Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Diva Thought Of "The Green Hornet"

Red Dot Diva can already hear the fanboys running away screaming like little girls after they read this review. If they ever do get past the midway point of this blog.

But no matter.

It is sometimes part of Red Dot Diva's evil plans to horrify the geek masses. *g*

So if one does not want to read a review of "The Green Hornet" that does not entail copious amounts of fervent bashing, then please **DO NOT** proceed further.

Red Dot Diva has to admit that she wasn't too keen on watching "The Green Hornet" movie at first.

Reason Number One - Seth Rogen. She wasn't a fan of his nor the genre of slacker movies that he's well-known for. More importantly, he is also not on her man-wich list.

Reason Number Two - the awful mess of a trailer that was aired to promote the movie. In it, one could hardly hear Jay Chou's "English" and it made the movie look like it was a really really lame slapstick comedy.

Lastly, the amount of dissing and many thumbs-down reviews from mainly American press and viewers were not that encouraging either.

After some consideration (it must be due to the debilitating CNY food coma), she finally decided to watch "The Green Hornet" (2D) on the second day of the Year of the Rabbit. Not that bunnies had anything to do with bees, er... hornets. But it seemed that the general Asian sentiment regarding the movie was quite different from the American viewers. The contrasting views made her curious enough and she wanted to make her own judgements.

Admittedly, Red Dot Diva recalls very little about "The Green Hornet" from the 1960's TV series or any other media form. Although she definitely remembered the theme song. Not being a hardcore comic book reader made it easier for her to go watch the movie with an open mind and with little expectations.

"The Green Hornet" turned out to be quite enjoyable. (*poke* Cue for fanboys to stop reading now....)

The movie started with Seth Rogen in typical slacker mode as Britt Reid - a rich playboy heir doing what rich playboys usually do. And having the usual (- yawn -) Daddy issues.

But when Daddy unexpectedly dies (supposedly killed by a bee), Britt became the next in line to take over Daddy's newspaper business. Britt, who has very few real friends, got to know Daddy's chauffeur-mechanic, Kato, and they both b*tched about what a jerk Daddy Reid was.

Kato (Jay Chou), originally from Shanghai, is a tech-engineering-designer-whiz, who happens to make awesome coffee and hieeee--yahhh!! knew martial arts too. (BTW, Red Dot Diva loved the nod to the late Bruce Lee, who is still remembered for his iconic role of Kato in the old TV series.)

Spawned from that same drunken male-bonding session, both Britt and Kato decided to steal the head of Daddy Reid's graveside statue. Somehow, they ended up saving a couple from a gang attack, but were wrongly accused of being the bad guys by the press.

That in turn gave Britt the idea for the duo to be vigilantes and to call himself "The Green Hornet". (Well because "The Green Bee" just wouldn't mean the same thing...)

The two then went on a bromantic romp in their super-pimped-out ride, The Black Beauty, trying to take down LA's ganglands by acting more gangsta-bad than they actually were. This irked the kingpin Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), who is facing his own middle-age crisis. And all these finally led to an all guns, all kung-fu showdown in the office building of The Daily Sentinel.

To Red Dot Diva's surprise, Jay Chou's "English" didn't turn out to be too mangled after all, regardless if it was later dubbed or not. (Or maybe, because she is just used to listening to people mumble.) In fact, he was really quite watchable in his American movie debut. Jay is no Bruce Lee, but he practically stole many scenes with his portrayal of self-doubt mixed with childish egoistic bravado.

As for Seth, it is a good thing he didn't test Red Dot Diva's patience too much that she felt she had to walk out of the theatre. Seth's portrayal of dim-witted, ineffectual Britt Reid wasn't endearing most of the time, but maybe that was because Britt was more like his father than he could admit to himself.

Red Dot Diva found that she enjoyed Seth's scenes mostly when he was with Jay. Their chemistry was pretty good and they indeed acted like bickering xiong di's (兄弟). The scene where Britt and Kato fought each other due to a competitive power-play was exciting to watch. She felt that many local viewers probably connected easily to this brotherly interaction as it is a oft-used plotline in many Chinese movies and TV serials.

Red Dot Diva felt that Cameron Diaz role looked out of place as secretary Lenora Case. She really didn't have very much to do. It was nice that the movie didn't go down the stereotypical "hero always gets the girl" route though.

What Red Dot Diva was *really* disappointed about was how underutilized Christoph Waltz was in the movie.

When did the villain of a movie become an after-thought?? Red Dot Diva was looking forward to see His Scruffiness chew up some scenes in a very bad-ass manner, but other than the first few opening scenes where he sizzled with a menacing deadpan expression, he didn't manage to look "scary" at all!

Speaking about the opening scenes, the best guest (uncredited) appearance has just got to be the slickly- suited, porn-stached James Franco... Crystal Cleer, babes!

The script, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, was as goofy as expected. Red Dot Diva found the jokes were kinda hit and miss. Mostly misses. However, she did snicker at the ones concerning the gas gun.

Red Dot Diva thought the movie struck an okay balance between action and laughs. The choice not to use too much CGI was a good one. The choreography for the close-range fights and scuffles was reminiscent of a mini Jackie Chan rumble without the more elegantly acrobatic moves.

The partnership of Seth Rogen and Michel Gondry as director was unthinkable at first. Gondry is well- known for his trademark quirky touch and one wondered if he could truly deliver an action-type movie. Red Dot Diva thought he didn't do too badly, and what could have been an untidy wreck was actually strung together as quite a fun ride.

"The Green Hornet" is definitely not a typical superhero movie. It doesn't attempt to be one. It is also not the most imaginative of story-telling. If one expects a story with some rousing anthem of greatness and solemn sequences of superheroic achievements, then - skip the movie entirely.

Take it as a light comedy adventure. Avoid the overly nerdy-nit-picking. Don't watch the movie in 3D. Sit back and relax, and one may find "The Green Hornet" quite entertaining to watch.

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