The Green Hornet is directed by Michel Gondry, but this movie feels more like a Seth Rogen stand-up comedy session. The introduction to this superhero is very rushed and doesn’t make you want to like him. But I guess that’s what Seth Rogen and team are trying to do, because this is not your typical superhero movie. At this point of time, deconstructing the superhero genre and moving away from clichés have already become a cliché in itself. The Green Hornet is not as special or smart as it thinks it is.
Jay Chou is the only thing worth seeing in the entire film. Chou plays the Green Hornet’s sidekick Kato, who is a car mechanic cum kung fu expert. Chou’s English is not great, but his appearance here is nonetheless entertaining. Kato has a superpower of slowing down time so that he can analyse his enemies like some kind of robot. He has some cool fight scenes where he battles thugs in slow motion, but the thrill runs dry very quick.
There are many action scenes in this film, but they were all too generic and unexciting. Some of the action sequences, especially a certain car chase, were too messy and dark for me to make out what was going on. The film tries to be funny with its over-the-top violence, but the jokes were way too sadistic to be funny or even watchable. Cameron Diaz appears as the love interest and her character serves no good purpose other than to have a female in the movie.
Seth Rogen plays The Green Hornet himself, and he does his thing where he spits out funny lines and more funny lines (and even more funny lines). I chuckled maybe once or twice in the entire film, but I couldn’t force myself to laugh for the most part. There is a strong Iron Man vibe going on, with Rogen’s character having all the money he needs to build whatever gadgets he wants for his crime fighting efforts. Sadly, the story here is nowhere as engaging as Iron Man.
The Green Hornet also seems to be borrowing a lot from Kick-Ass, especially regarding the villain, played by Christoph Waltz. This villain isn’t interesting at all, and Waltz’s talent is totally wasted. Watching The Green Hornet only made me better appreciate what Kick-Ass was doing with its offbeat superhero action.
Other than Jay Chou speaking English, there is nothing special about The Green Hornet. The film does not work well as a superhero movie, much less a comedy. If you are somehow a fan of the Green Hornet Radio show, TV show, comic books, or anything that this 2011 version is based on, you will not like this film. If you love Jay Chou, you are going to see this anyway. Otherwise, don’t waste your time.