Green Hornet, The (2011)

Release date: January 14, 2011
Director: Michel Gondry
Radio series by: George W. Trendle
Screenplay by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, Christoph Waltz, Edward James Olmos, David Harbour, James Franco, Edward Furlong

French director Michel Gondry is known for his visually off-beat concept music videos (Bjork, White Stripes, Beck, Daft Punk, etc.), so everyone was curious as to what he was doing with a project like The Green Hornet, starring famous easy-to-hate and not-so-funny guy Seth Rogen not only as an actor, but as writer and producer as well.

After pre-production and production issues — at one point the project had funny Hong Kong actor/director Stephen Chow at the helm and playing Kato, a role that eventually landed on Taiwanese idol Jay Chou — The Green Hornet finally saw the light of day, with the terrible January release.

After the death of his father (Wilkinson), Britt Reid (Rogen) meets Kato (Chou). The two bond over the fact that Mr. Reid, Sr. underestimated both of them throughout their time together. Eventually, it leads them to dress up as superheroes passing as bad guys to get to them…

Using his father’s journalistic empire, and the help of his new secretary Lenore (Diaz), they set out to make the Green Hornet some sort of urban legend, which leads to an internal power struggle between the bad guys, often led by the baddest of them all, non-flashy bad guy Chudnofsky (Waltz).

The Green Hornet is over the top, and it actually knows it. It’s a comedy-action on top of a cool superhero flick, and it plays a lot with the funny. Kudos to Seth Rogen, who actually knows what his limits are as an actor and lets us laugh at him. Every single time he tries something and gets it wrong, he is almost always one-upped by Jay Chou, who also plays on his limits as a mumbler — he is known for his mumbling Mandarin skills — and the English dialogue he had mixed with blurted Mandarin.

There’s also a funny cameo by James Franco trying to one-up Christoph Waltz’ Chudnofsky, who is playing an even more outrageous baddie this time around. Though he risks of being typecast as the wacky bad guys in all movies — even if it seems to be a wise economical move — Waltz plays Chudnofsky a lot funnier than usual.

Overall, the film is a lot more Seth Rogen than it is Michel Gondry- sadly, to the outcry of Gondry fans, who had been generally disappointed with The Green Hornet. However, if you really hate Rogen in all his other films, you’ll be happy to know that you’re allowed to hate him in this, and can feel good about it. I know I did!

But the 3D was worthless for pretty much the whole movie except for one or two scenes.

Rating: ★★★¼☆ 


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

9 Responses

  1. Jenna says:

    lol. Good review. I actually think it was more of Jay’s movie than Seth’s. Not just as a Jay fan, but because he had more scenes that showed him in a positive light than the main character. And, I too, was glad for an excuse to not like Seth Rogan. I wish it had gotten a better release date and more attendance at the box-office. I would have been just as happy to see it without 3D as well, not very interesting. I thought the credits were fun though. :/

    • amy says:

      @Jenna, yeah! The ending credits xD

      In the movie Rogen was playing Rogen, and Chou was playing Chou. The funniest bit I remember was Chou doing the gesture of pumping the sides of his fists, and Rogen and Diaz thinking it’s so dirty.

    • @Jenna, That makes sense to me. It’s no mistake that in Hong Kong the original Green Hornet show was called “The Kato Show”. Bruces’ Kato trumps Van Williams’s Green Hornet anyday. I’m imagining the same goes for Jay and Seth, respectively. I’ve not seen the film yet, but I really wanna see how Jay does as Kato. Everyone who has a deep affection for the original will always want to see how Jay compares to Bruce –most likely, no earthly comparison, but, still, it’ll be cool to see how he handled it.

  2. Castor says:

    I know it’s probably very average but I have been wanting to see this for a while. Maybe I will after all :)

  3. Dan O. says:

    While The Green Hornet is a passable time killer, film lovers might go into shock that such an unremarkable piece of Hollywood mulch was helmed by French whiz kid Michel Gondry. I wish there was more here, but it was an OK popcorn treat. Good review, check out mine when you can!

    • amy says:

      @Dan O., yeah – I think Gondry fans wanted a Gondry flick, but as said in an interview… Rogen had the producer and writer’s hat, which ultimately overrides the director.

  1. November 11, 2013

    […] making quite a change from his usual style with The Green Hornet, it looks like Gondry is heading back to the world he’s most comfortable in, which makes it […]

  2. March 1, 2014

    […] you’re looking to get into Jay Chou after seeing The Green Hornet or what not? Maybe you’re planning to start your Mandarin lessons, and even plan into deeping […]

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