The Green Hornet Blu-Ray Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, May 06, 2011
The Green Hornet has been around for 75 years, starring first on radio, and then in film serials and comic books, as well as a short-lived 1960s TV series that introduced martial arts legend Bruce Lee to the world. The Green Hornet was created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker…remember those names as we will come back to them later in the review. An early scene pretty much typifies everything that is wrong with this film. The biggest crime boss in Los Angeles, Benjamin Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), decides to pay a visit to the club owned by one of his upstart rivals (James Franco in a cameo role). After the two spend five minutes posturing about who is tougher, Chudnofsky pulls out a DOUBLE-BARELLED pistol and kills his rival’s bodyguards. Yeah…some bodyguards! It didn’t occur to these guys to maybe search Chudnofsky before hand? Oh wait..why search him because this gun was so huge there’s simply no way he could have hidden it to begin with so I suppose we’re to assume that he pulled it out of thin air…silly, silly, silly. I thought about turning the film off right then but decided to press on.
Seth Rogen (in one of the worst recent casting choices) plays Britt Reid, son of James Reid, the wealthy publisher of L.A. newspaper The Daily Sentinel. In what alternate reality is this film set in where the newspaper business is actually a money making venture these days? Rogen does his best Billy Madison impression by playing Britt as an irresponsible party boy…except for the fact that Billy Madison was funny. When his father dies suddenly, Britt has to take over running the paper. He meets Kato (Jay Chou) his father’s mechanic the pair, bonding over their mutal dislike of Britt’s father, get drunk and decide to become superheroes…because you know, that’s what people do when they get drunk.
While Kato is an engineering genius who outfits the Black Beauty (a 1966 Chrysler Imperial) with all manner of weapons and defenses as well as being a martial arts expert, Reid seems to have no skills whatsoever beyond innane wisecracks. The film does try to play this for laughs and Britt jokes about his minimal contributions. If The Green Hornet had been played strictly for laughs it may have worked better but as it is, it tiptoes a fine line between irreverence and straight action and is never willing to commit to either.
Rogen co-wrote the script and also served as Executive Producer and thus his hand prints are all over this mess, errr production. An actor primarily known for comedic roles playing an action hero has worked in the past, notably Michael Keaton in Batman, but then again, Keaton wasn’t a lout. You become so irritated with Rogen through the first 80 minutes that the final 30 minutes, which is played for straight action, loses its intended impact. Rogen follows in the tradition of Alec Baldwin (The Shadow) and Billy Zane (The Phantom) who’ve helped to shovel dirt on the legacies of great heroes. A saving grace is Jay Shou. He’s no Bruce Lee (and who is?) but he attacks his role with zeal and the film becomes much more digestable when he is onscreen. Cameron Diaz is tossed in the mix for eye candy but doesn’t have much to do.
If nothing else, the film at least helped introduce the character to a new generation of fans but it will be a shame if this is the only thing they will remember about the Green Hornet. And as for the creators George W. Trendle and Fran Striker…on behalf of Green Hornet fans everywhere…I’m sorry.
The three disc combo pack comes with both standard and 3D Blu-ray versions of the film along with the DVD version. The solid accompaniment of bonus features helps bring the overall grade up from the certain “D” range.
Audio Commentary with Actor/Producer Seth Rogen, Producer Neal Moritz, Director Michel Gondry, and Writer Evan Goldberg.
Deleted Scenes (27:00): Contains the following deleted scenes:See Yourself Out, The Big Fence, Filer Up, Dickweed, Britt’s Pokerface, Taking a Punch!, Burning Down the House, Influencing Scanlon, and Let’s Roll Kato. Lot ’s of stuff here and some of it a lot of fun but lets face it…already at two hours the movie was weighed down so nothing here was going to make it any better.
“Awesoom” Gag Reel (7:00) Your standard gag and blooper reel
“Trust Me” (10:00) A look with cast and crew at Director Michael Gondry’s style of filmmaking and his eye for creating action scenes.
Writing The Green Hornet (11:00) - Writers Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen talk about developing the story and how they came up with their ideas.
The Black Beauty: Rebirth of Cool (7:00) – a look at making the new “Black Beauty” car and its 1960s influences
The Stunt Family Armstrong (8:00) - An introduction to the family of stunt choreographers who lent their talents to the film.
Finding Kato (6:00) – how Jay Chou came to be cast in the role of Kato
The Art of Destruction (14:00) – A Look at big budget stunts and effects with an eye to blowing up and destroying things on set.
There are also a couple of Easter eggs that are not too hard to find.
Mania Grade: C-
Blu-ray: The Green Hornet
Rating: Not Rated
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Shou, Cameron Diaz
Written By: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Directed By: Michel Gondry
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Original Year of Release: 2011
Extras: See Below
Series: Green Hornet