Paul Dundon’s Weblog


A little cheese and a little whine

Film Log: The Green Hornet

Details here.

There were at least three moments in this film when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, and I was proven wrong on each occasion. It did have some good points: the special effects were pretty good and the action sequences didn’t skimp on them. Cameron Diaz, Edward Olmos and Christopher Waltz were all very watchable and Jay Chou clearly did his best, leaving me thinking it would be good to see him in another vehicle. The plot was pretty reasonable and had some good comic payoffs. In fact now that I think of it, the only things which let this film down were the script and the acting.

Seth Rogen was almost unwatchable. Reid’s character (by virtue of Rogen’s own script) has many contradictions – he’s a playboy, but is painfully clumsy in his approaches to Lenore Case; he’s distant from his father but a spoiled child; at times he is an ingénue in the world of combat, at others he is a reasonable match for Kato. This calls for some nuanced acting, a demand which Rogen meets by strutting around and talking like he’s chewing a rock.

The central theme of the first half of the film is the relationship between the basically lazy and self-obsessed Reid and the super-competent, industrious Kato. As soon as the two meet on screen, we know that Reid will undervalue Kato, Kato will become resentful, and they will fall out, and then make up – all standard bromance stuff. Adding the two men’s unrequited pursuit of Case muddies the waters, giving them two quite different reasons for falling out, but that’s not the problem. Rather, it is that Rogen has Reid does some very sensitive and thoughtful things (presumably to make the character sympathetic) which make the basic boorishness needed to drive this theme difficult to credit. On screen, Rogen is alternately new man and complete dick, and the end result had me cringing every time he opened his mouth.

In his defence, Rogen might have been going for burlesque, something Hollywood uses as a stand-in for irony when they lack faith in the audience. If this is the sort of thing you enjoy, then no doubt you’ll find The Green Hornet a laugh a minute.

Filed under: Film + TV

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My Bookshelf

The Golden Bough
The Value of Nothing
The Fire
A Wolf at the Table
Devil Bones

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