Most times, you know if a Seth Rogen film is a good idea because you either love him or hate him, but it’d be unfair to toss The Green Hornet out just because he stars in it… and co-wrote the script. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that this film came out of left field and was a hilarious, if a tad uneven, surprise.
Yes, Seth Rogen is obviously miscast as the titular character, even if his Britt Reid is a partying monstrosity of a son. His stone-faced father (Tom Wilkinson) happens to run one of the biggest newspapers in the country, dying suddenly of a bee sting and leaving him in charge of the entire operation. He partners with his dad’s mechanic Kato (Chou) and after a chance night of misadventure decides to become, well, the Green Hornet and Kato. Did I mention Kato is really good at developing a galaxy of incredibly effective armament and vehicles?
Michel Gondry directs, which this movie obviously doesn’t deserve, but ultimately needs. In the hands of any other modern action director, this film would’ve failed, and it’s Gondry’s quirkiness that really sells Rogen and Goldberg’s (Superbad) outlandish script. (It’s a shame he didn’t take it a few degrees weirder, but then I doubt they would’ve sold the film to anyone.) Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) plays the slightly-maniacal Chudofsky – who wields a double-barrel Desert Eagle – and is largely squandered as the film keeps him on the sideline, focusing instead on Reid’s escapades with Kato. All of this builds toward an over-the-top climax that had me rolling in my seat at its complete, balls-out absurdity. Also, Cameron Diaz.
The film dallies a bit too much with Kevin Smith-esque bromantic dialogue and its traditional story notes of in-fighting and redemption seem a bit trite, but if you can look past it you get a superhero film that cleverly re-purposes its subject rather than simply trace around its legend.