Shortly before I left to go screen it, I wrote a preview of “The Green Hornet.” I said two key items in that story: that it would be great if Seth Rogen somehow pulled off the hero role, and if the movie began to tank, the supporting cast and director Michel Gondry could pull it out of the fire. Sometimes, I hate it when I’m proven to be right.
Let’s break this down a little.
Plot: Richie Rich kid Britt Reid’s (Seth Rogen) dad pays more attention to business than his son. Dad dies, leaving him his vast newspaper empire. Fed up wit the lack of hard crime reporting, he decides to go rogue and get vigilante up and down on Los Angeles’ criminal element. The city’s crime is being run by Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), a gangster who is not only trying to take over crime, but get back in touch with the times. Reid enlists the aid of Kato (Jay Shou), his dad’s mechanic who makes a sweet cappuccino, to design all the gadgets, and basically do all the fighting. And Reid hired Leonore Case (Cameron Diaz) as his personal secretary, and secret resource into the criminal mind.
Production: Michel Gondry may very well have shown us the future of bullet time fighting that he pioneered, as made famous by the Wachowski brothers in “The Matrix” trilogy. The cinematography was off the chain, as to be expected from Gondry. His style of cinematography includes messing with your frame of reference and drawing your eye to other parts of the screen by having multiple scenes occurring in real time. Seth Rogen as a writer is not bad at all. The plot was coherent, plausible and pretty interesting. The only problem is he totally should never have accepted the role of The Green Hornet.
Acting: Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz and Cameron Diaz saved this movie’s skin like champions. Seth Rogen was only good for partying hard like a geek and dropping S-bombs, and it very clearly showed. He was funny enough, but I couldn’t take him seriously when the time for that came. Jay Chou actually conveyed emotion while being hard. Cameron Diaz, who looks REALLY attractive in this movie for the first time since “There’s Something About Mary,” rolled the comedy along with jokes of her own, and basically did the same quality job as Gwyneth Paltrow does in the “Iron Man” franchise. Christoph Waltz has now played a deadly-serious villain, and now an insanely-hilarious — but still deadly — villain. Well done. It’s not easy coming up with a lethal comedic villain. Paul Giamatti got pretty close in “Shoot ‘Em Up,” but Waltz hits the mark for sure.
Final Analysis:: Despite the fact that Seth Rogen dropped the ball in a big way, everybody else stepped up in such fashion that the movie was not a waste. It entertained me, even getting me to laugh at several jokes that weren’t as smart as I’d prefer, but were still inherently funny on its face. I don’t think it’s worth $9, and the 3D certainly didn’t add too much, even though they delayed release for 3D conversion. It is, however, definitely worthwhile to see as a matinee. It’ll make you laugh, Cameron Diaz is easy on the eyes and Christoph Waltz, simply, is nuckin’ futs.
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