The Green Hornet

Written by on April 21st, 2011


The Green Hornet, the superdude, is kind of a dick. Which makes The Green Hornet, the movie, a bit of a drag. Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is a spoiled party boy who needs to man up when his coldhearted father (Tom Wilkinson), a newspaper publisher, dies suddenly. But he cares more about who’s going to make his coffee than running the paper, which leads him to Kato (Jay Chou), a “Swiss Army knife” of an assistant whose fighting skills and mechanical prowess were being wasted as he took care of Dad’s cars and made artful cappuccinos for his bratty son.

They decide to “go crazy” one night and end up witnessing a robbery; when they get involved and Kato KO’s the bad guys, Britt goes bonkers and convinces Kato that they should devote themselves to fighting crime. Thus, the Green Hornet is born.

After a zippy beginning loaded with humor (and featuring a stellar cameo by — who else? — James Franco) and relative excitement, Michel Gondry’s film (co-written by Rogen and Evan Goldberg) gets too wrapped up in the inevitable conflict. Which, in this case, is not so much with the bad guy (Christoph Waltz) but involves the good guys suddenly against each other — a repeated scenario that always feels forced and, in one looong fight sequence, completely unedited.

There’s perhaps one too many we’re-not-gay jokes, too, and then the yuks seem to be abandoned completely in favor of action, which is loaded with explosions, gunfire, and unfollowable chaos. (Particularly if you’re seeing this in 3D. Don’t see this in 3D.) Completing the devolution is the addition of another baddie whose inclusion serves to 1) confuse things and 2) make Britt see that maybe his father wasn’t a jerk after all.

So is The Green Hornet worthy of its dumping-ground January release? It’s a bit better than that. But will it become another superhero tentpole? Probably inevitable. But think more Fantastic Four than Iron Man.

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