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5 live review: The Green Hornet

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Mark Kermode | 10:26 UK time, Monday, 17 January 2011

5 live's resident movie critic Dr Mark Kermode reviews The Green Hornet.

Go to Mark on 5 Live for more reviews and film debate.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Regardless of the merits of this film, i was shocked that the film was given a 12A certificate! I watched this film on a saturday afternoon with a bunch of young children in the cinema and felt very unconfortable immediately. Seth Rogen swears in almost every line of dialogue he has and there is some brutal violence. How could this be rated less than Made in Dagenham????

  • Comment number 2.

    I was bemused by some of the positive reviews this film had as to when I viewed it at my local cinema I felt it was nothing more that an appalling half-arsed attemp at creating a brutal,violent but flashy self righteous movie than was in alot of ways trying to be this years Kick Ass (or as brits say,Kick Arse).It Failed.

  • Comment number 3.

    WoW. That was an Awesome rant. Can we get that retrofitted into 3D.
    It could be my first last and only 3D experience.

  • Comment number 4.

    Yeah, that was awesome, Dr. K!

    Glad you're back.

  • Comment number 5.

    Perhaps someday the technology will let them retrofit better characters dialogue and plot into these bits of rubbish.

    Off topic, but in last week's podcast Dr K was wondering why Tron Legacy was so boring. This is easy, with a few flourishes, it is almost the same movie as Tron. Protagonist lands in Tron-ville gets cool set pieces of Discs of Tron and Light Cycles, then, just as in the original, the film has nowhere to go except to have a really leisurely chase of a Light Freighter going towards the exit point (apparently light speed has a slow setting). The only differences is that old Bridges gets to do a bit of Obi Wan, CGI Bridges gets to do Darth, and Michael Sheen gets to look a bit like Bowie, but is really just the Merovingian lifted straight out of the Matrix. Sorry, can't do better than that, got bored just typing it.

  • Comment number 6.

    @ Carnelian

    Were the young children close to 12? And to be honest, you sound like you're more troubled by the film than young children would be. As is usually the case with these supposedly shocking decisions like Casino Royale and The Dark Knight, the kids leave fine, and it's the parents who have nightmares and whinge to the Daily Mail.

    Anyway, as always, the BBFC have given ample warning, and rated it 12A for "Moderate violence, language and sex references" with the following justification :

    "The moderate violence occurs during several set-piece fights involving a variety of highly-skilled martial arts moves, which are presented in a highly stylised fashion. Although many of the fight scenes are sustained and place a certain emphasis on heavy impacts, for example through the use of slow motion, the violence plays like a live-action cartoon. The scenes move at a rapid pace that does not dwell on detail and the violence is balanced by the well-established comic elements of the film, as well as by the wisecracking banter between the heroes as they face down their opponents. The strongest moment involves the death of a criminal character who has two sticks jabbed in his face, but only an impression is given of the impact and there is little detail in the aftermath. The presentation of the violence meets with the requirements of the BBFC's Guidelines at '12A'/'12' which state that 'Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context'.

    The moderate language in the film includes uses of terms such as 'p***y', 'd***face' and 'b***h' which go beyond the mild language permitted at 'PG' but are allowed at '12A'.

    Moderate sex references, such as a man referring to another as 'a pervert', a man talking to a woman and using his hands to form the shape of female breasts, and a comment about a sexually transmitted disease, occur as part of the film's comedy. Although they have a suggestive quality that accumulates over the course of the film, they would not be unfamiliar to young teenagers and lack the frequency or level of crudeness that would challenge the Guidelines at '12A'/'12' where 'Sex references should not go beyond what is suitable for young teenagers. Frequent crude references are unlikely to be acceptable'.

    The film also contains some uses of milder language, including 's**t', 'a**', 'a**holes', 'hell', 'crap', 'damn', 'balls', 'b*****d', 'sonofa*****' and 'screwed', as well as drug references that explain the business of the criminal characters in the story."

