‘Ghost Rider,’ come back. All is forgiven. After witnessing the wrong-in-every-imaginable-way “Green Hornet,” the Nicolas Cage superhero stinker deserves to be scraped of the barrel’s bottom to allow room for this boring, repetitive, steaming-turd of a film.
The latest incarnation of ‘Horet’ has a storied past that dates back almost two decades. Rumored involvement in the project included names like George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Nicolas Cage, Greg Kinnear and Jake Gyllenhaal, with Kevin Smith and Stephen Chow (“Kung Fu Hustle”) scheduled to direct. Everything from Jamaican accents and heroes with brain-implanted microchips being controlled by joysticks.
Honestly, the making of the film sounds infinitely more interesting than anything witnessed in this film’s near-two-hour runtime. It’s a vanity project of Seth Rogan, the film’s writer, producer and star, as Britt Reid.
Reid is the son of the spoiled product of an ultra-rich newspaper publisher (the first sign this film’s working in an alternate universe, one in which newspapers actually make money). He embodies excess and spews hipster dialogue meant to mock the very foundations on which the genre is built. He’s merely a carbon copy of his “Knocked Up” persona, with a bit more privilege. When his daddy dies, he decides to enter the world of crime-fighting, naturally.
Reid forms an alliance with one of his father’s former staffer. Why? Because he makes good coffee, basically. Kato (played by Jay Chou in the role that introduced Americans to Bruce Lee in the 1960 TV show), in this incarnation of the “Hornet” is an amalgam of Alfred the Butler, Q, Robin and Pancho.
Rogan seems to think that his mere appearance is cause for comedy. He can be amusing when the material is meaty, but in “Hornet” he seems to think he can smirk and through lame bro-jokes and have it pass for entertainment. If that were the film’s sole fault, perhaps it could be overlooked. But from incongruities (Britt’s dad is seen over a two-decade span but does not age a day), to frustrations (why give a character immortalized by Bruce Lee and give him only two scenes displaying his martial arts ability), the sheer number of missteps goes from disheartening to aggravating.
This is compounded by a director from whom the term “visionary” is often attributed, Michael Gondry. Gondry made his mark with “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” with writer Charlie Kaufman. His subsequent collaborations have had flashes of that first film, but never quite measured up. And here he cannot be bolstered by a script this aimless, cliche and — most deadly for a film such as this — boring.
This is Rogan’s and Goldberg’s second outing as screenwriters, but their first outing, “Superbad,” carries a far more fitting title for this film.
For Natsukashi readers, you’d be better checking out the 1960s series, which starred Van Williams and Bruce Lee (or even ‘Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story” from 1993, which refers to the show in its narrative).