‘The Green Hornet’ lacks sting, character

David Wiens

It all sounded good in theory; a superhero, well, masked vigilante movie based on a radio series instead of a graphic novel which was co-written by and starred someone known best, if not solely as a comic actor.

At first glance, “The Green Hornet” promised to be a unique new approach to the superhero genre. I was not expecting anything mind-blowing, but it had my interest. Sadly, that interest had started to wane before the end of the first scene.

The opening exchange between an 8-year-old Britt Reid and his father felt about as necessary and natural as the 3D effects did and the sense that I was watching a second rough draft of the movie never went away.

The storyline, much likeĀ  the two protagonists, did not know what it should be doing next and often relied upon existing notions. All the problems and conflicts that arose for and between Britt and his father’s former mechanic/coffee boy Kato (Jay Chou) were bluntly obvious to everyone except the duo from the moment they first team up and did not amount to nearly enough to cause the inevitable falling out they had. Whenever tensions did boil over it seemed to slow the plot instead of advancing it. At several points I was waiting for a scene to end.

As far as the performances go I must admit I devoted most of my attention trying to figure out if Seth Rogen had intentionally written and played Britt as an unlikable ass because it would have been absurd to try and have a spoiled 20-something character who never worked be somehow polite, generous, noble, kind, or likable. Jay Chou did not do a lot outside of fighting and giving Britt a hard time. Cameron Diaz, who was conspicuously absent in almost all of the trailers I had seen, played Lenore Case, a pseudo-love interest who felt and often acted like she had been plucked out of the middle of another movie and dropped into “The Green Hornet” at the last minute. Christoph Waltz, who played Chudnofsky, was given one quirk to play and virtually nothing else for the entire film.

Now I will admit that the movie had a lot of laughs in it and the action sequences, though not the most inspired, were decent enough. Together it keeps this movie from being a complete waste of time, but with awards season starting there are much better ways to spend your time and money at the theater.