    I do agree with you on Made in Dagenham though (even if Stephen Woolley should've been better prepared). Hopefully the landmark decision on The King's Speech's fifteen or so uses of strong language will finally provide the precedent to usher in a new, realistic policy treating swearing as a far less serious issue than violence.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'd quite fancy seeing the film for Gondry, but it's a shame that it's impossible to find a 2-D version. Retrofit doesn't work, but simply forcing us to watch 3-D or nothing won't work either because I bet most people will choose "nothing"

  • Comment number 8.

    Be Kind Rewind good? Really? I thought it was one of the worst films I'd ever seen. It grated so much I had to turn it off after forty minutes - maybe it gets better after that but I'm not ever going to put myself through the torture of finding out.

  • Comment number 9.

    “As I shall be known from now on…The Black Vegetable.”

    “My lord, wouldn’t something like The Black Adder sound better?”

    Anyway, before watching this review I had no desire to watch this movie and now…I want the movie destroyed.

  • Comment number 10.

    I like the Tim Robey from The Daily Telegraph's review.

    'The Green Hornet isn't a Michel Gondry film, but a Seth Rogen film to which Gondry has been strapped and forced to say the word "Action!", seemingly at gunpoint.'

  • Comment number 11.

  • Comment number 12.

    'Retrofit doesn't work, but simply forcing us to watch 3-D or nothing won't work either because I bet most people will choose "nothing"'

    Or - DVD. Cheaper too.

  • Comment number 13.

    I agree with every word of this. I didn't even have very high expectations of this movie yet it still failed miserably and I like ALL of Gondry's other movies, including Science of Sleep. Even going easy on Green Hornet, there's really nothing to praise.

  • Comment number 14.

    I keep hoping people will wake up and realise that Seth Rogen IS NOT FUNNY. He plays Seth Rogen in every film, and in each one he is awful, in a laborious creakingly predictable wince-inducing Bruce Forsythe way, you know what he will say and all that remains is the tedium of waiting for him to say it. Eventually someone, (please anyone),will see through the podgy puppydog stoner/loser 'charm' and see the sinister, comedy sucking vacuum that lies beneath.

  • Comment number 15.

    You think you were bored! What about the guy behind you at 9 minutes 30 seconds into your rant? :-)

  • Comment number 16.

    I thought this was just a waste of Seth Rogen & Michel Gondry as both were reigned in & stopped putting each of their stamps on the film that ended up as a mixed up mess. Cameron Diaz might have well as been called Ms Exposition & Christoph Waltz was underused in a role that was underwritten.

    The 3D was non-existent in some places & where it was used it didn’t work.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hello Mark, I know of no other way to contact you other than this, but I am an avid movie fan and looking for a way in to eventually in the future get to your position.

    My blog is called Essential Movies called if you wish to see it.

    Many thanks


  • Comment number 18.

    Mark, please replace Claudia on Film 2011.

  • Comment number 19.

    @ Azumi4

    And if he's unable to do so, I have a rather agreeable plant pot waiting to assume her role.

  • Comment number 20.

    Good news Dr Kermode. I recently got in contact with the bfi Imax through there official facebook page with regards to a 2D version of harry potter 7 B. They replied with this

    BFI IMAX "Hi Jp, The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 will not be a 3D presentation. Hope you join us in July for the IMAX Experience."

  • Comment number 21.

    I'm making a stand. No 2D prints of films that were shot in 2D - no sale. I'm not going. I'll gladly pay up if they're shot in 3D - but in the rubbish conversion job that DOESN'T WORK - it's a con and a ripoff, pure and simple.

  • Comment number 22.

    I have to agree with the masses here; 'The Green Hornet' was just terrible. I couldn't believe how long it was for starters and it just paraded special effects and Seth Rogen shouting.

    I don't understand why Michel Gondry is directing American movies? He doesn't know how to use a large budget because he's used to making arthouse movies. 'The Green Hornet' cost $90 million! That's probably more money than the majority of his filmography.

