Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz, Tom Wilkinson, Edward James Olmos
Director: Michel Gondry
Writer(s): Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Cinematography: John Schwartzman
Original Score: James Newton Howard
Running Time: 118 Mins.
The Green Hornet’s issues in finding its way to the silver screen have been oft reported over the last couple of years, though the one constant that has remained is the involvement of it’s star and co-writer Seth Rogen, clearly fancying himself a piece of the superhero pie Rogen has plucked one of the lesser know members of the genre (the original was best known for the involvement of Bruce Lee) to turn his Apatow-like comedy stylings too while throwing up some action flavoured set-pieces, oh, and theres a love interest that is as forgettable as can be in the form of Cameron Diaz.
The crux of The Green Hornet is that he is not actually super at all, simply put Britt Reid (Rogen) is an affable loser who decides to don a mask and fight crime (albeit while masquerading as a villain) with the help of his martial arts skilled partner Kato (Asian superstar Jay Chou in the Lee role) to take down the crime syndicate that is dragging the city into the gutter through his general bad guy antics, oh and said crime syndicate is headed up by a guy who has anger issues (Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds). Hmm you may be thinking this sounds familiar, and you’d be right…it is, think Kick-Ass but not with the same level of ingenuity or originality.
To this end it is likely The Green Hornet will never quite hit the heights it aims for, with too much similarity to a much better film and a weak plot-line that never escapes formula or surprises in any way, something of a surprise given it is helmed by king of quirk Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind). These are issues but only in the sense that it won’t stand the test of time, but many films don’t, what The Green Hornet does do however is entertain, something which is achievement enough after a rather messy inception and (now) underwhelming premise.
That it is a funny film helps no end, those expecting Superbad-style laughs will likely be left wanting but for gentle giggles look no further than the trailer which demonstrates misunderstandings between east and west (Rogen and Chou), Rogen and fellow writer Goldberg play on the bromance aspects for all they are worth, a tactic which works well and offers the interplay between the central duo some genuine warmth and laughs that aren’t forced but flow naturally. Not every joke hits home however, Waltz is short-changed in terms of scenes and laugh quota, we know the man can do menacing better than most but he needed something a little more challenging and is even denied a good demise…
Lest we forget this is an action-comedy, and the action itself manages to find some flair via the director, the only time in fact you would know Gondry ws nvolved at all, the Kato-vision sections are inspired and give a thrilling crash-bang edge to a film that floats a long a little too softly for the majority of its runtime never really being as ingenious as you would expect from Rogen or Gondry. I suspect in an effort to be as generically pleasing as possible the studio kept the creators on a short-leash, a great shame given the promise of a Rogen/Gondry superhero film.
The Green Hornet is not the folly many expected from Rogen, and nor is it a quirky superhero curiosity as expected from Gondry, all of which means it sits as a solid yet mediocre action-comedy, both of which elements it manages without too much fuss or surprise, this is a film that will entertain but no more and no less.