The Green Hornet Blu-Ray Review - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C-

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Info:

  • 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

The Green Hornet Blu-Ray Review

Dull action-comedy tramples on 75-year legacy

By Tim Janson     May 06, 2011


Seth Rogen in The Green Hornet(2011).
© Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

 

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.
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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redvector 5/6/2011 11:13:06 AM

C is very generous I'd say an F. I rented it and could only stomach about 10 minutes of it before shutting it off. I can see why it got such a negative reaction at ComiCon. Jay Chou sucked as Kato his acting was stiff and you couldn't understand half of what he was saying.

SarcasticCaveman 5/8/2011 3:59:18 PM

 I find it hilarious that the only place I've heard about this movie sucking so bad is the internet.  Most everybody I know that enjoy action movies and superhero movies enjoyed the movie well enough.  By the way, you're willing to accept that a rich guy will fight crime with a bat theme, you'll accept that school for gifted youngsters has a supersonic jet, you'll accept that gamma radiation will give somebody an uncontrollable rage-filled alter ego instead of cancer...but the DOUBLE BARRELLED PISTOL is a deal breaker?...............................................................................M'kaaaaaaay..................................

myklspader 5/8/2011 6:55:33 PM

Watching it right now via Redbox rental and even a dollar was way too much to pay for this mess. Jay Shou is the saving grace but not by much. @ Caveman, I have read print reviews that said this was horrible and friends of mine have said the same.

Gondry should be ashamed of his involement and Rogen should be lynched for ruining a great pulp legend. I am not saying that the movie could not be a little off kilter, but not as staright up comedic like it is. If anything Sony should really re-boot this and bring aboard Darabont or Vaughn.

fatpantz 5/8/2011 9:37:07 PM

Most of my friends (whose opinions never matter to me when judging movies) loved it.  I watched a free copy of it and felt ripped off! Haha!!  Worst casting ever by putting Rogan in this, and I dont mind him in a lot of his roles.  Chou and his cars/gadgets were the only fun part of this film. I give it a D-

RedHood2010 5/9/2011 2:49:49 AM

I just watched it for the 1st time over Mothers Day and I was tempted to turn it off in the beginining before his 1st night out as the Hornet.  Then the action made it watchable, but that was about it.  I said months ago when I saw the trailer that the 'HOW" he moves to becoming a Super Hero just didn't sit well, and watching the whole origin in the movie, I still didn''t get it and found it offensive to the other hero's who became motivated to fight crime.  This just reminded me of a frat boy wanting to go out and cause trouble and blow things up?  It seems like he never takes it seriously, that should have gotten him killed within the 1st week.  And the final battle that takes sooo long in a public sector building and the cops don't get there until an hour later and the duo of GH and Kato kill people and then Ms Diaz is okay with covering that up for them?  D

shadowprime 5/9/2011 7:17:07 AM

 

I thought the movie was...well...OKAY. I enjoyed Walz (SP?) who I strongly suspect did a lot more with the part than was there on paper. There were a lot of fun elements, but, unfortunately, they didn't QUITE figure out how to bring them all together.

I guess one of my biggest problems was that Rogen's Hornet was a stone cold novice, basically no better prepared to fight crime than "Joe Average" would be. I guess if you take it as the Hornet's origin, that is okay...maybe... but at least if he had SOME background as a fighter, boxer, whatever... it would have made more sense/worked better. As it was, the movie was basically "Kato and a goofy loudmouthed incompetent".

I didn't hate it, like some do. It had its moments. Fun gadgets. The Black Beauty. Kato was terrific. Some of the humor worked for me. But as a fan of the old 1960s series - which, yeah, had it silly moments too, granted! - I was a bit disappointed.

tjanson 5/9/2011 9:13:04 AM

Caveman...I didn't have a problem believing in a double-barreled handgun...I had trouble believing that the character somehow snuck this gun in the club in front of a slew of body guards and the rival crime boss.  This gun was the size of a fricking cinder block!

DarkXid 5/10/2011 6:24:44 AM

Jay Chou was the best thing about this movie.  And as far as The Phantom and The Shadow, at least those films knew where they were going...well....mostly.  I don't know where this film was intending to go at all. 

The beginning with James Franco was all right, I mean if his four bodyguards are stupid enough to be all standing behind their boss, doing nothing except waiting to be shot.  They would obvoiously be dumb enough not to search or take a gun that appears to be two desert eagles strapped to each other.  Two very big hand cannons on their own let alone joined side by side.  What the hell, that's funny. 

The movie was stupid and not the "good" stupid. 

samson 5/10/2011 1:57:07 PM

I went in expressly  NOT looking to compare it to any other GH icarnation I've seen or read. Because I was able to take the film as it was, I found it very enjoyable.

I think Gondry and Rogen made a pretty good action comedy. Was it the Green Hornet film we wanted? No. But, for what it was, it was a fun ride. Kind of like 'Rush Hour" with superheroes. Hell, I'd even be down for a sequel.

CaptAmerica04 5/11/2011 3:44:28 PM

 I'm thinking I might subject myself to this movie when it hits HBO, purely for masochistic reasons.

I still remember Rogen saying that this wasn't a comedy and that they weren't playing it for laughs.  What happened to that, I wonder?

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