>It’s been a while since something of the comic book brethren has been released. For someone of my geek level, it seems like an age. And so I was in the front of the queue for Green Hornet. That wasn’t the only reason, of course. The other reason is that Seth Rogen has been pretty consistent with his offerings since he came on the scene with Superbad. Yes, he simply plays himself in just about everything he does. But if Ben Stiller can get away with basing his entire career on being the least funny prick of the bunch, with films that are essentially him shouting for an hour and a half, then I say Long Live Rogen!
And he delivers again, with Green Hornet.
There’s a modern/fifties chic throughout the film that makes it nice and easy to watch. A little like they tried to do with Superman Returns and The Spirit but more subtle. Diaz looks only a little older than she did in The Mask. And who knew that Rogen actually has quite the hero chin when you ignore the rest of his…softer features. Speaking of the look of the movie, there’s a whole host of retro gadgets flying around. The Hornet’s gas gun is particularly retro and cool looking, while the Black Beauty (that’s the car, not one of Diaz’s intimate toys) is the coolest gadget-riddled car since the Bat-Mobile.
Rogen plays the family’s black sheep, a useless playboy a la Tony Stark who is compelled to bring justice to the city when his father is killed. Unfortunately, he’s fairly useless. Fortunately, his father’s mechanic is an expert kung-fu/inventor/genius. Kato (Jay Chou) really makes this movie for me. Where Rogen’s Hornet is idealistic and rash, Chou brings some grounding, some reality and ultimately some skill to make everything work. Although there’s a real Buddy-cop movie feel to most of the film, it works more like Lethal Weapon then the Rush Hour sequels.
You’d expect it to be funny, and it is. You’d expect some action, and there’s plenty. You’d expect little references for the fan-boys, and you won’t be disappointed. You’d expect a love interest with Diaz, which thankfully never materialises. And the whole movie is better for it.
Now the true test of any comic book movie. The villain. The defining factor in any good movie of this genre is the presence of a villain you can really love to hate. Thank god someone cast Christoph Waltz as the bonkers Bloodnofsky. This guy harkens back to the old style villains. The kind Adam West would battle. The kind with stupid names, tenuous catchphrases and bad costumes. And while this villain’s mid-life crisis may seem like stupidity, Waltz delivers such a deadpan and believable performance that you can’t help going along with it. He’s no Ledger/Joker, but he’s bloody good.
The only real problem with this movie, it can’t really be blamed for. It’s s sign of the times, the sign of corporations trying to squeeze every little bit of cash out of their movies. It’s a sign that these aforementioned corporations don’t listen to their audiences. It’s pointless, it’s infrequently used well.
God bless, Michel Gondry (director) for trying, but it doesn’t work. There is one moment in the entire movie where it’s evident that it was shot in 3D. A flying bottle top. And that’s it. You could take off your special glasses for the rest of the movie and not even notice they were gone. I was really hoping to have nothing but praise for this film, but my overpowering honesty stops me from doing that. All I’ll say is if you can see it in bog-standard 2D, then do so. You’re not missing anything. This is one of those movies I can’t wait to come out on DVD so I can watch it again.
But otherwise, I think you’ll like it. It hits marks that only Iron Man has managed to in recent years; delivering a cool comic-book action movie with a tongue in its cheek and feet firmly on the ground. I’m looking forward to, and hoping for a sequel. Hey, if they can make sequels to Mirrors, Avatar and Ghost Rider, I’m damn sure they can dig deep and give Rogen a chance.
“ Look at that score! Nuff said.”