Monday, 17 January 2011

REVIEW: The Green Hornet

Cool guys don't pay attention to explosions.

The Green Hornet is a mess. A mesh of ill-fitting ideas and styles, crippling inconsistencies and weak, predictable plotting. But what it did have is an infectious sense of goofy fun, that between the slacker energy of Rogen and the unique stylings of Gondry, make that sense of fun infectious and step by step you find yourself caring less and less about the things that are wrong with it, which is nigh on everything else. The scenes of ass-kicking somewhat pale in comparison to the scenes of hanging out and goofy misadventure though, and it succeeds much more as a comedy then a Superhero movie.

I get the sense though Rogen wanted to do something new with The Green Hornet, yet the only aspects that succeed are the familiar Rogen mainstays, the mismatched buddy pairing, the larger then life slacker persona shtick. The Green Hornet is sort of like a less hilarious Pineapple Express shoehorned into a superhero movie, with James Franco replaced by Jay Chou. Chou is taking a lot of shit for this film, and yes his mastery of the English language leaves much to be desired, but I felt he generally got the energy right, and I've seen pairings with less chemistry for sure. The two had a fairly unique vibe and Chou was at least capable of being funny. Fairing much worse are the supporting cast, from the hideously wasted Tom Wilkinson as Rogen's one-note cartoon of a father, to Cameron Diaz and Christophe Waltz. Diaz seems to be here because someone in the studio pointed how there was no gender with boobs at all in this movie, and thus her role is just forced in, serving no purpose except to wear tight clothing. But the use of Waltz is much more frustrating. Inglourious Basterds should be him about five years of villains in hollywood, and I feel he is good enough to give us a decent rogue's gallery. But this, well like Diaz the character serves no purpose, they just needed a villain on the poster. The character is two-dimensional and flat and Waltz just looks bored.

Much of the writing bothered me too, particularly for the more serious scenes where the dialogue was pretty risible. Wilkinson's dialogue was horrific, as was much of Waltz's. And outside of his own character, Rogen didn't seem to be able to write for anyone all that well. But the scenes between Rogen and Chou, and a couple of neat visual tricks by Gondry make this at least an enjoyable film, so if fails at everything else, it does entertain. A fun ride if you don't pay attention to where you're going. That's probably the nicest way to say it.

Rating: 6/10

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