Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Green Hornet

The Green Hornet was before my time. But to be fair, so was the Adam West Batman TV series. But I watched that show all the time as a kid. And to this point, the only knowledge I had of Green Hornet or his faithful sidekick, Kato, came from the few episodes of Batman that crossed over with the old Green Hornet series. Based on that, I really don't remember much. Also, I saw Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, so I knew that Bruce Lee played Kato back in the day.

That being said, I got the impression that the Green Hornet was a more serious kind of hero than Batman was. But, if you watch the 60s Batman series, it's clear to see that I would be a more serious hero than that Batman. Anyway, thinking about my very small memory of the old hero, Seth Rogen was not the man I ever would have thought of as the actor to update the character. Nothing against the guy, he's just not someone I picture in a serious or even an action role.

Another impression I had was that the Green Hornet really didn't do much. All the action was because of Kato. I mean, come on. Kato was Bruce freakin' Lee. And what's the Green Hornet got? A gas gun? Okay... I'd be more afraid of the chauffeur with the lightning fists. Maybe that's just me.

I wasn't really planning to see this movie. It wasn't that I didn't want to see it. It's just that movies are expensive. Even a matinee cuts into the budget, so the movie better be worth the price of admission. But, when the opportunity presented itself to take the oldest of the Greene kids to see it, I said sure. I've neglected hanging out with the Most Awesome Person I Know and her kids for a while, and no, going to one movie with one of the kids doesn't totally make up for that, but it's a step in that direction. But then I saw that the local theater was only showing Green Hornet in 3D. And disappointment set in.

If it had just been me, I definitely wouldn't have gone to see it, just on principle. I may have said it before on this blog, but I think it's worth stating again: I hate 3D. I read somewhere once, "If you can't make a movie good, make it 3D." To me, adding the third dimension does not make a movie better at all. All it does is jack up the ticket price, and cause me to leave the movie theater with strained eyes and a headache. But for some reason, 3D is all the rage. Thanks a lot James Cameron. For these reasons, I'd really rather not pay extra just to see something jump off the screen. When it comes down to it, I'd rather wait until it comes to the local Redbox so I can watch it without needing an Excedrin after I'm done. But it wasn't just me.

I was relieved to find out that the Oldest was disappointed that the movie was in 3D as well. He's pretty mature for his age. Most kids in their early teens, I assume, would jump on a movie simply because it's in 3D. The Oldest is smart enough to know that 3D does not equal a better movie. Having seen this movie now, however, I can safely say that 3D was not necessary. The movie was pretty good on its own merits.

You have Britt Reid (Seth Rogen), a spoiled son of newspaper publisher James Reid (Tom Wilkinson). Britt doesn't take anything seriously and doesn't have a lot of respect for his father. When James dies from an allergic reaction to a bee sting, Britt is suddenly forced to grow up as he takes over his father's role of publisher. At this point, he comes across Kato (Jay Chou), who was under-appreciated and under-utilized as an employee of James Reid. Britt soon finds out that Kato's skill set goes far beyond fixing cars and making coffee. After a certain set of circumstances forces them to expose themselves, Britt and Kato decide to become heroes.

But they do it differently than the traditional heroes. Britt has the idea that they should make themselves look like criminals. His thinking here is that if the bad guys think that they're the bad guys, they can't use innocent lives to back them into a corner as the good guys. They quickly show up on the radar of criminal mastermind Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz). From there the movie follows a pretty standard formula. There are a lot of action sequences. There is a meeting with the villain that doesn't go so well for the heroes. There's a misunderstanding between the heroes involving Cameron Diaz. You know, the usual.

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. I went in not expecting much, especially with the addition of 3D. But it was, overall, pretty good. Christoph Waltz makes a fantastic bad guy. He might be the best part of Inglorious Basterds. And Jay Chou had some pretty good moves. I mean, he's no Bruce Lee, but come on, he was Bruce freakin' Lee. And the humor wasn't too over the top. I never got the feeling that they were trying to mock the super-hero genre, which is pretty easy to do. Seth Rogen had a hand in writing the movie, and I get the impression that he has a lot of respect for the history that comes along with the Green Hornet.

I think it's worth seeing. But if you can find a theater that will show it in standard 2D, go with that one. Don't give Hollywood the satisfaction of getting your extra two bucks just to wear some really uncomfortable glasses.


  1. our 3d movies are ...

    wait for it ....


    yup. that's 18 dollars and fifty cents.

    and i can't stand 3D.

    j "long live 2D" h

  2. oh and seth rogan should not do anymore action/superhero movies.

    he should stick to what he's just ok at ... comedy.

    mildy ok.

    j "the asian guy was cool though" h