As a long time fan of Jake Gyllenhaal The Green Hornet has interested me for a few years now. Back in 2004, Jake, in partnership with director Kevin Smith, was ready to go and then it all just pfizzed out. Finally, the film has been made but with Michel Gondrey at the helm and Seth Rogan in the (less than convincing) mask. And another difference – this time it’s in 3D.
After following a project for such a long time it’s only right to see it through and so, despite doubts, this evening I took a chance even though I’m going through something of an allergic reaction to films about superheroes.
The Green Hornet tells the story of Britt Reid, a fabulously wealthy heir whose father (Tom Wilkinson) dies due to the venom of a sting. When mourning the loss of his decent cup of morning coffee, Britt goes in search of its maker, Kato (Jay Chou) who, alongside the ultimate cappuccino maker, has also designed handy accessories for his father’s cars, including tyres that reinflate when shot and even more bulletproof bulletproof glass. Not wanting to take over his father’s newspaper empire, Brett decides instead to take on crime whilst also being a little naughty himself. Along the way, Brett falls a little bit, but not much, for his secretary played by Cameron Diaz.
This film is a movie in three parts: two of them are enjoyable and lightly entertaining while the second, the middle, is so dull, you might take out your headtorch to compose a shopping list or a late Christmas thank you letter. Needless to say, that awkward, dull second bit involves Cameron Diaz. She may be the love interest but she fails to be interesting. As a woman a little bit older than Cameron’s professed 36 years in this film, I actually felt much younger watching her. This isn’t a role, it’s a fill in. Actually, it’s not even a fill in, it’s a few scenes of someone acting the part of a secretary and making the job seem pretty boring.
However, Brett and his nameless sidekick have a huge amount of fun taking on the evil that is Chud (Chud has an inferiority complex due to his age) while creating any number of gadgets and using them with great effect in a range of near-death situations. The 3D is put to good use in the numerous fight scenes, although in the even more numerous non-fight scenes it is redundant. I would opt for the 3D as it does add… a dimension… to some very exciting sequence but it isn’t essential. The Eastern European remorseless and image-conscious killer Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz) is arguably the most fun character in this film to watch.
There were moments when I felt like I was watching an old episode of Batman – it was just missing the POWs. Or Superman and the Daily Planet. The stories and situations are very familiar but Brett is actually quite endearing while Kato is amusing in a way that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Peter Sellers Pink Panther movie.
The compensation for the truly awful scenes featuring Cameron Diaz was provided by charm and some great cars.