THE GREEN HORNET Review

Everything about this film was strange from the first word we heard about it. The guys who wrote "Superbad" are going to write a superhero movie? Well, at least it will be different for the genre. That was all I could think. Sure, they were all odd choices, but it could be great, they were inventive, funny, nerdy guys who probably always aspired to make this kind of film but never in a million years believed they would have the opportunity. Seeing as they did, and despite mountains of doubt and delays their little superhero film has finally arrived and I'm sorry to say it doesn't pack nearly as much punch as it should.

First things first, it is important to note what Rogen and Goldberg are going for here. It isn't a straight up superhero/action flick via "Iron Man" or "X-Men", it is clearly more in the vein of say "Kick-Ass" but with less of a clear goal. It was as if they wanted to make that kind of film, but were unsure how to go about it. And so, it seems they resorted to what they knew best: buddy comedy, they simply added masks, a few fight scenes and stirred. This is what we have here, only under the supervision of Director Michel Gondry does this seem to offer any real originality or promise.

Gondry though, is not accustomed to big action film either, and though the pacing is awful (which is mostly the scripts fault) there are a few ideas here that make the film exciting and enjoyable. Rogen is a charming enough guy, but as with his writing, his acting is limited. Not until the final half hour or so do we see what could be a believable hero begin to emerge. Up until then we would not have been surprised had his Britt Reid wound up dead in one of his and Kato's many adventures. Kato, played now by Jay Chou is one of the few saviors of the film. Though his English is tough to decipher at times, the multi-talented Kato is the real reason for the title characters existence, and in that lies more conflict I wont even go into here. Yes, Reid is the financier, but he may as well just pay Kato to do his bidding, if anything Reid only mucks up things more as he tags along. Chou though is enticing to just the right degree, brilliant beyond belief, a master at martial arts and a mysterious backstory. He should be the true star of the film, just as his character should get top billing in the newspapers over the Hornet.

One of Gondry's little touches that make the film stand on its own and I wish it contained more of are the "Kato-vision" sequences. They are cleanly shot and choreographed and the visual of it pops off the screen even without the hindrance of the unnecessary 3-D conversion. If the film would have taken more steps like this, it may have fulfilled what I and no doubt many others could have seen this becoming. Instead we are stuck between a comedy and an action film. The film needs to commit and it just never does.

As far the story is concerned it is average crime lord and corruption involving Reid's father who owns a large newspaper and the criminally underused Christoph Waltz. In an opening sequence with a fun cameo by a former Rogen co-star we think we will be treated to an up to date villain much like Waltz played in his academy award winning role as Col. Hans Landa. Sadly, we only see him a few more times as the story options to make a DA more of a villain and more involved in the scandal the Green Hornet must clear. It is a plot line that wears thin too soon and wastes alot of good talent. Not only is Waltz cast aside, but Cameron Diaz shows up for a few scenes that she tries to breathe life into, but only end up demonstrating how much of a mess this film has really turned out to be. The same can be said for Tom Wilkinson and Edward James Olmos-where you think they may add credibly and prestige you instead receive campiness and parody is a way the makers didn't seem to intend at all.

I desperately wanted to like this, to believe in it and I wouldn't say don't go see it if you enjoy comic book or action films, it certainly has its moments, but it is nothing in comparison to what I feel this team of talent could have brought to the big screen and to the genre. I feel Mr. Rogen is hoping for a sequel but if the box office numbers provide them good enough reason, I hope they take the opportunity and improve upon this as much as I know they can. More sting, less forcing. Let it come naturally, simple as that.