    And I also agree that 'Be Kind Rewind' is utter rubbish too.

    Here's my review for the film if you're interested:

  • Comment number 23.

    Thank you oletaolyta! I too have never seen the merit in Seth Rogen's "acting" to loosely call it. As you so very aptly say, he plays Seth Rogen no matter what movie he is in.

    There are far better "buddy" movies available for viewing in 2D anyway with far better dialogue AND action.

    Like Tron Legacy, once you take away the special effects, there isn't much to like about the film. The dialogue certainly doesn't have wit and it's so formulaic. We've seen this time and again.

    Thankfully my local independent cinema has 2D screens only. Unfortunately the Green Hornet is still showing. Ce la vie!

  • Comment number 24.

    sorry about this, but 9mins and about 30 seconds into the kermodian rant the chap at the back behind the screen has the BIGGEST yawn i ve seen for a while. totally distracted me and now i don t know what to believe! about anything! ever

  • Comment number 25.

    I've liked some of Gondry (I thought everybody knew Science of Sleep was a masterpiece!) and most of Rogen and thought that Green Hornet was
    a) a really funny action movie with minimalist but really great set-pieces (which gave the thing a 60's feel) and
    b) brilliant in its 3dness. Maybe it was the retrofitting but the absence of "3d" moments (see Jaws 3) and the photography make it really beautiful. I thought Gondry realising the dimness of 3d, lit them so as to create a lot of silhouettes and cartoon-like shapes. It was the first time 3d being dim didn't bother me.

    Also the heroes being imperfect made it a nice throwback to times when heroes were more human than super. It was a likable and sincere film and in no way reminded me of Kick Ass. Which btw didn't (too smug) and is itself a ripoff of Takashi Miike's Zebraman (2004).

    And Gondry's aesthetic is laid-back anyway. I think this fits right in his oeuvre.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm a massive cynic of 3D and only saw it in 3D because it was the only option, but I didn't think it was that badly done. Overall the film was okay, nothing special but not as bad as it's been made out to be (although I went in with low expectations, maybe that helped).
    I think where Kick Ass was better is that Hornet just plowed through the usual "super heroes are stupid and here's why" cliches whre kick Ass was taken from a comic book series so the satirising of the genre came from someone who really knew the good and the bad of Superhero standards.

  • Comment number 27.

    Can't really disagree with many of the comments you've made, Dr K, however in spite of this I actually rather enjoyed it. It's dumb yes, but I've seen a lot worse. Did seem a waste of Gondry's talents though, although my view of him veers wildly. Eternal Sunshine will probably remain one of my all time favorite films, whilst Science of Sleep was all visual but with nothing behind it. Be Kind Rewind was quirky and funny, but the best thing about it is the Sweded films, and did video shops even still exist when it was made? Still good but not great.

    Also I would disagree about Waltz, I thought this role had none of the menace he exuded in Inglorious (and you're right he was one of the few good things about it!)

    Anyone else feel Seth Rogan is just Will Ferrell but younger? (And just as annoying)

    My main gripe with the film though (3D aside) the lack of the iconic Hornet theme apart from one instance! What a waste!

  • Comment number 28.

    I saw this travesty last night, in 3D Imax which set me back over 13 quid. Seth Rogen's character is irredeemably annoying and unlikable. The Imax screen was impressive but 3D remains a total waste of time. And money (ours).

  • Comment number 29. didn't like it?

  • Comment number 30.

    Yes I agree with everything you have just said. Yes I think that retrofitted 3D is lame. Yes I think this film had been in development hell for so long that everyone lost sight of what it was supposed to be about. But out of all the things that you said about this film there is just one thing that made me laugh out loud, the guy sitting through the window behind you and what he was doing while you were in complete rant mode! Funny as hell mate, but yes you are right, just a shame the film did not have a funny moment like that in it.


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