Devil’s DVD Disappointment: Green Hornet
Green Hornet, written by the titular character himself Seth Rogen and partner Evan Goldberg, tells the story of socialite Britt Reid and his friend Kato, and their secret war on crime. After a drunken encounter with a group of muggers, the liquid courage quickly becomes something resembling real courage, and the Green Hornet is born.
The Superbad scribes manage to take the superhero genre and subvert many of the staples viewers have come to expect. The frequently seen uneasy partnership, extended learning curve, and barely won battles are present, but played more for comedic effect than to show the heroes journey. As with other Rogen/Goldberg collaborations, the comedy is solid, but it does detract from the story and action pretty regularly throughout the picture.
Edward James Olmos and Cameron Diaz provide back up for the film’s heroes, while Christoph Waltz serves as the menace pulling the unlawful strings. Diaz is nothing more than scenery, while Waltz essentially plays a toned down version of Col. Hans Landa, the role that won him the Best Supporting Actor award last year. The one actor I wanted more of, and find myself saying so anytime he is cast in a film, is Tom Wilkinson. Any time Wilkinson is on screen he commands my complete attention, so it was disappointing that he was barely in the film. Of course, the entire supporting cast was short changed in favor of seeing more of Rogen and his shtick.
Michel Gondry, master of the surreal, was tapped to direct the film in hopes that he would create a unique look for it. Instead we see familiar looking action, backed up with several scrolling montage scenes. Gondry, having gotten his start as a music video director, appears to have gone back to his roots with a hyperkinetic, martial arts, music video. And not in a good way.
There is action strategically placed all throughout the film, but it isn’t all fully realized. As mentioned, there are a number of action montages and quick cut scenes, but not many outright action moments. The bulk of the action is backloaded, crammed into the last 20 minutes of the film. Not only is it last minute, but it is also so ridiculous, that you start to question if the story takes place in the real world or not.
If you’re looking for groundbreaking comic book/film fusion you will not find it here. A movie that gets that part right is 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, with its melding of the comic book panel and CGI effects. If you’re looking for a film that subverts the genre, 2010’s Kick-Ass is a selection that manages a healthy balance of the comedic and the consequential.