The long delayed superhero movie The Green Hornet is now in theaters with the most unlikeliest of stars behind the mask, funnyman Seth Rogen. Surprisingly, the combination of Rogen, who also co-wrote the film, and non-action director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) pays off more often than not.
In The Green Hornet, a slimmed down Rogen plays Britt Reid, the wild, reckless son of a millionaire media mogul. After his father dies, Britt discovers a new purpose in life by recruiting handyman Kato to be his crime-fighting sidekick. In their efforts to become famous, they cross paths with the ruthless but insecure crime boss Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz).
The project, after years of passing from studio to studio, writer to writer and director to director, threw a curveball at otherwise excited fans when Seth Rogen was announced to be the main hero. Rogen, not exactly having the hero's stature or physique, is definitely one of the riskiest moves in recent memory.
Thankfully, Rogen pulls off the character more often than not and delivers an entertaining, at times funny, at other times exciting action movie that never takes itself too seriously but thankfully avoids outright campiness.
The Green Hornet is an action-comedy, but one that takes its action seriously. Gondry does an effective job of giving the audience what it wants. The action sequences aren't perfect, nor is the movie, but they are entertaining and a step above what was expected.
Rogen is okay in the lead. His character is at times overly obnoxious and a bit of a dick, to the point where you'd rather only see Kato (Jay Chou) going around kicking ass. Rogen is by far the weakest part of the movie, and yet his character is developed enough that should there be a sequel, I would buy into it.
Chou is excellent as his "sidekick."
Christoph Waltz is great as the villain, though he's countered by Cameron Diaz who is given a completely useless role.
The Green Hornet is best served as a movie intended to be entertaining, not necessarily "good." It's inconsistent, primarily because Gondry dwells too long on some dialogue-driven scenes between Rogen and Chou that become tedious over time. The entire production could have been tightened significantly to speed the plot along and avoid some of the tedious sparring between the two leads.
Still, it is funny enough and action-packed enough to be worth it.
The Green Hornet has a fair amount of flaws, but cherishes in them, too. Had the movie dropped some of the pointless drama between the two leads, the Cameron Diaz character and tightened up the story, it would have been a blast. As is, it's still a surprisingly worthy action-comedy that has franchise-making potential.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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