After watching The Green Hornet, I had one question answered, which simultaneously raised another question. The original question was why the movie wasn’t very good. Don’t get me wrong; it was entertaining in a “turn your brain off and prepare to be auditorily assaulted” kind of way, but that doesn’t change the fact that the premise of the movie relied on convincing the audience that Seth Rogen could pull off being an action star. The answer is that Seth Rogen and his Superbad/Pineapple Express friend, Evan Goldberg, wrote the screenplay. These guys might be able to write a decent comedy, but superhero/action flick is definitely outside their abilities. The new question raised from this information was: what color crayon did they use to write the script?
Another question that comes to mind is “Does Hollywood even ask audiences what they want in their movie-going experience?” I can’t believe the answer is anything but “what audience?” considering how they are doing everything they can to force 3D down our throats. Seriously, when is this 3D nonsense going to stop? The only film it worked for was Avatar and the rest of the time it’s a distraction at best. The reason they didn’t ask audiences is because it would have been awkward telling them they were going to have to pay three dollars for some cheap plastic and a headache. At one point during the film, I was so disinterested in what was on screen that I moved my glasses up and down from my eyes for a minute and realized that the film looked fine without them. Now I’m wondering if I can go to a 3D showing and tell them I don’t want the glasses. Maybe they won’t allow it, but I’m sure they’d be confused for a moment.
I’m also curious to know if studios ever do any research to find out if audiences have any interest in seeing movies based on radio shows that aired during the 1950’s. I know the superhero thing is still riding a high, but I’m not sure anyone’s interested in third-tier heroes who haven’t been seen in decades, especially those that have been rewritten as rich, doughy, retarded, douche bags whose only attribute is quick wit. I looked up the original Green Hornet and found his attributes to be genius intellect, master detective, and master of martial arts. Hmm…let’s see if Rogen’s Hornet lived up to those.
Rogen plays Britt Reid, a.k.a. The Green Hornet, a rich, newspaper heir who spends all of his time partying and basically not giving a shit about anything. His father (Tom Wilkinson) dies from a bee sting (clever, no?) and Reid is thrust into his father’s role as head of the newspaper. Reid discovers that his father’s mechanic, Kato (Jay Chou), makes really good coffee and installed a record player in the back seat of a car, so the two of them get drunk and make out in the back of that car to some classical music. Okay, I may have made up one of those things (you figure out which), but that’s honestly what leads up to them deciding to fight crime by posing as criminals. For their first act, they cut the head off of a statue of Reid’s father. I think it was somewhere around here where I became very interested in my 3D glasses since my brain was threatening to die. They follow this up by hiring Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz) as a secretary, asking her to guess what the Green Hornet’s next move will be, then performing the acts that she is guessing. In case I lost you there, not only are they vigilantes without a cause, but they are extremely stupid criminals. If Cameron Diaz has to provide the brains, we’re going to call that Strike One on genius intellect.
The villain in the film is a man named Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz) who wants to control all of the crime in Los Angeles. He also has to endure a running gag of not being scary, the gags ranging from a difficult-to-pronounce name to old suits. This joke works once, early in the film, when a rival (James Franco) explains to him – in what is easily the best performance of the film – how Chudnofsky isn’t scary. Chudnofsky (pronounced: boo-gah-woo-gah) shows him how scary he is by shooting Franco with his split-barreled pistol, proving that he is indeed…ridiculous. Since Chudnofsky already controls all of the city’s crime, this scene is simply there to tell the audience who is the bad guy in the movie. When Reid and Kato go on their crime/crime-fighting spree, they unwittingly provoke Chudnofsky into becoming their enemy. He changes his name to Bloodnofsky to seem scarier, making himself more of a cartoon character than a crime boss. In case you were wondering, this was the entire, um…plot. It’s also Strike Two on master detective as the only mystery to solve was how many times I can say Chudnofsky in a single paragraph. CHUDNOFSKY!
Strike Three comes on master of martial arts. I think it goes without saying that we were never going to buy Rogen as a martial arts expert. Supposedly, he lost of a lot of weight for this role, but it still would have been ridiculous to see him kicking ass. Having said that, there is one scene where this actually happens and it’s as lazy as the rest of the film. Whether it was a special effect of just his natural speed, he slo-mo’s through the scene, throwing maybe two and a half punches, finally falling on his face while trying to save Kato. This wouldn’t have seemed so pathetic had Reid bothered to practice any kind of physical fighting during the movie. However, the real failure in the martial arts category is the complete failure to follow through with special effects. In the first fight scene, they introduce a telescopic effect where Kato jumps on the hood of car and it expands into ten cars to make him look like he is running across all of them. While interesting, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, plus they don’t ever use it again. They also use another effect to highlight all of the bud guys’ weapons red, making it look like Kato is evaluating the situation before acting. This effect carries further into the movie, but even it gets forgotten at the end. Conclusion: Bruce Lee is rolling over in his grave right now.
Speaking of the end, that was where the film turned to complete junk. Up until the climactic fight scene, the movie actually wasn’t terrible. There were some scattered jokes that did evoke some laughter and the film was at least progressing, albeit with no cohesion whatsoever. The ear-shattering climax begins with a shootout in a restaurant, followed by what seemed like nine hours of car chases, explosions, and bullets. Again, if mindless action is what you want, this is the movie for you. It was just so forced that all I could do was endure the insanity and foregone conclusion. None of the conflict was explained, or even well-thought out. My final thought when walking out of the theater was that the final act of the film must have been due to Rogen’s crayons breaking and the director rolling his eyes and saying “screw it, let’s just do this” (read: CHUDNOFSKY).
Rating: Ask for six dollars back. That’ll at least buy Rogen and Goldberg more crayons to pen their next sub-par screenplay.