“The Green Hornet” Barely Stings

Courtesy of Original Film

“The Green Hornet” tackles the difficult combination genres of action, superhero and comedy. However, with the box office success of recent action/comedy films “Kick-Ass” and “Iron Man 2,” great hope could be seen for “The Green Hornet.” Does the film measure up to 2010’s action/comedy sensations? Almost.

The film begins with the death of newspaper mogul James Reid, leaving his playboy slacker son Britt (Seth Rogen) to inherit the Los Angeles newspaper, The Daily Sentinel. Not long after his father’s death, Britt meets Kato (Jay Chou), a mechanical genius, skilled driver, martial artist and superb coffeemaker. During an act of vandalism, Britt and Kato thwart a group of muggers. Following their heroic success, they decide to become vigilante heroes, disguising themselves as villains in order to bring down the real criminals. However, as they continue to rid the drug trade plaguing Los Angeles, it attracts the attention of insecure Russian mobster Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz).

The pacing of the film feels hasty within the first 15 minutes. The back story provided in the beginning lasts only two minutes, hardly enough time to get a full understanding of Britt’s relationship with his insensitive father. Later in the movie, Britt tells this exact same story to Kato. The film should have provided a different and detailed back story to display James Reid’s callousness. However, the rest of the movie keeps at a good pace, keeping the viewer’s attention.

The comedy of this film is brilliant, which is not surprising, considering the writers of “Superbad” developed the script. Some of the best moments are between Seth Rogen and Jay Chou, who play well off each other. Rogen plays a jocular slacker, which wonderfully contrasts with Chou’s serious, yet naïve, role of Kato. Not only do they partner well together as a team, they are not afraid to jest at one another, leaving the movie with plenty of humorous quips.

The choice of actors for the main roles surprised audiences. Rogen, a comedian, stars as the titular superhero and Chou, a Taiwanese pop star, plays the Chinese-American fighter Kato. Chou had bigger shoes to fill, considering the original actor who played Kato in the 1960s television series “The Green Hornet” was the legendary Bruce Lee. Rogen plays his character as too much of a comedian and jerk than needed, occasionally making him appear insensitive. Chou’s acting was — for a lack of a better word — satisfactory, but nothing noteworthy. However, Rogen and Chou’s great chemistry on set together overshadows their subpar acting skills.

Christoph Waltz, on the other hand, is amazing. Waltz naturally appeals to viewers, delivering each line with wit. Waltz’s character deserves more development and screen time than what he was given. Cameron Diaz, however, seems to falter with her character, secretary Lenore Case. The film tries to make her character seem important by making her intelligent, but Lenore obviously does not have much of a purpose except to be a love interest, and can be easily taken out of the story altogether.

The action seems sloppy. High hopes were raised for the fight scenes in this film since the popularity of “The Green Hornet” television series stemmed from Lee’s ability to take down any villain with his fighting skills. Instead, Kato’s fight scenes are shown from his point of view, using analysis that appears “Terminator”-like. His bionic fight scenes seem unrealistic and confusing, leaving the audience unsure whether Kato is a robot.

The explosions and car chases, however, were nicely constructed. One of the main points of the film is the technological car Black Beauty. The car contains many amazing gadgets, such as bullet-proof windows, a flame-thrower under the hood and machine guns in the trunk, and the film uses each one to its advantage.

“The Green Hornet” is a disorganized movie, but still fun. The good points counteract the flaws of the movie. Some of the scenes seem out of place, but the film still captivates the viewer’s attention. The humor can be a bit forced at times, but the interaction among the actors still comes across as comical. The fight sequences are choreographed in disarray, but the mechanisms of the action are still fascinating to watch. “The Green Hornet” is no “Kick-Ass” or “Iron Man,” but the movie is still an enjoyable watch.