THE GREEN HORNET - Lots of Buzz, No Sting
THE GREEN HORNET (action thriller)
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, Christoph Waltz, David Harbour and Edward James Olmos
Director: Michael Gondry
Screenplay: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, based on the radio series by George W. Trendle
Time: 108 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: After such a long time in the 'development' stage, when top names like George Clooney, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Smith, and even Stephen Chow had been brandished about as actor and/or director of this project, it must have been quite a relief when The Green Hornet finally gets on to the screen. The Green Hornet is based on a 1930s radio show, comic books and films. However, its main inspiration here is the 1960s TV series in which Bruce Lee played Kato.
We do not expect this masked hero caper to be in the same class as The Dark Knight, but we don't expect it to be so derivative and ludicrous. There are some bright moments, but the script by Seth Rogen rarely shines for long.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT: When his newspaper magnate father (Tom Wilkinson) dies suddenly, Britt Reid (Rogen) inherits his vast empire and seeks something to do with his life. He befriends his father's mechanic Kato (Jay Chou), sharing a love for charged-up cars. When Britt and Kato accidentally foil a crime while taking a car out for a test ride, they decide to become superheroes, with custom-fitted masks and hats.
Meanwhile, vicious crime boss Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz) is consolidating his hold on the city by eliminating his opposition and the crime-fighting duo are in his way.
HITS & MISSES: Like I said earlier, this one looks derivative. The amateur superhero plot looks a lot like Kick-Ass but it lacks the latter's satirical fun and humour. Also, the rich-guy-with-hot-personal-assistant subplot (with Cameron Diaz as the eye-candy), has been done so much better in Iron Man. Still, I believe that Rogen is rather lame in the title role. He has slimmed down a bit for the part but he is bland and gets easily upstaged by Chou as Kato.
Indeed, Chou seems to be the hero here. He gets to do the cool stuff that impresses the audience - and his dialogue lines rarely go more than seven words. Even Oscar-winner Waltz is a letdown, going over-the-top with his villain role. Diaz, is largely wasted in a movie that seems to have no room for women.
Action-wise, there is nothing to shout about either, and it would be a waste of money to catch this one in 3D.
THE LOWDOWN: There's a lot of buzz but no sting.