3 out of 5 amused crabs.

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