2010 Running time: 119 Certificate: 12 Rating: 4
Green Hornet The 1S

Synopsis

King of the comedy slackers Seth Rogen plays crime-fighting playboy Britt Reid - aka The Green Hornet - a newspaper proprietor determined to lift the lid on the city's criminal underground. Aided and abetted by Japanese martial arts maestro Kato (Jay Chou), he also packs two lethal guns - one firing gas and the other a lethal electric shock. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind's Michel Gondry directs.

Director

  • Michel Gondry

Cast

  • Seth Rogen

  • Jay Chou

  • Cameron Diaz

  • Tom Wilkinson

  • Christoph Waltz

Review

Pinning the 2011 re-imagining on the shoulders of King of Quirk Michel Gondry and Fozzy Bear-made-human Seth Rogen is a risky move. But, while it may not please the purists, it actually works.

In a refreshingly less po-faced take on the Batman mythos, Britt Reid (Rogen) is a fun-loving, cash-splashing billionaire playboy. His father James Reid (Wilkinson) is seen by the city as a paragon of virtue, running a media empire and newspaper that's respected for its ethics.

When James mysteriously dies, Britt takes stock of his life and sparks up a friendship with his father's criminally underappreciated 'human Swiss army knife' Kato (Chou).

Inspired by the city's spiralling crime rates (and a healthy supply of booze), the two decide to pair up against the bad guys.

Aided by the most pimped car this side of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the one-sided duo get close to the criminals by posing as them. Which soon gets the attention of LA's underworld kingpin Chudnofsky (Inglourious Basterds' Oscar-winner Waltz) and sparks the interest of Britt's new secretary (and part-time criminologist and perennial love interest) Lenore Case (Diaz).

Fans are in for a confusing ride, as while Gondry has maintained the original plot and story beats, the tone has definitely been adjusted for a 21st century fanbase.

Rogen's fratboy humour is stamped all over the script (unsurprising, seeing as though he co-wrote it), spouting a series of distinctly lewd expletive-riddled gags and insults that will rankle the hardcore.

Still, it's undeniably amusing, and Green Hornet should grab your attention if only for the fact it's the only superhero team-up you'll see catalysed by an all-night drinking session.

Waltz's second big villainous Hollywood role pales in comparison to his iconic Jew Hunter, but Chudnofsky's entertaining, neurotic introduction certainly charms; it's just a shame he wasn't given more screen time to allow it to breathe.

The same could be said for Diaz who wafts in and out of the story on auto-pilot, with a character who promises so much but offers little more than the odd frumpy frown.

Most importantly though, the key part of the story still burns strong, with the pivotal dynamic and relationship between Kato and The Green Hornet driving the heart and humour of the adventure.

Gondry's visual flourishes are also tastefully contained to the inspired and brilliant fight scenes, as Kato's 'Kato-Vision' kicks in with all its surreal and energetically choreographed kung-fu glory.

Fittingly enough, The Green Hornet is the classic underdog. Touted as a disaster even before its release, its off-beat story, visual styling and casting proves that the franchise has more than a little sting left in its tail.

Matt Risley

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