James Franco, who recently earned an Oscar nomination for his role in “127 Hours,” briefly appears near the beginning of the new movie “The Green Hornet.” He plays a goofy but ego-maniacal villain who doesn’t realize whose turf he’s stepped on. Unfortunately, Franco’s appearance is the highlight of this otherwise forgettable film about a wannabe crime fighter.
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“The Green Hornet” tells the story of Britt Reid (Seth Rogen), a young playboy whose father James (Tom Wilkinson) runs a major newspaper. “Trying doesn’t matter when you always fail,” James advises Britt early in the story, so Britt stops trying and starts wasting his life. While James spends his time trying to fight corruption in his newspaper’s editorials, Britt spends his time partying and sleeping with beautiful women.
As the story continues, James dies suddenly and Britt decides to vandalize the statue erected for his father. He enlists the assistance of Kato (Jay Chou), a former employee of his father who has a knack for making a delicious cup of coffee. Kato is Britt’s seemingly only friend and the two work together to destroy the statue. Afterward, they witness a crime occurring and they confront a group of thieves. Kato starts fighting all of the members of the group and quickly knocks them to the ground.
Kato, who had previously served as James’s mechanic, turns out to be a great fighter. In one of the movie’s most clichéd turns, Kato has amazing acrobatic abilities that Britt hadn’t been aware of previously. Kato comes from the lame school of sidekicks who are undervalued in their regular jobs but who are secretly amazing athletes who can fight gangs of people when given the opportunity. (I wonder if he puts that on his resume.)
Eventually, criminal mastermind Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz) watches as his crime empire begins to suffer with the Green Hornet and his sidekick in town. In typical villainous fashion, he vows to find the Green Hornet and kill him.
Since its release a few weeks ago, “The Green Hornet” has done well at the box office. Unfortunately, the story isn’t worth the film’s box office success. Aside from the James Franco cameo, this story is one disappointment after another.
The entire movie feels like it’s been written by young fanboys wanting to make a movie about their favorite crime fighter. It comes as no surprise that the movie was written by Seth Rogen, the film’s star, and Evan Goldberg, who helped write “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express.” Rogen and Goldberg have written humorous stories, before but there are very few jokes in “The Green Hornet” that actually work. Added to that, the action sequences are over the top and unbelievable.
None of the characters are even interesting to watch, including Cameron Diaz who appears as Britt’s assistant. Even Christoph Waltz, who was so memorable in his Oscar-winning role as the villain in “Inglourious Basterds” has a forgettable role as a villain with self-confidence issues. I only wish that the arrogant villain played by Franco could have hung around longer and actually proved a challenging foe for the Green Hornet.
It should be noted that “The Green Hornet” is being released in 3D. The film features one enjoyable scene where the 3D effects are well-used but other than that, the effect is mostly wasted in this tiresome story.