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Sunday, June 26, 2011

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Kato (Jay Chou) and Britt (Seth Rogen) escape a crime scene in The Green Hornet.

2.5 Stars

When it was announced that Seth Rogen would be playing a superhero, I did a double take. The schlubby guy from Knocked Up donning tights and saving the world? That can’t be. We’ll, I didn’t know much about The Green Hornet at the time, but after seeing it, I have to say that the actor and the material were a good match. The Green Hornet is fun, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say Rogen gives a good performance, he fits in this world. It’s hard to see the role of Britt Reid being played by many other actors. I just wish the rest of the film made as much sense as the Rogen choice. Unfortunately, it’s a mess.

Britt Reid (Rogen) is a playboy who lives off his father’s (Tom Wilkinson) dollar and doesn’t give two shits about anything, including the family business—The Daily Sentinel newspaper. When his father dies, however, Britt is put in charge and finds himself in over his head. After being introduced to his father’s mechanic/coffee guy, Kato (Jay Chou), and his impressive array of gadgets/martial arts skills, he comes up with an idea: Become superheroes. Worried that such plans will get them into trouble, however, Britt decides it would be best if they pose as villains to get close to the bad guys and bring them down from the inside. Thus, The Green Hornet is born, and Britt uses the front page of his very own newspaper to spread the word on Los Angeles’ new masked vigilante.

The problem with the film is that it just doesn’t make any sense. Why does Britt want to save the city? Isn’t this the same guy that spent his entire life to this point getting drunk, sleeping around, and buying stuff he didn’t need? And not to get too far into the details of the plot, but what in the world is his plan once his Green Hornet character is finished? The latter half of the film attempts to explore this, but it too makes no sense, and Britt’s motivations always seem to change when the plot needs them to.

Christoph Waltz and especially Cameron Diaz are wasted in thankless roles as the villain and sexy secretary, respectively. Michel Gondry might be the biggest disappointment, however. A director as accomplished as he should have been able to make something more out of this. Even at its worst, the screenplay has some potential, but Gondry never really delivers like we expect him to. I guess the January release date made sense in this case. Despite promising something unique, The Green Hornet is just another slightly below average superhero flick.


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