The Green Hornet

I went to see the latest Superhero film “The Green Hornet” the other night and I hate to say it but I came out disappointed.  All in all the film felt a bit of a mess.  A series of scenes that didn’t quite hang together, but sadly showing the signs of what could’ve taken this film and made it great though this greatness never materialised.

Telling the story of Britt Read who decides to go and fight crime with the assistance of his fathers mechanic the film is based on an intentionally light-hearted comedy series – and that’s one of my problems with the film for the majority of the film I found it more annoying than funny and even when I found it funny it never raised more than a chuckle.  Then there were the bits that came off as funny and I’m not sure if they were supposed too – like the Russian crime boss who seemed to spend more time worrying about if he was scary than actually running crime.  This character was really effective when he wanted to be, but the majority of the time came off as more strange and annoying.

I feel really sorry for Michel Gondry (who directed the film) and Jay Chou (who plays the mechanic/sidekick character Kato).  From what I’ve seen of Gondrys work he’s a really talented director (see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for example) who can really create some interesting and different visuals (another example the Flight of the Conchords episode Unnatural Love) and you can see where he’s obviously tried to bring some of his style to this it just doesn’t feel natural within the material (with a couple of exceptions within the fight sequences).   The same for Jay Chou who is supposed to be quite a big star in his native China, he just seems to be a bit lost in this – almost called in because he can fight well but it just doesn’t work when you get him up against Seth Rogen imitating Seth Rogen style behaviour.

Seth Rogen is possibly one of the biggest problems with the film for me – he’s got a writers credit on the film which to me shows he’s put some thought into this but his character just doesn’t come through as an interesting or a developed character – there is some attempt at changing the character, at him seeing the error in his ways, but then he’s immediately behaving back in the same way – it almost feels a caricature rather than a character that is being played.

Of the remaining big names in the cast Cameron Diaz appears to pop-up for no apparent reason at various points – she seems to be there more for exposition rather than anything which once again just seems like lazy writing.  You also get the great Tom Wilkinson and Edward James Olmos appearing in small roles – where they do appear to try and provide some weight to their characters.

So all in all some good design ideas – especially with Kato time (he can move faster than normal humans when his heart gets pounding and when this occurs its one of the highlights of the film) but ultimately the film is a bit of a let down – I spent most of run time feeling disconnected from the characters and the events – and just seems to come across as a incoherent mess – in a way showing how lucky we are with other really stylistic created action films for example Scot Pilgrim.

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