The Green Hornet should’ve been a better film. With the combined talents of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry and the writing and acting strength of Seth Rogen, this superhero film ought to have been smarter and funnier than it is.
Starting out originally as an American radio series in the 30s, then a 60s TV show, The Green Hornet recounts the adventures of newspaper heir and masked crime-fighter Britt Reid, and his trusted sidekick Kato.
Rogen, the sclubby star of films like Knocked Up and Pineapple Express is an interesting choice to play a superhero, but the film itself can’t seem to decide if it wants to parody the genre or celebrate it. Asian star Jay Chou takes the part of Kato, a martial arts genius and tech-wizard who worked for Britt’s dad, and who becomes Britt’s unlikely comrade in his vigilante adventures. Both men compete for the attentions of Britt’s research assistant Lenore Case (played by Cameron Diaz), and in one of the film’s funnier scenes Britt makes a rude reference to her age. "You’re kinda twilight…" he says, and when she thinks he’s talking about the vampire movie, he corrects himself: "Well no, then kinda Cocoon."
Sadly there aren’t enough smart jokes like these to go around.
Christoph Waltz, who won an Oscar playing a steely Nazi in last year’s Inglourious Basterds is grossly underutilized as the film’s villain, LA crime lord Chudnofsky, who does little else but stand around and tell everyone how scary he is.
With Gondry in the director’s seat, The Green Hornet does come with a few inventive action scenes like Kato’s slo-mo, speed-shifting approach to fighting or the Kato-vision sequences. The climax in Britt’s newspaper office is also pretty good fun, but Gondry’s best contribution to the film is a fantastic animated montage of comic-book style action in the end.
The film on the whole is only marginally engaging, and 3D serves little purpose when you look back. I’m going with two out of five for The Green Hornet. Watch it if you must.

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