Green Hornet- so close, and yet so far…

This past week I watched some of the Green Hornet marathon on ScyFy and last night Nicki and I got to catch a showing of the new Green Hornet movie. It was a free preview thanks to Malco, Comics and Collectibles, Comic Cellar, and 98.1 The Max.

I was really excited when I heard they were finally making this movie, then I heard that Seth Rogen was attached to it and there went my enthusiasm for it. I don’t hate Seth Rogen, just not a big fan and thought it was bad casting.  Kind of a one-trick pony goofy stoner actor to me, but I was impressed that he slimmed down for the role and thought maybe he might take it seriously. The shots of the Black Beauty and other promo images looked pretty cool, and the French GH Fan film was done well and got me and other fans excited about the Green Hornet and Kato again. But Seth Rogen was going to be Green Hornet? Really..? After seen some of the trailers I went in not expecting much. Actually I was expecting to hate it (Nicki figured I would, too!), but I didn’t hate it- didn’t love it, but didn’t hate it.

I’m not a Green Hornet expert, but loved the 60’s TV show as a kid, have read some of the comics over the years, collected some of the toys, am a big Bruce Lee fan, and always dug the Black Beauty (car). The costumes were cool, they had cool gadgets, they were heroes posing as villains, and had one of the coolest rides around and kicked butt.

That was all in this movie. There were some nods to previous versions of the Green Hornet and Kat0- a Bruce Lee sketch, a 1″ punch, Kato joking that he moves too fast for the camera to catch him, the Hornet getting shot in the shoulder and Britt getting “shot” by bad Kato in public to cover a trip to the hospital, the 60’s logo and theme, Kato being an inventor, car-flip garage, and more. The names hadn’t been changed (well, his dad was Dan before and not James I believe), the costumes were classic, the car was as cool as always, so why as a Green Hornet fan didn’t I love it..?

I just didn’t like the Green Hornet being a goof. He’s a descendant of the Lone Ranger for crying out loud! I didn’t mind him being a party guy, and I expect him to make mistakes learning the ropes of being a superhero. He just continued to be a goof. I would have been good with the goof thing if that was Britt’s pubic persona- it’s worked for Zorro and Batman, but when he’s the Hornet he should be all business and acting like a criminal. There was times when Britt acted like he and Kato had gotten stoned before going out to fight crime. “Uh, sorry for blowing up your meth lab, dude. Here’s my card.” (Ok, not an exact quote- but pretty close.) Not a lot of character development on this hero’s journey, which is a shame because they had plenty of opportunities to do so and didn’t. Humor and/or funny situations in a super hero movie I’m good with- even the recent dark Batman movies had some funny moments, but there was a point in the flick when when civilians get killed when the tone of the movie should have changed, along with Britt’s and Kato’s attitudes. In the movie his dad (James Reid/Tom Wilkinson)was a prick to him so I totally get him rebelling and being a rich kid. It’s just even after he realizes that it’s gotten out of hand and isn’t just for kicks anymore he doesn’t really grow up. Shame, because the reason behind them becoming “criminals” was great and made sense.

There were a lot of plot holes and story device “fails”- such as Kato adding machine guns and a fax/printer in the car but not a USB port or internet service/network access to the Sentinel computers,  the villain not being able to track the GH website/ISP address, Britt and Kato fight where Britt comes out on top,  a temp secretary who’s a criminology expert, a line of dialogue that mentions something that hasn’t happened yet but we see a couple scenes later, and others that took me out of the movie from time to time.  There were a couple scenes I’d swear Seth was stoned when he wrote them! You’ll know them when you see them. Some could have been explained away with a line of dialogue or two and I would have been fine with it even if it was a Hollywood explanation. Don’t know if it was lazy writing or just bad storytelling. For the Britt/Kato fight if Kato had been toying with him and not really wanting to hurt Britt, but train him and/or see what he’s learned I would have been okay with Britt getting in a sucker punch by tricking Kato into thinking he’d had enough. Britt/GH may be the “Boss”, but Kato should always be able to kick his butt, and in this movie he didn’t even try to train him. And again, there just wasn’t much character development for Britt.

Jay Chou as Kato was fun and not a Bruce Lee clone. I liked that they showed you how Kato was going to take down the bad guys and in what order (reminded me of some of the martial arts training I had- wished I had paid more attention then!), but I wasn’t crazy about the “Kato Vision” shots they did to show it. It was done better in the Robert Downey Jr.  “Sherlock Holmes” movie.  Wished they would have shown everyone else moving slow from Kato’s P.O.V. and Kato moving Bruce Lee speed from Britt’s P.O.V. The stretching and other effects kinda got in the way of the fights instead of enhancing them in my opinion.

I liked seeing Edward James Almos in it, but they probably could have replaced Cameron Diaz with any other actress. She just didn’t seem to bring much to the character or to the movie. And I totally didn’t recognize Edward Furlong!

Then there’s the villain- Chudnofsky/Bloodnofsky. One of the running jokes in the movie is that he’s not scary, and he really just isn’t. I don’t know if it was the actor (Christoph Waltz) or the way he was directed, but if you don’t have a threatening villain what’s the point? And if he can make a double barreled gun  like that- why isn’t he a weapons developer..? Seriously, I never took him seriously as a villain. Maybe when we first see him “be scary” at James Franco’s club before blowing it up, but that’s about it.

The use of 3-D wasn’t that exciting. Only a big retro GH hornet logo got my attention- that was very 3-D. The rest of the movie would have been fine to watch without the glasses and would have been more comfortable. I really don’t know why they don’t have souvenir 3-D glasses you can keep and collect. Don’t think people would mind paying a bit extra for the 3-D and they could sell advertising on the sides of the glasses. We did with the haunt. It would also probably be a bit more sanitary. I don’t know how well they clean the recycled glasses after the movies, or if they do at all…

If I wasn’t a Green Hornet fan and just wanted a popcorn movie this would have been an fun matinee to kill a couple hours. I walked away not disappointed, well- not as disappointed as I thought I was going to be.

Your mileage may differ.

Lin

(especially when civilians get killed)
Green Hornet- so close, and yet so far…
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