With The Green Hornet debuting on DVD yesterday, I found it only fitting to talk about this film and why it just may be a perfect example of a film that has its sights set on greatness but clearly misses the mark. Tossed around in Hollywood like a rag doll the script eventually landed on the doorstep of funny man Seth Rogen who took the script under his wing and set out to make it his masterpiece. The problem is, Rogen may have what it takes to push the film forward but doesn’t have the writing chops to make a film interesting enough for his comedic efforts to carry.
Rogen plays the playboy heiress of a newspaperman who has never had to work a day in his life. His spoiled life of luxury leaves him with a lack of respect for every one, everything and hating authority figures- especially his father. Upon his father’s untimely passing, the young debonair decides to team up with his father’s personal servant, Kato, to fight crime and rid the city of evil. At first glance this seems like the perfect gimmick for him to have fun and play superhero but what he begins to unravel is a mystery that leads back to some of the city’s most shadiest corners of the crime syndicate.
I’m not going to lie when I say that I found a lot of enjoyment in The Green Hornet. I found myself chuckling at Rogen’s continued comedic attempts that kept the film light hearted and a great escapist film. Rogen really hams it up on screen, and is not really pushing any boundaries but instead is just playing “rich Seth Rogen” as a super hero. On some level that works and keeps you entertained. You can tell Rogen had his hand in the script as all the best lines are written with him in mind.
The Minnesota Vikings fan in me also found great joy in the villain killing off everyone wearing green in order to find the green hornet. This may have meant the death of a few Green Bay Packer fans; and much to my great joy there may have been a few offed Packer fans as a subtle joke in the film. Something about that makes me smile. Sorry The Mike! I guess if you can’t convert them like Favre, let Bloodnofsky take care of them for you.
Where I had the greatest amount of trouble with this film is it was just plain lazy film making. The story relied on a build up of Rogen announcing that The Green Hornet was going to “ACT” like a villain to get closer to them, but instead BE a hero. Other than being said as a plot device, this never comes into play. He cold have saved us all a lot of time and not tried to develop this plot point. If he was trying he failed miserably. The film builds off a father/son anger issue that leads to a eventual lack luster throw away ending that feels horribly contrived and unresolved. It was if the film didn’t know how to end.
Christoph Waltz comes off of winning and academy award to play the villain in this film and somehow finds himself in a film playing a character that is so over the top, and so silly that he is a bore to watch. His character really isn’t even comical, he’s under developed, over shadowed and not given enough screen time to really feel like a threat. Alongside him in the underused actor category is Cameron Diaz who is there I guess to be a female character in the film and really serves no purpose. You can try and say she loosely directs the Hornet’s next move, but it seemed all to contrived to really get a botox boosted, blonde bombshell some screen time in hopes to drive up ticket sales.
But perhaps the most underused person in the movie was Jay Chou, who takes on the role as Rogen’s sidekick, Kato. A man of few words, Kato really takes second fiddle to Rogen’s constant stream of self indulgent rants and self amusements. On screen they had very little chemistry and their bits just felt a bit off beat. Kato however proves to be the highlight of the film, as they try to show you with some of his high octane action and use of “Kato vision” during fight sequences. Though underused, Kato vision was a breath of fresh air to the film as it gave you kind of a red eyed glimpse into Kato’s battle plans before he stormed into hand to hand combat with his enemies. It was like a slo-mo pre-planning to a Jackie Chan film and was used effectively on a few occasions in the film.
When it was all said and done, The Green Hornet had its moments of comedy and it had its moments of action. It was fun in tiny doses. However when it gets right down to brass tacks, there was nothing here. This is a perfect example of a funny man (Seth Rogen) getting a script, getting high and writing a plot hole filled rough draft on a cock tail napkin and filling it in with a bunch of jokes. There was something about this film that just felt like Rogen and friends felt like they were making “the funniest film on the planet” at the time, but once the bong smoke cleared and the script was written no one asked for a second opinion before jumping headfirst into production.