#20 / 365 – ‘The Green Hornet’ – 119 mins
Cinema Challenge #7 / 115
Playboy Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) becomes the new publisher of Los Angeles’ “The Daily Sentinel” after the sudden death of his father, James Reid (Tom Wilkinson). Britt’s party life is about to change when he and his driver and kung fu expert, Kato (Jay Chou), stop a robbery. With the help of Kato, Britt starts a new career of fighting crime as the masked superhero “The Green Hornet” and sets on bringing down LA cime boss Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz).
Firstly let’s get the positives (there aren’t many) out-of-the-way, in this stinging review. Director Michel Gondry gives us brief glimpses of his creative flair and offbeat visual style of working with the camera which was brilliantly evident in ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind‘ with a couple of stunning scenes, a speeded up single-shot tour scene of Reid’s many prized cars. He also creates an extremely creative sequence with split screens when there is a bounty put on the Green Hornets head, then there are various impressive scenes with super slow motion, where Kato visualizes how he will execute an attack before then actually doing it, but in the middle of all this everything else amazingly bland and lost.
Where the film really suffers though is in its script, penned by Seth Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg (‘Pineapple Express’) where all the way through it is child-like with no inventiveness whatsoever, which is fine to start with but then it becomes very tiresome all too quickly. The same can be said for the acting of Rogen where he seems to bringing the same one-dimensional characters to the screen all the time.
As he did in “Inglorious Basterds“, Waltz commands the screen with his charming menace and is equaled in the opening sequence when facing off against a brilliant James Franco, playing a cameo role of a semi-clueless drug lord, and I would argue the best scene of the film. Cameron Diaz plays Reid’s replacement secretary but seems sorely out-of-place and can only think the character was created after the script was written.
Everybody who knows me knows my slant on the pointless 3D technology that seems to be being used nearly every film in production, again here it’s no different with the patch-on job that as been employed (if you going to try to make it work, then at least have the decency to film it in 3D) which largely at times it appears redundant and out-of-place especially during the action sequences, where its sole purpose is to bring the film to life.
I believe ‘The Green Hornet‘ intentions in part were that it thought it could have been a light-hearted, post-modern superhero movie in the vein of ‘Kick-Ass‘ sadly it isn’t and fails miraculously on all fronts. Lets hope this is the worst of the years many superhero comic book adaptations on the horizon, because if it isn’t and the others are as uncharacteristic as this, then we are in for a truly unforgiving ride ahead.