The Green Hornet

The Green Hornet

I think someone learned the wrong lesson from the success of Iron Man. It’s either that or the movie studios need to implement drug testing before their pitch sessions.

“Hey, if Robert Downey, Jr. can be a comic book hero, what about that pudgy guy from the Judd Apatow movies?”

“Right… Here, fill this cup and give it to the nurse on your way out the door.”

It’s best not to think of The Green Hornet as a real comic book movie, but as a borderline “comedy” that somehow acquired the movie rights to the old radio show (presumably at gunpoint). That won’t actually make this movie “good,” per se, but it will at least keep expectations in line with reality and hold your disappointment to manageable levels.

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Britt Reid (Seth Rogan) is the apparently useless playboy son of the last independent newspaper publisher in Los Angeles (Tom Wilkinson). The spoiled brat has major daddy issues because daddy once yanked the head off of one of young Britt’s action figures (Jeez Louise, just get over it, junior).

Daddy dies from an allergic reaction to a bee sting and suddenly Britt is in charge of the old man’s media empire. Only then does Britt discover that the guy who made his coffee every morning is also his father’s genius mechanic, Kato (Jay Chou). The heir is so impressed with Kato’s coffee-making skills, he suggests that they join together in fighting crime. There might have been more to it than that, but that seemed to be the progression.

I'm a dinosaur - not in the scary way, in the extinct way.

Despite his technical skills, Kato is apparently dumb enough to say “yes” to his new boss’ hare-brained idea. Fortunately, Kato is not only a mechanical genius who can trick out dad’s old Lincoln into a crime fighter’s dream ride during his lunch break, but he’s also a kick-ass martial arts master. “Well,” as the Church Lady used to say, “isn’t that convenient?”

Cameron Diaz is also on hand as Britt’s secretary at the newspaper, but she doesn’t really have much to do but fend off her boss’ unwanted advances and look just like Cameron Diaz. That’s something, I guess.

The Green Hornet’s “nemesis” is a Russian mobster named Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), who’s insecure because people tell him he’s not “scary” enough to be a crime boss. Based on the evidence on screen, they might have a point. The film’s real problem, however, is that the “hero” kept reminding me he was being played by Seth Rogan. I can only hope that the actor got “Playing a comic-book hero” out of his system and crossed it off of his bucket list.

Britt Reid spends the entire movie being alternatively obnoxious and useless, and those two chords do not make for great rock’n’roll. The joke that Kato is the only one of the pair who actually has the chops to be a comic book hero gets old pretty quickly and sadly, this movie doesn’t have much else to offer.

Iron Man worked because underneath Tony Stark’s boozy playboy exterior there was a guy who was serious about putting things right. Underneath the outer spoiled brat, Brit Reid’s inner child is just an obnoxious twat who just thinks fighting crime is more fun than trashing another hotel room. I spent the last hour of this film hoping for one of Chudnovsky’s goons to get in a lucky head shot.

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