“The Green Hornet” Movie Review

     I like Seth Rogen, I really do.  He was a novelty when we all got to know him for the first time in the “40 Year Old Virgin.”  He came into his own as the head liner in “Knocked Up”.  He even showed a dark side in “Observe and Report.”  His latest venture; however is an absolute mess of a film and as the lead and co-writer, he is clearly to blame.  Whereas I was hoping 2011 would start off on a positive note with Rogen’s “The Green Hornet”, I was clearly mistaken as this film falls flat early and never recovers.

     The film is preposterous for sure, but I would’ve expected that.  At least give us characters to root for, a villain to root against, and take advantage of today’s technology with some cool visuals.  The Green Hornet fails on all accounts.  The action sequences are lame and worn out.  The dialogue is boring, and so is the story.  Such a shame too.  In addition to Rogen, the film features such talents as Cameron Diaz, Edward James Olmos, and Christoph Waltz, all of which are completely wasted.  Perhaps the most annoying aspect of the film is Rogen himself, who for some reason literally yells and barks ALL of his dialogue.

     For those interested, the story follows Britt Reid (Rogen) who is your typical and cliched spoiled rotten brat of a rich father.  He spends his days sleeping and his nights drinking and partying and is basically a loser.  When his father meets an untimely demise, Britt inherits his father’s newspaper and soon begins running the company.  For whatever reason, Britt has the bright idea of teaming up with his father’s mechanic, Kato (Jay Chou), and becoming masked crime fighters!  This, of course, leads to numerous action sequences designed to show off their cool gadgets Kato supposedly is building for them.  As I was watching, I could not help but to compare these scenes to the “Steven Seagal: Lawman” TV show.  Why you ask?  In Seagal’s show, he’s riding along with real life cops and when he spots a bad guy, he employs some kind of “Seagal Vision” and realizes the suspect has a weapon before the real cop does.  He then tells his partner to turn around, thats the bad guy!  Kato has this same vision, as he is able to spot the movements of multiple attackers before they attack and react before they do. Ok, fine I get it.  He’s a martial arts expert.  Where they lose me is when Rogen’s character develops the same ability late in the film. Really? Give me a break.

     Remember the evil Jew Hunter in “Inglorious Basterds” played by Chistoph Waltz? I suppose now that he has Oscar gold for that role he’s being offered every villain role in Hollywood.  Apparently, he chose the wrong part.  Here he is reduced to a bad guy who is more concerned with his bad guy looks than actions.  He spends countless scenes debating with would be victims about the suits he is wearing, the kind of guns he is carrying, and of all things, the proper pronunciation of his name, “Chudnofsky.” Who cares?!  At no time does he have anything remotely clever or interesting to say, nor is he the menace the protagonists make him out to be.  It is shocking to me he would agree to appear in a film like this after reading the script.

     As the film chugs along (its definitely a clock watcher) at an unbelievable hour and forty eight minutes, I sat there thinking what could have been.  Kevin Smith was originally attached to this project and I think the script suffers without the punch he normally delivers.  This is as bad a TV show adaptation as I’ve seen and yet many will be duped by the attractive marketing campaign employed by the studio.  Don’t fall for it.  Its two hours of your life you will never get back. Steven Seagal might be on to something though. GRADE: F