Marvel have had another rummage in the superhero store and found another character at the very bottom bottom of the barrel.
The Green Hornet, Britt (Seth Rogan) is the bored playboy son of rich newspaper owner, James Reid (Tom Wilkinson). With no discernible talent for anything other than living the high life, drinking, womanizing and enjoying well made cappuccino’s from his fathers car mechanic, Kato (Asian singing star, Jay Chou).
When his father mysteriously dies, Britt decides to fire all the staff apart from his Cappuccino making buddy. Deciding that doing nothing is kinda, like boring. Britt decides he will do something, dress up in an outfit and fight crime or, on more than one occasion, the local police.
What follows is a kind of bromance between the two characters, throwing in Lenore Case as a new assistant (Cameron Diaz) to provide a vague love interest, although neither character has any chemistry with her despite the ructions she supposedly causes.
The Green Hornet like Britt, has no skills other than a very competent martial arts side kick, a questionably cool car (Black Beauty) with lots of retro gadgets and of course, as all superhero’s do, a limitless budget.
The action sequences are weak and seem to involve clashing with the local police followed by high fives celebrating saving the local populace from crime, which appears to be somewhat of a contradiction. Supposedly this is a ruse, cleverly playing baddies they get can get close to the real criminals to discover the truth, how many people are merely “collateral damage” in this fiendish plan, is rather unclear. The truth they are working so hard to uncover is whether the paper went “soft on crime” and the reasons for doing so, which as MacGuffins go, is not that exciting.
This is one of several recent movies where businesses have been built up and solidly run and then passed to bored, indifferent talentless offspring with no interest in doing any work other than enjoying the fruits of their parents labour, an interesting trend.
Of course the amateur crime-buster’s will eventually get the attention of more serious criminals, in this case Benjamin Chudnofsky (Oscar winning Christopher Waltz). In a role, not a stretch from his previous most famous part in “Inglorious Basterd’s“, he plays a cold and calculating villain, offing his own minions as fast as his non paying customers. Waltz is wasted here, looking very exposed and with some truly dreadful dialogue, his transformation when deciding to adopt his own super villain persona, a case in point.
Adding a smidgen of depth, is DA Scalon (David Harbour) who may not be all he purports to be. Whether Britt’s father was a bad man, deserving of his son spontaneously decapitating his statue or not, is the film’s failed attempt at adding gravitas.
With a more capable lead this might have worked, but Rogan is just plain wrong. Shouting his appalling dialogue, remaining unfunny when he is attempting to be witty, he is not not dashing nor displays any charisma or acting ability, on the basis of this film. And yet, he clearly remains popular in “R” rated comedies and has writing credits to his name, so clearly he must be doing something audiences like to watch.
The film displays poor acting by all concerned, apart from Tom Wilkinson who yet again proves he can improve any film, however dire. Waltz needs a better agent and Diaz needs another certified hit some time soon to reaffirm solidify her star power again, she is great actress but again is not used effectively here.
The film did languish in development hell for some time with several director and lead changes, which does not always spell disaster for a movie but perhaps is not a good start.
A very muddled adaption of a relatively little known graphic cartoon superhero who should have remained so.
With some wildly implausible set pieces, notably the final sequence in a newspaper office building, adding nothing to the overall film.