Film: The Green Hornet ***
Release Date: Out now
Director: Michel Gondry.
Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz, Tom Wilkinson.
Reviewer: Adam Wing
This big screen adaptation of the popular radio serial, comic book, film and television series stars Seth Rogen (Knocked Up) as The Green Hornet, with Jay Chou (The Treasure Hunter) filling the shoes of Bruce Lee in the role of Kato. Joining them for the ride are Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz and Tom Wilkinson, in a new action comedy directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).
After his father perishes under suspicious circumstances, hard partying playboy Britt Reid (Rogen) takes to a life of crime-fighting vigilante justice, aided in his quest by head mechanic/coffee maker/fulltime sidekick Kato (Chou). Along the way they are joined by the beautiful secretary and token love interest Lenore Case (Diaz) and an assortment of prize villainy, including the scene stealing – never let him play a good guy – Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds).
It sure took its time in getting here - both Kevin Smith and Stephen Chow were at one time linked to the project - but The Green Hornet remains an entertaining slice of hokum that deserves a second chance on DVD and Blu-ray. It doesn’t exactly break new ground, Seth Rogen provides his usual Seth Rogen shtick (albeit 30 pounds lighter), Cameron Diaz is called upon to look pretty, the token love triangle, car chases and obligatory life lessons are all in place, and Christoph Waltz successfully steals every scene he’s in.
The success and failure of the big screen version, much like the original TV series, rests on the conviction of crime-fighting sidekick Kato, and thankfully, Chou just about nails it. His use of the English language might be limited, but Chou provides the movie with heart, charisma and comedy timing – the ability to look good kicking ass doesn’t hurt much either. Despite the films willingness to conform, occasional flourishes provide enough sting to make a lasting impression.
The Green Hornet lacks that killer blow then - which is unfortunate considering the wasted potential of pairing Rogen and Gondry - but no one ever said it would be easy being green.