Director: Michel Gondry
Run Time: 119 mins
2011 will see more superhero movies at your local megaplex than any other year. And the first to come bursting out of it’s secret layer is Michel Gondry’s The Green Hornet 3D. Gondry, the self styled king of eccentricism, who made his name with the impeccably inventive Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and the quirky but nonetheless charming Be Kind Rewind stepped into the directors chair when Kung Fu’s Hustle’s Stephen Chow passed up on the opportunity. Many were excited to see how Gondry’s Gaelic flair would marry with this action-comedy updating of the 30’s Radio Serial/70’s TV Show.
The Green Hornet is the alter ego of millionaire playboy Britt Reid (Seth Rogen), who is thrust into a life of vigilantism after the death of his media mogul father with only his trusted sidekick, Kato (Jay Chou) as backup. Unfortunately, apart from the occasional set piece this is less “un film de Gondry” and more “a flick by Seth Rogen”. The Knocked Up actor not only stars, but picks up a writing and producing credit also, so he has nobody else to blame when his spoilt, charmless rich-kid shtick starts to irritate about 20 minutes in.
Elsewhere, the only thing criminal about Christoph Waltz’s über villain, is how underwritten it is. And Cameron Diaz is reduced to nothing more than office furniture in high heels. Although she is not as redundant as the retro fitted 3D that only serves to bring you out of the action. Some plaudits should be reserved for Jay Chou’s Kato who’s delivers the sophomoric humour with a cool deadpan smile. But one wonders if this was unwittingly as the non-English speaking Asian megastar was allegedly fed his lines through an earpiece. Although his occasional nods to original Kato, Bruce Lee were very welcome – one-inch-punch anyone?
The Green Hornet will find an audience with teenage boys and those who like their Bond movies filled with gadgets and car porn. But those longing for a more grown up comic book adaptation by an auteur director will have to continue to cross their fingers for Kenneth Branagh’s Thor.