Saturday, January 15, 2011

Movie Review: The Green Hornet

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To get to today's movie was an event in itself. My regular Regal theater wasn't showing The Green Hornet in 2D, only the Real 3D and IMAX 3D. The previews didn't get me interested enough to pay the upcharge (47% price increase on a matinee show), so I ventured closer to home and went to Consolidated Theaters. BUT they start their shows later in the day and with a couple of other tasks and time management screw ups, I went to the second show that was at 3:55pm. Same ticket price paid but no loyalty program with Consolidated. The one plus was a special station where you text a code to Sprint. The resulting return message when shown to a special scanner allowed you to receive a discount coupon on a concession stand item. I chose to upgrade from a medium to large drink with my coupon saving me $0.50.

The movie itself was for the most part a yawner. It was co-written by, executive produced by and starred everyone's favorite hairy and curly haired fat stoner party guy Seth Rogen. Well, I'll give him credit, he did trim down to play Britt Reid who became the Green Hornet. Mr Party Boy who lost his mother at a young age and had a dad James Reid (Tom Wilkinson) who was more concerned about the 750 people working at the family newspaper, the Daily Sentinel, than worry about the upbringing of his son decides to fight crime after his dad passed away from an allergic reaction to a bee sting. We've seen Rogen play this sort of part before in other movies like Knocked Up, Observe and Report and Pineapple Express. Speaking of Pineapple Express, his friend and PE alum James Franco made an uncredited cameo in the movie where the big baddie of the movie, Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz) is introduced and his bad guy thought process laid out.

Having Waltz play this part was such a waste of talent. This is the man who won the BAFTA and Oscar for his portrayal of Col. Hans Landa in 2009's Inglorious Basterds. The running joke that was set up about Chudnofsky's attire and then the lame-o tag line he planned on using once he decided to upgrade his outfit to turn himself into a super villain were cringe worthy moments in the movie. For him to deliver those lines and keep a straight face proves the guy can act!

Why they would pay a big salary for someone like Cameron Diaz to play the younger Reid's secretary is beyond me. For what she brought to the part they could have gotten a Senior Theater major from USC or UCLA to do the same thing. If they had done that, maybe they could have found the next IT girl kinda like what happened with Diaz in The Mask. Diaz was a pretty face with a name where just a pretty face would have done. There was no chemistry between her character Lenore Case and Reid or the newcomer to American made cinema via Taiwan, Jay Chou who played Reid's Executive Associate Kato by day and by night the Green Hornet's valet, Kato.

Chou's martial art skills were one of the saving graces of the movie. He moved quickly, skillfully and sharply dispatching the bad guys one by one while party boy for the most part cowered, at least in the beginning of the film. Like all hero movies, at some point Britt must develop a back bone. Most of the dialogue scenes were boring. The start of the 118 minute movie was OK, the middle for the most part dragged on. When The Green Hornet and Kato started signing along to Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise while riding in a modified 1965 Chrysler Imperial, The Black Beauty, my eyes rolled back in my head. What kept my overall interest were the action scenes. That would include the ending sequence.

The action scenes were over the top. Guns going off in every direction possible. Lots of rockets and explosions and yet the bodies weren't hitting the floor just from the sheer volume of lead and shrapnel flying through the air. When someone was dispatched, they weren't afraid to show it. Several people were crushed. Blood didn't spatter all over the screen, but you could see the body or what contained the body going down. The movie was rated PG-13 for sequences of violent action, language, sensuality and drug content. But what they considered drug content was they showed a meth lab and for sensuality, a man and a women were in the same bed because saying that you'd like to bang someone doesn't count as sensual. It was really the action that earned the movie the rating more than anything else.

For all the trouble that I went through to see the 2D version, it wasn't worth it. From what I could tell where they would have used the 3D were really manufactured moments like when Kato got excited forcing his heart to pump and change his perception of the world around him. Nah, not buying it. The closing credits were designed to take advantage of people wearing the special glasses while they got to hear Jay Chou crooning to the song Nunchucks which he co-wrote. Trying to see the 3D version could have been easier, but still wouldn't have been worth it. With everything that Rogen has gone through to get this movie to the big screen, it's obvious that it was a labor of love for him. Maybe he could show some love to future audiences by just releasing only the action scenes when the DVD/Blu-ray comes out and by not producing a sequel.

The Movie Monkey

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