Thursday, January 27, 2011

Movie Review: The Green Hornet

Alright. It's been a long week at school, so it's always nice after such a week to sit back, relax, and enjoy a good-

Aww, really, Hollywood? It's been a stressful week, can I please review something else? I'll be good, just please don't make me review The Green Hornet! Anything else, just-

AAH! Bring it back, I'll do Green Hornet!!

As you probably guessed by the introduction to this review, I'm not exactly ecstatic about the prospect of reviewing this movie. I'm not going to say that it was a terrible film, but.... actually, no. I am going to call it a terrible film. Because that's exactly what it is.

This movie reminds me a bit of Tron: Legacy in that it's a remake of something that hasn't been in the public eye for several decades. Now, the origins of The Green Hornet have their roots back in the 30's, when there was a short-running radio show following the adventures of a masked man named Britt Reid, who was the descendant of The Lone Ranger. Now, like a lot of radio shows in the early 20th century, it was campy and didn't take itself overly seriously. However, while it gained a small following, and was largely forgotten in the face of other, better radio shows.

Skip 30 years later to the mid 1960's, when television was the new medium for campy programs that didn't take themselves too seriously. The new television show was dramatically different from the original radio program, and made an effort to make The Green Hornet and his sidekick Kato more identifiable to the modern audience. Unfortunately for them, The Green Hornet happened to be running at the same time as one of the most popular television shows of the decade - Batman. And really, when it comes down to it, nobody can compete with Batman.

Well, maybe one guy...

Anyway, the only lasting thing to come out of the televised version of The Green Hornet was that it launched the career of one of cinema's greatest martial arts stars - Bruce Lee, whose debut was as The Green Hornet's faithful sidekick, Kato. However, even though the show starred the man who would become the world's greatest martial artist, the series only lasted one season, getting cancelled in 1967.

So now, we skip to 2011, 44 years after Batman beat Green Hornet into a pulp, and The Green Hornet is being revamped yet again. Just as with the 60's show, the movie reworks the characters to make them more appealing to the contemporary audience. Instead of a smart, smooth, and serious interpretation of the character of Britt Reid, Seth Rogen plays a much more laid back character. Instead of being driven and dedicated, we see a Reid who is essentially an impulsive playboy coasting through life on his father's corporate fortune.

So, kinda like....

However, after the death of his father, Reid's outlook on life changes somewhat, and decides to take up his father's crusade against crime and corruption. However, instead of doing so in the conventional fashion of his father, he goes the more direct route of punching bad guys in the face.

So, basically...

And that's pretty much it. Everything in this movie is very straightforward. The plot basically amounts to "Here are some bad guys. Shoot them". The rest is a lot of absolutely unnecessary padding in a movie that feels like it has far too much in the first place. One of the other serious problems with this movie is that it feels like everyone was on a different page. The mood keeps switching around jarringly between every scene. It's like the movie couldn't decide whether it's a gritty action movie or a wacky comedy. People seem to be taking it either seriously or not completely at random, and occasionally seem to change for no reason. Seth Rogen is particularly guilty of this. One moment he's acting like a character out of Loony Toons, and the next moment it's like the movie turned into a dark, brooding drama.

There are no particular character arcs or development over the film, and at no point do we understand the motivation of any of the characters. The decisions they make come seemingly at random, and at times completely contrast with every other decision that they have made previously. After a while, it was obvious that the only reason the decisions were made is because the writers had decided "well, this is what would happen at this point in a superhero movie, so we'll do it."

I guess in hindsight, terrible isn't the word I would use for this movie after all. There are some funny moments, and the action can be pretty awesome. However, the sheer number of problems dragging this movie down render it an entirely forgettable mess.

Final Grade: D

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