Director: Michel Gondry
Screenplay: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Producers: Neal H. Moritz, Raffi Adlan
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou
Year: 2011
Country: U.S.A.
BBFC Certification: 12A
Duration: 119 Minutes

Was it a bad idea to take the over-used superhero film template and reinvent it in a pop-culture fashion that’s heavy on the comedic tone? Most certainly not. Was “The Green Hornet” successfully entertaining in that fashion and tone? MOST CERTAINLY NOT!

A lot of people scoffed when they heard comedic slacker Seth Rogen was taking on the role as the green masked crusader that was made famous by a TV series based on old radio shows. Turns out those people were right to scoff at the choice of Rogen as the lead. Among the myriad of disappointments this gem has to offer, Rogen’s bumbling performance as the Green Hornet is its greatest offense. This may sting a bit, but after all was said and done, I kinda hated this film. KA-POW!!!

Los Angeles newspaper mogul James Reid (Tom Wilkinson) passes away early in the film from a deadly bee sting (thank goodness for the great Wilkinson), leaving his empire to his party animal idler son Britt Reid (Seth Rogen). Kato (Jay Chou), the manservant who makes Britt’s coffee and fixed his father’s cars, turns out to be a Swiss-army knife of talents, which includes martial arts, an expert inventor of souped-up weapon vehicles and he can twist the caps off of beers in a cool way. Britt offers no skills to match, besides being a egocentric spoiled brat, but that doesn’t stop him from coming up with a plan to be a superhero along with Kato to rid LA of its escalating crime. That crime is led crime lord Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz) who has a complex about his appearance which apparently fuels his crimes (in a bit that gets lame and old, as most everything does in this film). The film doesn’t try to hide how little Rogen’s Reid is qualified to take on this endeavor by having him get all his master plan ideas from his secretary Lenore Case because she has a minor in criminology. She is played by the wildly out of place Cameron Diaz.

At the helm of this snooze fest is the alternatively gifted Michel Gondry. The person who was responsible for one of the more wonderful and original films of the last 20 years- “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ”- is amazingly bland and lost. Besides some stylistic touches to Jay Chou’s fight sequences and an inventive car chase at the very end that earns a few bonus points, it feels as if Gondry has been stripped of his flare. Overwhelmed by a budget he’s unaccustomed to, the action falls flat. On top of that, his film falls into the sad pile of 3D why bother’s.

Back to the real problem. I am a Seth Rogen fan. You get him and his other Apatow compadres together and I’m there usually loving it. In “The Green Hornet” though, Rogen has only one acting style- annoying exuberance. His douchebag characterization of Britt remains a douchebag throughout the film and so Rogen gives us no reason why we shouldn’t cheer on Chudnofsky to off Britt asap.

As for Christoph Waltz’s Chudnofsky, this is exactly the kind of underwritten action villain role I prayed he wouldn’t take after his Oscar winning first-rate turn in Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds”. Don’t know how his agent is going about marketing him but the boy can act and let’s see him in parts where he’s allowed to. As for Taiwanese star Jay Chou, that boy can move his arms and legs in an exciting fury. As for Chou moving his lips to make believable use of the dialogue, it’s not so good. At the center of the film is Chou’s and Rogen’s nonexistent bromance that attempts Chan/Tucker ground but like everything else in “The Green Hornet” is a overwhelming flunk. “The Green Hornet” floats like a failure and stings like a dud.

This floats like a failure and stings like a dud.
Ephesians 4:15

The Green Hornet:
movieswithmitch.com/ Mitch Hansch

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3 Responses

  1. Andy Goodman

    Sounds like you’ve confirmed my pre-conceived opinion of this one, MItch.
    I’m not a Rogen fan so It’d have to be pretty darn good to convince me to sit through it. And there’s only ever going to be one Kato …
    … Bruce Lee, I mean, not Burt Kwock (although he did have his moments).

    Reply
  2. David Brook

    It’s a real shame to see Gondry directing trash like this. Let’s hope he goes back to his indie roots for his next film.

    I’ve given up caring about super hero films these days, we need a new breed of blockbusters. Hopefully the success of Inception will bring a few more interesting concepts out of the Hollywood vaults. They’ll probably just balls it up as usual, but it’d still be nice to see something new out there. These super hero movies are too cookie-cutter for my liking.

    Reply
  3. Mitch Hansch

    Hope you’re right David. Maybe Hollywood will take the cue from Nolan and start making smarter more engaging fare and the audience will get it.

    Reply

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