Review: The Green Hornet (2011)

Michel Gondry’s The Green Hornet is a mess. When it was first announced that Seth Rogen would play Britt Reid, the playboy newspaper mogul who creates the alter ego of the Green Hornet in order to fight crime, I took the news with cautious optimism, hoping Rogen could reinvent himself as a comic hero. In retrospect, that optimism was unfounded. Instead of a bold new vision for the superhero, we are given an incoherent action comedy that stumbles from one action or joke sequence to the next. While the occasional Gondry flourish is noticeable (his Kato-vision is a particular highlight) and Christoph Waltz is amusing as the insecure villain Chudnofsky, most scenes are home to mildly amusing humour and uninspired fight sequences. The movie's performances are unfocused. Rogen is unconvincing as the titular hero and although Jay Chou gives it his best as the sidekick hero Kato, he is a far cry from the iconic Bruce Lee. One of the movie's biggest flaws is that it abounds with characters that seem completely out of place. Edward James Olmos as newspaper editor Axford and David Harbour as DA Scanlon are awkward and confused, and Cameron Diaz's Lenore Case is a waste of a potential love interest. It is characters like these (all played by good actors) that demonstrate the overall clumsiness of the script, a clumsiness that appears in Rogen and Evan Goldberg's other screenplay, Pineapple Express. However, while their clumsy tone may be appropriate for a stoner comedy (although that film was hardly successful), it is not appropriate for the world of the Green Hornet. Thus, it is clear that Seth Rogen was the wrong choice to star in and write a movie about this classic hero.

While attempting to be an ironic subversion of the superhero genre, The Green Hornet ends up being nothing more than a derivative vehicle for Seth Rogen’s rambling comic persona.

4 out of 10

The Green Hornet (2011)

Directed by Michel Gondry; written by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg; starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, and Christoph Waltz.