The Green Hornet is not your average superhero. For starters, he is not muscular. He is not articulate. The Hornet is not a do-gooder by nature. Instead, he is a millionaire playboy that inherits a fortune from his unsympathetic father, James Reid (Tom Wilkinson). James always taught his son Britt (Rogen) to be unyielding. One of his primary mottos is that results, not intentions, are what matter in the end. James dies soon after scolding Britt’s philandering behavior. Although his death appeared to have been the consequence of an allergic reaction to a venomous bee sting, it is later concluded that something more sinister caused the entrepreneur’s downfall. Feeling crestfallen, yet reproachful, Britt goes on a drinking binge. This misbehavior ends when he meets the cappuccino specialist (the man who shapes the foam like a leaf), Kato (Jay Chou).
Kato had served Britt’s father as his mechanic extraordinaire and as his personal servant. Britt finds out in short order that Kato is more than meets the eye (sorry, I watched a Transformers trailer before the film started). Both men feel scalded by the late Mr. Reid’s rebuke. They childishly decided to behead the media giant’s statue. In the process of running for a touchdown with the head of his father’s statue, Britt happens upon a couple being mugged. Feeling like a daredevil and failing to recognize the potential consequences, he intervenes. The criminal gang begins chasing him and nearly topples him when Kato demonstrates yet another talent: kicking ass! It just so happens that Kato is a martial artist and can visualize multiple targets in micro-time (a freeze frame effect). Together, they decide to do something really special, wrecking organized crime in Los Angeles.
In the process of transforming their cars into weapons that would make Bond’s mechanic Major Boothroyd jealous, Brett appoints Kato as his Executive Associate at his newspaper (inherited from his father). They also hire a secretary (Cameron Diaz as Lenore Case) to serve their every whim, including being eye candy. The central crime lord they must topple is Chudnofsky (Christopher Waltz, better known for his roles in Inglorious Basterds and The Matrix 2, and 3). Chudnofsky has issues. Chief among them is his overwhelming desire to be feared. His first, and perhaps most Cardinal sin, had been murdering a rival gangster (James Franco), because his competitor suggested he wear fancy suits and learn how to have a sense of style. Chudnofsky is convinced that the act of murder is fear-inducing in and of itself. When his closest lieutenants recommend a change of style, he decides to become the fearful “Bloodnofsky”. This includes accoutrements such as a red sports blazer and a gas mask.
As Kato and Britt continue their reign of terror against Chudnofsky, their friendship grows, one shattered meth lab at a time. Keep in mind that Seth Rogen wrote the script. It is tailor made for his shtick, antics, and acting style. While fighting crime, and overseeing a newspaper’s production, Britt and Kato find time to fall in love with sexually harass and their secretary Lenore. She plays with their minds but essentially keeps both libidinous gentlemen at arm’s length. Their love for Lenore is what ultimately, albeit temporarily, fractures their friendship. When they eventually have an epic mansion fight it is reminiscent of the film They Live.
Britt finds out District Attorney Scanlon (David Harbour) had threatened his father into silence. Scanlon succeeded in murdering two of James’ newspapermen to deter any criticism of his tenure as D.A. Scanlon is also in collusion with Bloodnofsky. This complicates Britt’s decisions, alters his perception of his late father, and puts his life in even greater danger.
Readers do not drop by for plot summaries, they want analysis and opinions. This entire film is implausible. The police are almost non-existent. DNA evidence and photo identification have seemingly not yet been invented. The Green Hornet and his sidekick the “Blue Wombat” (Kato’s sobriquet is still undecided by movie’s end) wear eye masks. They are unconcealed yet nobody is able to identify them. Britt has never fought a day in his life yet he forces hardened criminals to submit. Kato has the gift of freezing time (a very comic book oriented power) which is never scientifically justified. Nothing in the movie makes sense and it borderlines on stoner strange. I have no doubt Seth Rogen wrote the film while extremely high. I realize the Green Hornet is a sort of anti-hero, but feeding the character lines containing the words “fuck” and “shit” is less funny that it sounds on paper. Nothing really rings true here and there is very little to latch onto. This is a stoner’s screen vision for an obscure comic book that 99% of the American population is unfamiliar with. On the flipside, it is often hysterical, laugh-out-loud funny. Did I mention it is in 3D?
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