Seth Rogen it seems has fallen into the same trap every SNL performer does when they go into making films. They have a couple of standout roles (Knocked Up, The Pineapple Express) and then suddenly everything just gets so bland. I must admit that despite the fact that I find his films very hit and miss, I do like Rogen as a screen presence. I just don’t always find him funny. In fact sometimes, when he gets too whiny and his grumbly voice gets too excited and his body goes into hypermode, I find him downright annoying. But n there are other times when his hyper-side works a charm. It’s purely down to what’s dictated in the script. And in this sense he’s his own worst enemy – as he writes many of his own scripts with working partner Evan Goldberg.
The Green Hornet then is the epitome of all that’s bad about Rogen – as well as a few other deadbeats along for the ride. The actor they grabbed for Kato (Jay Chou) has literally zero screen chemistry with Rogen. The guy by himself has his moments of cool, sure. But this is a screen duo that’s meant to work. And whilst I like the idea of Britt Reid being a lazy spoilt oaf who stabs friends in the back and is only interested in delivering sucker punches and taking credit from others – it just doesn’t work as well as you’d hope.
And how the hell do you cast Edward James Olmos in your film and then underuse him? In fact, even that’s being generous. He’s barely used for anything! Christoph Waltz has been given, I think, too much flack for his portrayal as the main villain. It’s been likened too much to that of his Jew hunter from Inglourious Basterds. I think he did quite a good job here, and even made his villain fairly funny in all of his personal paranoia. Cameron Diaz I can’t say I’ve ever liked, so I personally don’t care that she has little to do in this film.
The director deserves credit for making this film look more stylish that it deserves with some interesting quirky moments and movements. Kato-vision is mildly diverting. There’s also a nicely shot fight between the two heroes as they trash Reid’s home. This perhaps one scene where Rogen proves that he can deliver. Having his ass kicked throughout this scene – and perhaps painfully looking so is one thing that works. But then there isn’t much talking in this scene.
But despite all the quirky moments (which add up to spare change compared to the full running time), this film was a bit of a disappointment. If anything they should’ve made it more funny in the funny areas, more exciting in the action fields, and more serious when it needs to be. And not so much a messy montage of crap. Recasting may also be a good idea – or at the very least giving Rogen a slap and telling him he is capable of being so much more.