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With: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, Christoph Waltz, David Harbour, Edward James Olmos, Jamie Harris, Chad Coleman, Edward Furlong, James Franco
Written by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, based on characters created by George W. Trendle, Fran Striker
Directed by: Michel Gondry
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violent action, language, sensuality and drug content
Running Time: 108
Date: 01/12/2011

The Green Hornet (2011)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

'Green' Cards

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Green Hornet was originally created as a radio show in 1936, and film serials, comic books and the famous TV series (with Bruce Lee as Kato) followed. Michel Gondry's new film is the first big screen feature film, but it doesn't seem to care much for the character's history. There's so little at stake here that nothing much matters except for a good time.

Seth Rogen stars and co-writes the screenplay with his writing partner Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express), and together they create a buddy movie and a "bromance" for the Green Hornet and Kato. Britt Reid (Rogen) begins the film as a playboy party animal, living in the mansion belonging to his father (Tom Wilkinson), a wealthy newspaper owner. When his father unexpectedly dies, Britt finds himself in charge of the newspaper. He also meets his father's auto mechanic, a genius with gizmos known only as Kato (Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou), and they bond.

Together they decide to create some mischief, and instead wind up rescuing a young couple from a gang of muggers, Kato doing most of the work with his nearly supernatural martial arts abilities. Britt decides that they should do more stuff like that, and the Green Hornet is born. Britt decides to use the newspaper to hype the Green Hornet's exploits, but all the attention only angers the local crime lord, Chudnofsky (Oscar winner Christoph Waltz).

And that's about it, unless you count massive amounts of destruction. Just about everything here is smashed or blown-up: trucks, police cars, TV sets, buildings, etc. -- with no real consequences. Most of the fights and chases are just excuses for Rogen to blurt out a one-liner and Chou to give him a deadpan look. Despite all this, the two actors do have a nice chemistry, and they are funny. Not even Cameron Diaz, as a whip-smart temp who turns up to work for Britt at the newspaper, can come between them. (She's introduced as a potential stumbling block for the boys' friendship, but nothing really comes from her character.)

Unexpectedly, this Hollywood nonsense is directed by Michel Gondry, the French-born creator of such gentle, offbeat gems as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Be Kind Rewind. Even more unexpectedly, Gondry doesn't really throw in anything from his bag of tricks to make the movie special. It's not exactly impersonal, rather, it's just lackadaisical. Moreover, he proves that he's not especially gifted at action scenes. His fast-paced sequences are a bit too shaky and choppy, though they're not terrible (I've seen much worse). The post-production 3D is cleaner than usual, but once again, adds nothing to the experience.

Overall, The Green Hornet is like a fun party, but one you'll soon forget.

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