Movie Review: The Green Hornet – Starring Seth Rogen & Jay Chou

The Green HornetMovie: The Green Hornet (PG-13)
Released: January 14th, 2011
Runtime: 1 hr. 48 min.
Ticket Price: $6.00 Early Matinee
Refreshments: None
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz & Christoph Waltz
Director: Michel Gondry

Rating: Check it Out When it Hits the Likes of HBO or Showtime

Synopsis: The son of a well respected media tycoon seems perfectly content to fritter his life away with parties and the like until his father dies. He is left in charge of the media empire his father had built. He then befriends one of his father’s employees and finds out a few things about his father he didn’t know. Deciding he wants to do something meaningful with his life, the two strike out in costume to fight crime by becoming criminals themselves. He uses his newspaper to promote his alter ego.

Review: The Green Hornet is a mess of a movie. The first act is mostly forgivable. At some point in the second act I, briefly, found myself actually enjoying it a little bit. But, then the third act is so over the top stupid that any positive feelings quickly flew out the window and crashed all over the street below.

The Green Hornet has been around since 1936 when it debuted on radio. Since, the story has been told in comic books and film serials in the 1940s, a short lived TV series in 1966 that starred Van Williams and Bruce Lee, and various other incarnations since. So, in this era of comic book hero type movies, it was ripe for the picking.

Unfortunately, Rogen and his writing partner, Evan Goldberg, were not the right pair to do the picking. Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of their previous screenplays (The Pineapple Express, Superbad), but their comedic take just doesn’t work at all here.

Rogen plays Britt Reid as a slacker party boy with no ambition. Just once I’d like to see him attempt something else, as even a spectacular failure trying to do so would be preferable to this one-dimensional character he always seems to play.

Diaz is perfectly fine here, as a temp sent to be Britt’s secretary at the newspaper. Apparently, his father’s secretary was unceremoniously fired after his death or just so overcome by grief that they couldn’t work there anymore. At any rate, Britt hires her cause she just happens to be well versed in criminology as well as journalism. Two things he just happens to need to know more about to make his new day and night gigs work.

Waltz, who was memorably evil in Inglorious Basterds, is wasted here as a crime boss caricature. Goldberg and Rogen seemed to be going for funny with his character, but instead he comes off silly.

Chou as Kato is good. He shows screen presence, comic timing and can kick some ass. But, it’s just too bad that most of his fight sequences are ruined by lame camera tricks. You shouldn’t feel like you’ve been transported into The Matrix, when the story is supposed to be grounded in the real world.

Ultimately, this is The Green Hornet’s biggest problem. These guys aren’t “super” heroes. They’re just a couple of guys out playing vigilante with some cool costumes, nifty gadgets and a sweet ride. So, when the last act goes so off the rails with its stunts and final showdown, it becomes so unbelievably inane that it’s actually boring.

Buzz on by The Green Hornet, so you won’t feel the same sting in the wallet area that I did.

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Jason of New Movie Friday
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