As a superheroes go, Seth Rogen is far from the perfect fit. His face and figure are mediocre, and he sure as hell has much more of a potty mouth than the old-fashioned crime fighters ever did. This unlikelihood makes the premise of The Green Hornet so appealing. We are introduced to Rogen’s Britt Reid as a typical Seth Rogen character, though even more self-important and savage.
Resentful toward his father for leaving behind the burden of a media empire [Another Boston-based smash?—Ed.], Britt responds to his newly acquired power by teaming up with Kato (Jay Chou), his father’s coffeemaker/mechanic, to form a pair with heroic intentions. Kato offers his physical skill to the partnership, while Britt supplies the verbal wit, and a most unusual bromance ensues.
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz is Chudnofsky, the preposterous and incompetent villain. Although a little old to play a love interest, it was easier to buy into Lenore Case (Cameron “paycheck” Diaz) after Britt unabashedly suggests she’s past her prime. The lone input of wasted-talented director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) seems to be when he gives Kato the ability to detect weaponry during combat, which allows Gondry to then slow down the fight scenes.
The female sets our Green Hornet down a predictably destructive path as Kato continues to provide the rational and martial prowess. But Britt’s reliance on others is never fully resolved, just as the need for 3-D effects is never ever justified.
Like 2010’s Kick-Ass, The Green Hornet thrives when it humanizes the superhero, though the way Rogen plays the role, a better title might have been Captain Asshole.
THE GREEN HORNET
RATED | PG-13
OPENS | 1.14.11