Green Hornet, the newest remake of the classic crime caper series that launched Bruce Lee’s career in North America, provides a lot of laughs and over the top action. This is a perfect date night movie (far better than Date Night, in fact).
Seth Rogen plays newspaper heir Britt Reid. Joined by his father’s ex-mechanic, and coffee wiz, Kato (Jay Chou), the two decide to become crime fighters with a twist. As Britt explains, “we could be heroes! We will pose as villains to get close to the bad guys. That way, no one will suspect we’re really the good guys.” This of course lands them in trouble with the police, but that doesn’t really seem to matter in this irreverent crime fighting comedy.
The pair has excellent chemistry. Chou’s mostly silent, perfect-at-everything sidekick persona contrasts nicely with Rogen’s willing-to-take-all-of-the-credit hero mentality. The same kind of buddy humour that made Pineapple Express so funny is at work in this movie as well. Rogen’s willingness to say what we are all thinking but don’t say because it would make us look like idiots adds a lot of seemingly off-the-cuff dialogue that breaks up the need to worry about plot. In fact, the acting and plot both bear a striking resemblance to Pineapple Express, though I won’t offer any spoilers – see if you can spot the similarities for yourself.
Rudolph Waltz also makes an appearance in this movie, again as a villain. However, this time he plays the crime lord without a conscience who is facing a mid-life crisis. As James Franco puts it, “You aren’t scary.” Waltz makes an understated and excellent villian, who contrasts Rogen and Chou’s antics nicely – adding his own silliness as well.
One fear I had going into this movie was that Cameron Diaz was cast to play Reid’s secretary. While I had thought that she was meant to be “eye candy” (and I use the word with a shudder) and a love interest (see the horrible character of Pepper Potts from the Iron Man series), it turns out that her character refuses to play this role, with hilarious results. Her smart woman to Rogen’s dumb man made for a bunch of genuinely funny moments.
However, the same things that made that movie great also impact on this movie to a
degree. The over-the-top climax, which some people must like, it is in just about every movie for some reason, while it works here, didn’t really do it for me. It just kept getting too crazy. The final action sequence also made the movie a bit too long, though it was still entertaining the whole way through.
Also worth commenting on is the soundtrack in this movie, which ranges from Johnny Cash to The Rolling Stones to Beethoven, Coolio, and back to The White Stripes. The original theme song makes a return, during the credits mind you, and is a trumpet heavy song that I could listen to again and again. Jay Chou also gets to briefly showcase his singing talents (he has released a ton of music in the past decade, and he is probably better known for this talent in other parts of the world).
Green Hornet is well worth the ticket price. It has charm, character, and a surprising amount of action for a comedy (or is it an action-comedy, instead of a comedy with action in it?).