Green Hornet, The (2011)
Release date: January 14, 2011
Director: Michel Gondry
Radio series by: George W. Trendle
Screenplay by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, Christoph Waltz, Edward James Olmos, David Harbour, James Franco, Edward Furlong
French director Michel Gondry is known for his visually off-beat concept music videos (Bjork, White Stripes, Beck, Daft Punk, etc.), so everyone was curious as to what he was doing with a project like The Green Hornet, starring famous easy-to-hate and not-so-funny guy Seth Rogen not only as an actor, but as writer and producer as well.
After pre-production and production issues — at one point the project had funny Hong Kong actor/director Stephen Chow at the helm and playing Kato, a role that eventually landed on Taiwanese idol Jay Chou — The Green Hornet finally saw the light of day, with the terrible January release.
After the death of his father (Wilkinson), Britt Reid (Rogen) meets Kato (Chou). The two bond over the fact that Mr. Reid, Sr. underestimated both of them throughout their time together. Eventually, it leads them to dress up as superheroes passing as bad guys to get to them…
Using his father’s journalistic empire, and the help of his new secretary Lenore (Diaz), they set out to make the Green Hornet some sort of urban legend, which leads to an internal power struggle between the bad guys, often led by the baddest of them all, non-flashy bad guy Chudnofsky (Waltz).
The Green Hornet is over the top, and it actually knows it. It’s a comedy-action on top of a cool superhero flick, and it plays a lot with the funny. Kudos to Seth Rogen, who actually knows what his limits are as an actor and lets us laugh at him. Every single time he tries something and gets it wrong, he is almost always one-upped by Jay Chou, who also plays on his limits as a mumbler — he is known for his mumbling Mandarin skills — and the English dialogue he had mixed with blurted Mandarin.
There’s also a funny cameo by James Franco trying to one-up Christoph Waltz’ Chudnofsky, who is playing an even more outrageous baddie this time around. Though he risks of being typecast as the wacky bad guys in all movies — even if it seems to be a wise economical move — Waltz plays Chudnofsky a lot funnier than usual.
Overall, the film is a lot more Seth Rogen than it is Michel Gondry- sadly, to the outcry of Gondry fans, who had been generally disappointed with The Green Hornet. However, if you really hate Rogen in all his other films, you’ll be happy to know that you’re allowed to hate him in this, and can feel good about it. I know I did!
But the 3D was worthless for pretty much the whole movie except for one or two scenes.