At some point in 2009, while reading some website or drinking at a bar with friends, I learned that Seth Rogen would write and star in an adaptation of “The Green Hornet.”
“Hunh,” I thought/said. “That sounds like a horrible idea. On the other hand, I guess, who cares about the Green Hornet? I remember it was the show that Bruce Lee kicked 36 flavors of ass on, but I don’t remember or care about the character, so I guess this could work.”
Later, I learned that Michel Gondry was directing the film; later still, I learned it was “in 3-D.” Failing, for once, to do appropriate research, I did not check whether this would be a 3-D upconvert or a movie filmed with James Cameron’s cyborg cameras. Hey, Gondry’s an innovative guy, so it was probably the most arty experiment he could develop with… let me check… $130 million!
Alas, it is a 3-D upconvert. It’s a bad one, too. It’s one of many bad things about this lazy and miscast movie. There are only four or five real touches of Gondry magic. The movie’s interminable partying and dialogue scenes are artless and could have been filmed by Kevin Smith. The Gondry-esque scenes, like the first fight between Rogen’s Britt Reid and Jay Chou’s Kato, are perfectly fine, but make no real use of 3-D.
And Gondry’s touch is the best thing about the movie. Rogen’s script and performance are weak enough to make us question how much talent the guy had in the first place. Oh, I’ve always liked his performances. I’m not one of those people who think his act is composed entirely of sarcasm and smarm. But he wasn’t the breakout actor in any of his early projects. “Pineapple Express” was, like this movie, a combination of listless suspense and some fun dialogue, and that movie’s breakout actors were James Franco and Danny McBride.