By Joseph Burge
The Green Hornet is a character that many remember and few actually know. Since his beginning on the radio by creator George W. Trendle, fans have been riding along with him and his accomplice Kato as they try to fight crime in their own way. As a movie, The Green Hornet’s story could have found success.
But his success obviously didn’t lie in the hands of writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Instead, we have a story with all the pizzazz and little substance.
After his father’s death, Britt Reid (Rogen) takes over his father’s newspaper. Reid soon decides, however, that along with his father’s mechanic Kato (Jay Chou), his time is better spent fighting crime. His choice is not really clear, nor is his motivation to “make a difference” genuine. So, he dons the persona, The Green Hornet, and along with Kato’s genius inventions, becomes a masked hero who pretends to be on the side of criminals, while really being a hero.
There is almost no discernable relationship between anyone on screen. Even Rogen and Chou, whose characters are supposed to be like brothers, barely seem to bond. No relationship in this movie feels real, and it leaves you with a bitter chill of character development that might have been.
Rogen’s acting seems one-sided and hokey. In most cases, his acting only stands to throw off his co-stars. He simply doesn’t fit the part, unlike Christoph Waltz, who plays the main villain Chudnofsky. Waltz, who is recognized for his bone-chilling acting in “Inglourious Basterds,” doesn’t fail to deliver here either. His acting is both humorous and fitting — a rare find. Chou, too, proves skillful: he perfectly embodies the sly, quiet-but-deadly feel of Kato.
The writing of Rogen and Evans seems to have left out a key element for some of the film’s characters — roles, or major ones anyway. Cameron Diaz’s portrayal of Lenore Case might have been wonderful, but the audience doesn’t see her enough to make a judgment.
Although the writing and acting seem off, the music and style are spot on. The music fits the mood wonderfully. The actions sequences are done quite well. It seems director Michael Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) really did some wonderful things here. In particular, the fight scenes involving Chou look effortless and clean, often lending to a realism that seeps through to the viewer.
Kato’s mind-eye creates a feeling that takes the viewer along with it. The way he sees the weapons and enemies really lets the viewer flow with him. The special effects and scenery really fit tone, even if the people in them seem very out of place at times. Viewers really feel like they are living in this movie, even if it’s only until someone opens his or her mouth.
But, be warned: The 3D effects do nothing to add depth or realism to the picture. It is a phony approach to cover up some really big drawbacks.
Overall, this movie brings home a barely above average feel to it. The visuals and music are great, as well as the technology that the characters use. However, bad acting and little to no relationship development seems to drag down an already bare script.
Even if the film lands on some good jokes, it leaves so much to be wanted on so many other levels. It ends up being outshone by so many other hero movies, and even worse, goes down in history as one of the most uncomfortable. It is worth watching, but only the first time, and certainly not in theaters. “The Green Hornet” buzzes it’s way into a 3 out of 5.