Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer
Why is there so much evil and suffering in the world? Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
Why is there a disconnect between Hollywood and the rest of America? Answer
What is being done to change the values of Hollywood? Answer
|Featuring:||Cameron Diaz (Lenore Case), Seth Rogen (Britt Reid / Green Hornet), Christoph Waltz (Chudnofsky), Edward James Olmos (Michael Axford), Tom Wilkinson (James Reid), Edward Furlong (Tupper), Jay Chou (Kato), more »|
|Director:||Michel Gondry—“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Be Kind Rewind,” “The Science of Sleep”|
|Producer:||Original Film Feature Films, Original Film, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), more »|
“breaking the law to protect it”
How do you approach a superhero story about men who dress up in funny costumes with strange names and battle crime? Over the years, directors have taken different approaches. The Batman series is a prime example of how directors have tried everything from campy humor (in the hilarious 1960s TV show) to the dark, brooding, philosophical approach (as in the equally great Christopher Nolan films). The Green Hornet might seem more fitting to the later, as it revolves around crime fighters who pretend to be underworld figures to strike fear into the crime bosses. Seth Rogen, however, opted for the former. Not necessarily a bad choice, except for one notable distinction. The 1960s Batman was funny. “The Green Hornet” is anything but funny, and anything but entertaining.
The story of the Green Hornet is similar to that of Batman—a rich Playboy who crawls the underworld to fight crime and strike fear into the hearts of villains. The twist is that he is, also, the head of a major newspaper that regularly portrays the Green Hornet as a villain, even attributing the murder of people by the mob to the Green Hornet himself. Promising stuff, except that the writer and star of “The Green Hornet” is not known for such material. On the contrary, Seth Rogen is known best as the actor/writer and/or producer of such raunchy, immoral comedies as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “Superbad,” and “Pineapple Express.” That raunchy style of humor might work at drunken frat parties, but in a superhero film it is simply falls flat.
Britt Reid, our “hero,” is an obnoxious jerk and an arrogant idiot. Kato, his sidekick, is the real genius and mastermind behind the Green Hornet. Funny right? Well, Kato is definitely the most likable character in the film, but that is not saying much. Having a foul-mouthed, obnoxious hero does little to make the audience care about him or his exploits. This is a trend that is becoming all too common in Hollywood today. More and more films are absent true heroes, or even flawed men with good hearts. They are simply packed with rude egotists who are only heroes because the script says so.
Morally, the film is not suitable for children, at all. It is unfortunate that films like this can get a PG-13 rating seemingly based solely upon its brand name and the fact that all the butchery in the film is done without excessive blood, but does it really matter when a man has both eyes gouged by furniture equipment? Or when we see a tablesaw begin to cut a man’s arm off (the scene cuts away)? When we see men crushed under various objects with bodily limbs seen sticking out underneath? Nevertheless, there is some blood and countless acts of brutality and violence.
The violence, alone, would push PG-13 limits, but when we add the amount of language in the film, the PG-13 rating becomes a joke. There are literally more than two dozen instances of sh--, a half dozen references to male genitals (d---), several “a--holes,” a reference to the female vagina, the f-word, and countless “hells,” “damns” and taking of the Lord’s name in vain. According to one Web site which counts such words, there are over 80 cuss words in this PG-13 movie!
This is not all, however, for the sexual innuendoes, kicks the crotch, and a scene where Britt is in bed with a woman he does not know (no nudity is shown) add to the already long list of items which should have made this film R rated.
Now, if this is not bad enough, let’s talk about the quality of the film itself. CGI is overused, as usual, to make fight scenes look “cool,” but often distract from any realism that might have been offered, as well as becoming illogical. The action scenes are over the top, which might have worked in a campy film—had it actually been funny.
Unfortunately, most of the jokes backfire. Those that are not crude and rude involve Britt acting like a buffoon, such as the scene where he accidentally shoots himself with a gas gun, or awakens from a week long sleep to see himself wearing adult diapers. The few highlights of the film include Kato and the villain, who dubs himself Bloodnofski. Both work very well in their roles, but are stymied by a script which looks like it was written at one of the drunken frat parties featured in Seth’s previous films.
My advice is wait until DVD to see this film… if at all.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate