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Sunday, 6 February 2011

Movie Review: The Green Hornet

Went to watch the Green Hornet earlier when I was having a new pair of spectacles made. Hadn’t changed them in five years so I figured I needed to kill some time with a movie before they got done. The Green Hornet wasn’t even on my “watch eventually” list but compared to the rest of the stuff that they were showing I decided that I’ll go with Seth Rogen’s latest work. I liked Pineapple Express and thought the music from the trailer was pretty kickass so I forked over cash to sit in on it. By the end of it I had two questions in my mind: 1) How is a man-child like Seth Rogen not one of those lousy Hollywood hacks that dare call themselves writers? 2) When’s the sequel?

The movie stars Seth Rogen as Brit Reid a.k.a. the Green Hornet, a party animal who’s the sole heir to a major newspaper company his father created, and Jay Chou as Kato, the mysterious Chinaman who grew up on the streets to be an engineering genius that works on the cars of rich men, kicks ass like some deranged renegade Mossad agent on the run and makes coffee so good that you just can’t live without it. Brit’s a disappointment in his father’s eyes so when he kicks the bucket, he decides to have a wild night out on the town by cutting off his memorial statue’s head with the help of Kato once he finds out just how awesome his coffee maker is. This leads them to a brawl with some gangbangers that start them off on their careers as pseudo-villain heroes.

Like I mentioned before, Seth Rogen is a surprisingly good writer. Barring the first dull twenty or so minutes of the movie, the writing’s pretty damn solid and even manages to play off the usual conventions of superhero movies to the point where the movie almost seems to be a deconstruction of the genre. The main characters are, at best, morally grey as they have no qualms about doing harm to the general populace, destroying public property and outright murder. At one point I had to feel sorry for the designated villain of the movie. Sure he doesn’t look like much but that’s no reason to keep putting down his style. If anything, he should be putting down theirs. The man had a double barreled gun, single handedly took out an up and coming gang and isn’t afraid to step in and brutalize his enemies in ways that cannot be considered as anything less than overkill. It makes me wonder about the man’s self-esteem as those greenhorns somehow managed to get him to switch from his casual suitwear to that hammy lame-ass red supervillain theme he had in the end. Still, that red motif contributed a good number of jokes to the already numerous repertoire to be had, most of which were sexual innuendos that flew over the heads of my fellow moviegoers half the time.

Aside from the refreshingly lighthearted yet serious script that drove the movie, the direction deserves it share of praise too. There was one particular scene that struck me as it really set the tone for the final act of the movie where the shit gets real. Seeing the antagonist send out a hit on the Green Hornet and just how in control he was of the city’s underbelly made for a great start to it. The action scenes were incredibly good as well and the Mythbusters will have you understand just how the absurdity of it all only made the film better. It wasn’t just the overt awesomeness of the stunts that made them so much fun to watch but the subtle ways they worked out on film. Some may only appreciate seeing a land rover fly over a bush and onto a road for the novelty of the flyover itself. I appreciated seeing that from a long shot as I’ve rarely seen one it shot from that angle making it all the more impressive. That was done by one of the bad guys by the way, everyone gets a chance to shine in these scenes really. Well, everyone named at least.

I'm no fan of the original source of the story or the very premise of this movie but the staff behind it made it work. It's not brilliant, it's not deep and the pretentious will be very inclined to call this film one only the juvenile and immature would enjoy but I had a great time watching this. Man-child be damned, Seth Rogen is a good writer and I cannot consider both Pineapple Express and the Green Hornet to be flukes. I can honestly tell you that this movie was one worth watching and it's worth watching at your nearest cinema. Perhaps if you are as fortunate as I was, you might even get seated next to some aesthetically pleasing bimbos that have watched the movie already. They certainly didn't make my movie experience any worse though they did make me wonder if there's more truth than meets the eye in that comparison between myself and a certain legendary lover of bimbos and suits.

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