Christoph Waltz is a force of nature.
Never mind that I was already excited to find out I had a ticket to see an advance screening of Green Hornet, the first winter-blockbuster of the new year, in Real-D 3D. Forget the fact that I’ve been following the hype on this movie in the periphery ever since Kevin Smith was originally working the project. Ignore that I’m a huge geek for superhero movies. Disregard that much about the Green Hornet parallels Batman, making it that much more attractive to me.
All that mattered when I sat down in that theater last night was that Christoph Waltz was on the screen.
Admittedly, I’ve been lax in my true pursuit of movies I want to see. I haven’t been doing as much investigation as I normally would. One part of that research usually involves popping in to IMdB to see who beyond the titled cast is in the movie. I figured I would be seeing Green Hornet more at my leisure. With hockey season in full-swing, video game addiction suddenly running rampant again, my wife busy playing hockey and networking, and the general budgetary constraints, I wasn’t really thinking I’d get the opportunity to pop by the theater any time soon.
I’ve already consigned myself to seeing Tron: Legacy on a “when possible” note. I may wait for the dollar theater at this point. Doesn’t say much about my geek heritage, but I think Christmas presents were ultimately more important than seeing the movie. But, I digress.
Research was thin, so therefore, Christoph Waltz was a total surprise to me. In one of the first scenes, he walks into an office, sits down in a chair, and starts speaking in his insidiously evil and devious Col. Hans Landa voice, even using similar vocabulary, timbre, and mannerisms. I squealed shortly and audibly. I looked to my left and to my right and realized that neither of the friends sitting next to me had seen Inglorious Basterds and quietly but anxiously attempted to contain my sheer excitement that he would be our villain for the evening.
Aside from my gushing, the movie was half-decent.
Green Hornet is a superhero action buddy comedy. A lot of adjectives, I know, but the only real way to describe it.
As I briefly mentioned, the movie was once (c 2004) attached to be penned and directed by Kevin Smith and distributed by Miramax and the Weinsteins. It had been in litigation hell, however, since 1992 with multiple actors, directors, writers, distributors, and production companies attached.
The final product turned out to be penned by Seth Rogen (the Hornet himself) and Evan Goldberg. Again, lack of research didn’t turn this up until one of my company mentioned it. I was instantly skeptical of what I was about to see, but it turns out Rogen and his partner knew what they were doing.
In addition to Rogen’s bumbling action-lead turn as Britt Reid/Green Hornet, a Taiwanese-born actor by the name of Jay Chou steps into Bruce Lee’s shoes as the Hornet’s partner and loyal sidekick, Kato, whose role in this is slightly more extended than Lee’s original turn in the old 1960s TV serial. Not just the Hornet’s martial artist valet and chauffer, Kato in this movie plays more like the Hornet’s ingenieur; the one who does the R&D on all the Hornet’s tricks. They made Kato into a mechanical genius who also happens to have mad martial arts skills (including Bruce Lee’s infamous one-inch punch, which makes a cameo).
Also sharing the spotlight is Cameron Diaz who, from what the commercials and trailers tell you, shows up as something of a romantic interest, but really winds up being a brainy comical foil for the two main characters (ala Pepper Potts in the Iron Man franchise). There are also some decent cracks at her being an aging actress but still having a fantastic ass. I thought her presence might draw away from the story, but her part was well-written enough that she becomes a well-contributing ancillary plot element.
Green Hornet is as funny as it is action-packed. The fights and car chases will get your adrenaline pumping while the Hornet and Kato’s banter, as well as a delightfully mad black-funny Christoph Waltz villain, keep you from taking things too seriously. Chou’s muscle and Rogen’s ego-maniacal face and mouth work in perfect tandem.
This movie comes highly recommended as a break from the winter blahs. If you’re up to your neck in snow and feeling like the big grey-and-white world outside is going to get the better of you, Green Hornet will improve your mood, trust me.
Oh, and don’t waste your money seeing this flick in 3D. There weren’t really enough effects to justify it and it will play just as well in 2D.
I have to go see this one again because my wife missed out. I will not regret seeing it twice in a short time span, it was that much fun.
Bidula’s Last Word: 7.5/10 (mostly due to Christoph Waltz)
Closing in on something important, so I’ll be blogging more often very soon. I know you all miss me. Until then, keep fighting the good fight.