“The Green Hornet” is worth the green

“The Green Hornet” is a superhero movie that never lets itself get too serious. It sets itself apart from other comic book movies with just as many one-liners as fight scenes. The movie, starring and co-written by comedic actor Seth Rogen, has a lot to do with the comedy/action ratio.

Rogen plays Britt Reid, a spoiled, hard-partying son of a billionaire newspaper giant, lacking direction in life and desire to change. Reid carries on with his irresponsible lifestyle until his father is mysteriously killed by a bee sting, leaving the newspaper empire to him. During this time a crime lord threatens to take over the city of Los Angeles.

Reid enlists the help of his Swiss-army-knife, coffee wizard assistant Kato, played by Jay Chou, to become masked vigilantes and take down the crime boss. Reid uses an original strategy of posing as a villain in order to get close to the criminals and transform into a hero. Of course this is easier said than done, as they find themselves rolling deep in butt-kicking fun.

On the surface, this is a humorous, crime-fighting film; however, underneath there is much more. It has elements of righting wrongs, starting at the bottom in order to get to the top, and a bro-mantic escapade between Rogen and Chou that reaches “Starsky and Hutch” levels of bonding.

One striking aspect of the movie is the use of slow-motion fight scenes. Just as the bad guys begin to close in on the Green Hornet and Kato, the timing slows down, highlighting the kicks, punches and martial arts acrobatics. When the kicks and punches are about to land, the timing speeds up to emphasize the brashness of the blows. A close second is Black Beauty, Green Hornet’s pimped out ride. Black Beauty is a customized 1960’s Chrysler Imperial with more tool and gun contraptions than the body of Inspector Gadget. The best part of the car is its installed record player that plays vintage rap songs like Coolio’s classic “Gangsta’s Paradise” as the Green Hornet and Kato cruise the streets looking for trouble.

The biggest waste of the movie was the use of or lack thereof of Cameron Diaz. Diaz plays Reid’s secretary at his newspaper company, but is used as little more than a sexy female who causes a rift between the relationship of Reid and Kato as they fight for her affection. Diaz’s character helps the Green Hornet build street cred through the newspaper, but disappears for long stretches of the movie.

Overall “The Green Hornet” is a fun time worth the price of admission. If you want a serious crime fighter movie like the “The Dark Knight” or “Superman” than this movie isn’t your cup of coffee. The plot isn’t going to make you think much, it’s more about letting the laughs roll and blowing things up. So feel free to check your brain at the door.

Story by Derick Bischoff