Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Green Hornet DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Classic Comic Book Series Comes to DVD

Seth Rogen’s pudgy physique and homely demeanor don’t exactly conjure up visions of a macho superhero like the Green Hornet’s persona. Here, Rogen has reimagined the character as the sort of sarcastic, trash-talking slacker he usually plays, as opposed to the selfless, suave protagonist from the original radio and comic book series.
At the point of departure, profligate playboy Britt Reid (Rogen) learns that his emotionally-estranged dad (Tom Wilkinson) has died under mysterious circumstances, ostensibly from an allergic reaction to a bee sting. The decadent bachelor fires most of his father’s staff and reluctantly assumes the reins of the media empire. More importantly, he decides, to pursue his passion afterhours, namely, roaming the streets at night as a crime-fighting vigilante.
To this end, he enlists the assistance of his loyal manservant, Kato (Jay Chou), who not only knows how to brew a mean cup of coffee, but just happens to be a crack inventor, auto mechanic, chauffeur and martial arts expert, all rolled into one. Donning masks to morph into their alter egos, the Green Hornet and his sidekick proceed to patrol L.A. in the Black Beauty, a bulletproof car outfitted with munitions ranging from machine guns to missiles to shotguns to flamethrowers.
A diabolical archenemy soon emerges in bloodthirsty Benjamin Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), a Russian mobster who has cornered the drug market with the help of a crooked District Attorney (David Harbour). When not battling bad guys, Britt and Kato find themselves competing for the affections of Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz), a secretary at the Sentinel with a degree in criminology.
But don’t let the straightforward-sounding plot fool you, for its execution is decidedly underwhelming. The problems with the picture are plentiful, starting with the fact that Britt Reid is an unlikable lout who can’t fight and you don’t really want to root for. He’s easily eclipsed by Kato who always miraculously surfaces to save the day.
However, the film’s fatal flaw is that the two never generate any chemistry, a big failing given that this buddy flick frequently feels like a cheap imitation of the charming Chris Tucker/Jackie Chan Rush Hour trilogy.

Fair (1 star)
Rated PG-13 for violence, profanity, sexuality and drug use.
Running time: 109 Minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Filmmakers’ commentary, gag reel, and featurettes entitled: “Writing the Green Hornet” and “The Black Beauty: Rebirth of Cool.” 1

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