by David Schuster and Steven Leventhal
Both of us saw this movie over the weekend and had a pretty similar take on this re-boot of the old radio and television classic.
David says: For months I had been seeing promos and previews for "The Green Hornet" and thinking Seth Rogen? Are they serious? This was like having an updated James Bond movie with Pee Wee Hermann playing the title character. So I went into the theater with a negative attitude expecting to absolutely hate this movie. But I will tell you up front that, though I didn't love it, I exited with a favorable impression.
For those who are unfamiliar with the story of "The Green Hornet," it's about a newspaper editor who fights crime at night but the pubic thinks he is a gangster himself. In the TV show the Hornet is played with a fairly serious overtone which made Rogen the most unlikely of choices. But, though he's a bit campy at times, he pulls off the role enough for me to have made this an overall enjoyable experience.
Actually this "Green Hornet" is a classic "buddy movie" with Rogen and Jay Chou (Kato) building their relationship while having fun and kicking some ass. Chou is charismatic in a goofy kind of way as Kato but he's certainly no Bruce Lee when it comes to Martial Arts. Lee was the real McCoy while all of Chou's scenes are done in either slow motion or sped up to mask his inabilities.
Christoph Waltz plays the movie's bad guy and he's now two for two in my book. Waltz had one of the all time great performances in "Inglourious Basterds" and he's pretty good in this flick too. Cameron Diaz is the eye candy in the movie and her days doing so are running out but that's OK since she's got a potential new career as Mrs. Alex Rodriguez.
I laughed a good amount of the time and would have had a more favorable impression of the movie until the last thirty minutes when it sank into a shoot em up special effects pile on.
Still I liked it overall and will bet that they'll be a follow up as Rogen (I can't believe he pulled it off) and Chou made it fun. I give "The Green Hornet" a run-scoring double - two and a half stars.
One of the real gems of this movie was the performance of Chou as Kato. His deadpan humor and one liners is what really made this movie funny and prevented it from being slapstick. If you've ever seen any of the old Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers, he is always getting attacked by his "Kato." That's what the one big scene where Rogan and Chou fight it out over Cameron Diaz made the movie for me.
The other star of the film is "Black Beauty" a 1960's vintage Chrysler Imperial. The car is outfitted with all kinds of weaponry, as well as a vinyl record player. All that was missing was a wireless Internet connection, but that would have negated the last third of the film.
If you like the tongue and cheek comedy, some nice homages to the 1966 television series with Van Williams and a then unknown Bruce Lee, plus seeing car chase and stuff blown up, go see this. I caught a 3D version, and there wasn't a lot things coming out of the screen until it got to the credits, so you don't have to spend the extra bucks if you don't want to.
I gave it - a triple - three stars. It was as much fun as watching Bill Belichick getting his lunch handed to him by the New York J-E-T-S Jets.