Home Video Review: “The Green Hornet”

The most frustrating bad movies are the ones that insist on showing you teasing glimpses of a better one. "Green Hornet" is enjoyable in fits and starts, but never coalesces into a satisfying or even vaguely coherent movie.

Seth Rogen stars as Britt Reid - irresponsible playboy by day, raging d-bag by night - who inherits his father's newspaper and decides on a whim to become a superhero and then use the paper to promote himself as that superhero. Er, wait, no. He's going to pretend to be a villain, and use the paper to promote his villainy, but he's actually going to be a superhero. Or something. It's all so confusing that you never bother to ask "WHY DID HIS NEWS MAGNATE FATHER EMPLOY A KUNG-FU FIGHTING WEAPONS EXPERT?"

Director Michel Gondry (who crafted the magnificent "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") is constrained by his first mainstream movie, but he is able to squeeze in just enough of his left-of-center visual style to give the movie some real flash. It's just too bad that one of the most Gondry-esque sequences is used to, literally, tell the audience what has just happened for the last hour so that it can rush to the climax. Seriously, no joke - the movie actually features a complete plot recap as a white flag saying, "Yes, we know none of this makes a lick of sense."  It's as tough to swallow as the relationship between the charming Jay Chou (as Kato) and the utterly charm-free Rogen. Like the movie itself, Rogen is stuck between making fun of superheroes and actually being one - and neither Rogen nor "Hornet" can fully commit, so it all ends up being nothing. A big void. It's a shame, because somewhere in there is a good buddy action comedy just waiting for someone to light a fire under it (Chou really deserves better - the guy just exudes a badass cool). And somewhere under THAT, there's an actual part for Christoph Waltz to play. The man does his best with what he's given - an insecure but vicious baddie - but, again, the movie isn't sure whether its mocking the villain or trying to craft a real nemesis so, like the rest, it settles into forgettable "meh."

Oh, and Cameron Diaz pops in for a few scenes to have absolutely zero chemistry with anyone, and, well…that's about it.

But, again, "Green Hornet" does have style, some great gadget porn, and at least one really good fight scene and car chase, which makes it passable home viewing (hell, there are even one or two jokes that work even though they do nothing to help the movie's tonal schizophrenia). On Blu-ray, the colors pop (the "Black Beauty's green headlights especially) and, if you have a 3D capable TV and Blu-ray player, you will enjoy this movie's total embracing of the format. "Green Hornet" is available in a 3-Disc package that includes a 3D Blu-ray, a regular Blu-ray, and a DVD. Yes, it's come to this.

The special features are rounded out by deleted scenes that do little to illuminate the goings on, a surpassingly gag-free "gag reel" (unless you count watching Rogen use a Shake Weight) and a featurette that wisely focus on the true star of the movie: the car.  It's a decent package when all's said and done, but nothing groundbreaking.

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