I went in to The Green Hornet well aware of the middling reviews, but I told myself to keep an open mind. I have great respect for Michel Gondry and Seth Rogen can still make me laugh. What I got was a mixed bag of dazzling visuals, belly laughs, the occasional eye roll and a few times when I wanted to check my watch. As yet another interpretation of a cartoon, radio serial and TV show, The Green Hornet is about a superhero without super powers who poses as a bad guy to take on the criminal underworld with the help of his sidekick/chauffeur Kato. Written by the team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, their unique spin on the oft adapted character is to make the Green Hornet a self-absorbed clod and make the sidekick the hero. Somehow, they also manage to work Cameron Diaz in there too.
There is little to be seen in The Green Hornet that can’t be found in any of Michel Gondry’s music videos, which is disappointing considering he’s known for pushing boundaries and trying new things. it’s not that Gondry did anything wrong, he is a great director and contributed a few new ideas to the genre, the problem was that he was held back by the script. His efforts were hindered by a weak script.
After their modest success with Pineapple Express, the studios seem to be under the mistaken impression that these guys are actual screenwriters. The truth is that Rogen and Goldberg are trying to be like Tarantino and mash together a bunch of old movies and tv shows they half remember and turn them into something new, but QT’s a rare breed genius, and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg likely do much of their writing between bong hits. Their last script was forgivingly disguised with it’s lo-fi plot and production values, but with a fully funded feature to inhabit, this is merely their impression of a good script rather than one that’s actually good.
The concept however, is still totally clever. Finally the rest of the world can watch The Kato Show, which is probably what the whole world might have called The Green Hornet back in 1966 had we actually known who Bruce Lee was. Turning the tables as they do in the movie gets a bit of a boost with our own clouded hindsight on the show having starred one of the greatest martial artist ever to grace the screen pretending to play second fiddle to an all but completely forgotten white TV actor. I get the feeling that this scene from Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story might have been what gave Rogen and Goldberg the idea in the first place: