Arrogant playboy, Britt Reid inherits father’s respected hard-hitting newspaper. But when Reid teams up with the ingenious chauffeur, Kato, he decides to take fighting crime into his own hands and becomes the masked vigilante, ‘The Green Hornet’. However he underestimates the levels of corruption in his father’s legacy and soon finds himself having to rely on his own wits to save his life and the innocent people caught up in the wave of crimes left unchecked.

The Green Hornet (2011) – Director: Michel Gondry

Is The Green Hornet appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 119 mins

Starring: Seth Rogan, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz

Genre: Action, Comedy, Martial Arts

REVIEW

It made for an intriguing idea. ‘The Green Hornet’ was a 1960s TV series that famously had a supporting role for a young Bruce Lee as one half of a masked crime fighting duo. It is in fact quite surprising that there hasn’t been a re-imagining of this series before now. Hot off the back of his rise to comedy stardom, actor Seth Rogan is also co-writer for this action packed comedy re-make. Unfortunately, it also has the effect of turning this movie into a Seth Rogan vehicle. The comedy element feels forced, the kung-fu element is dabbled with rather than fully realised and the explosion fuelled finale stands out like a sore thumb.

When ‘The Green Hornet’ gets the balance right, the result is a series of fun sequences and performances. Jay Chou is entertaining as the put-upon but highly skilled chauffeur and the sub-plot involving Waltz’s difficult to pronounce villain, ‘Chudnofsky’, going through somewhat of a crime lord mid-life crisis, is unexpectedly funny. Where the movie falls apart is, quite simply, the Rogan factor. His character, Britt Reid, is thoroughly unlikable with no growth and no redeeming features aside from the weak excuse of blaming his spoilt attitude on his emotionally cold father (played by Tom Wilkinson). He is misogynistic, crude, arrogant and lacking in the kind of charm necessary to carry a film such as this. ‘The Green Hornet’ is content to be merely low-brow and, in aiming for a teenage audience, it has the side effect of excluding anybody else from enjoying the party.

IS ‘THE GREEN HORNET’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

There is a large amount of moderate cursing which is constant throughout the movie and cannot be avoided.

After the initial scene with the young Reid junior we cut to him as an adult. He is shown to be indulging in excess by partying hard. He cavorts with many women and takes one back home to his father’s mansion. The next morning she is lying in his bed and Reid cannot remember her name. She is also wearing very little beside a very see through bra.

When Reid and Kato (Jay Chou’s character) become friends, they go out to ‘do something crazy’. As part of this Reid sees a young couple being attacked by a group of thugs. The man is beaten to the ground and the woman cries out in fear. She is then shoved and the men gather around her menacingly. This is over quite quickly as Reid distracts them into chasing him, and there is no dialogue or actions that directly suggests a sexual threat, but the moment is quite intimidating.

The chief gangster of Chudnofsky is a threatening man. At the beginning of the film he shoots four guards and shoves the barrel in a rival criminal’s face. He also later reads about a decapitated statue and snorts, ‘I’ve decapitated real people’. Later, when he has put a bounty on the Green Hornet’s head, there is a montage of brutal killings. There is a quick shot of him slamming a garage door on someone’s head and a slightly longer shot of him lowering a rotary saw onto someone’s arm, although this happens below shot and no blood is shown. When he first confronts the Green Hornet, the development of the situation leads to a cement mixer detaching from a lorry and it rolls until crushing several of his henchmen.

This level of ‘action movie’ violence is fairly constant, especially during the last 25 minutes of the movie where the tone shifts to full on guns, explosions and shoot outs. Right at the end there is a very graphic shot of a wooden beam being snapped in half and shoved into a ‘bad’ character’s eyes. He staggers around screaming with the beams jutting out of his face and the camera lingers on this for around 10 – 20 seconds.

Cameron Diaz also stars as Lenore, hired to be Reid’s secretary. There follows the usual rivalry for her affections between Reid and Kato. Reid approaches this by being condescending, obnoxious and disrespectful whereas Kato is much more genuine. However, later when Kato and Reid argue, Kato performs an obscure hand gesture to indicate (falsely) the he and Lenore have been intimate – although this is more to annoy Reid than anything. By contrast, Reid lusts after almost every woman he meets and is shown to be very disrespectful to women in general. Diaz is a strong character who can stand up against such advances, but the lack of character development for Reid means that even after apologising for his past actions to her, he makes a point of checking out her rear end and raising his eyebrows to himself.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

The Green Hornet’ feels like a good idea buried underneath a generally low expectation of what audiences want from a comedy action movie. What could have been a smart and fun re-invention of an old crime fighting premise ends up as nothing more than yet another appeal to teenage boy sensibilities. The oddest thing about the movie is the shifts in tone. The beginning of the friendship between Reid and Kato is good fun and Kato’s smart inventions make for entertaining viewing. However, this quickly descends into crude humour and after 60 minutes it becomes clear that Reid’s arrogant attitude isn’t going to be afforded the luxury of character growth. That isn’t to say a low-brow approach isn’t effective if done right, but ‘The Green Hornet’ promised to be more than it turned out to be.

Add to that the fact that the general chauvinistic attitude of this movie goes unchecked throughout, and is the focus of much of the intended humour, ‘The Green Hornet’ aims low and still somehow misses. Whilst it may not seem immediately apparent, on closer inspection ‘The Green Hornet’ is a movie aimed at appealing to a predominately teenage male audience and therefore we would advice strong caution before allowing a child under the age of 12 to watch it.

  • Violence:  3/5 (it at first appears that Jackie Chan style kung-fu will be the order of the day, but after Kato shoots an attacker in the head and the final third of the movie sets in, it becomes clear that the violence is going to be much more pronounced)
  • Emotional Distress: 0/5
  • Fear Factor: 1/5 (there is a moment when it appears that some characters will be buried alive)
  • Sexual Content: 4/5 (the sleaziness of Reid goes mostly unchecked and unresolved)     
  • Bad Language: 5/5 (although there are no ‘strong’ swear words, the cursing in this movie is constant and coarse)
  • Dialogue: 3/5 (several threats of violence, references to sexual activity and generally unpleasant characterisation)  
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of corruption, integrity and the effects of dispassionate parenting

Words by Mike Record


The Green Hornet [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free]


New From: £1.00 GBP In Stock

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