Spoiler alert: it fails.
This was one that didn’t surprise me.
(1) Does the movie have two or more named female characters?
Nope! Our lone speaking, named lady is Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz) who plays Brit Reid/the Green Hornet’s brainy assistant. She comes across as smart, competent, and grounded, a welcome foil to Reid’s frat boy persona; however, Reid comes across more caricature than character, undermining Diaz’s more realistic portrayal. The more that I think about it, it seems like this flick has an identity crisis. Is it a light-hearted comedy? Or is it trying to reboot the franchise a la Christopher Nolan’s Batman? Either way, it fails for me.
(2) Do the female characters talk to each other? (3) About something other than a man or shoes?
Unfortunately, not applicable. Lenore is able to articulately speak about journalism, the lack of integrity at Brit Reid’s paper, and more, but she didn’t have any fellow female characters to talk to, except the nameless maid and newspaperwoman.
While it failed majestically at the Bechdel Test, there were a few things that I think worked really well in this one– actually pretty much everything except the Green Hornet himself. It was surprising because I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities in Seth Rogen’s Mr. Reid. He was completely unrelatable and I think that ultimately hurt the film overall.
For me, the best part of the film was Christoph Waltz’ portrayal of the eccentric evil villain Chudnofsky. In the beginning I was very, very nervous that James Franco was going to kill off Chudnofsy and become the main villain (were that the case, I can’t promise I would’ve stayed in the theater). Mercifully, that scene instead demonstrates Chudnofsky’s ruthlessness and insecurity.
A close second was Kato (Jay Chou). Kato. was. incredible. I loved this character, particularly his quiet humor, intelligence, and crazy-awesome fighting skills. My recommendation for the sequel: get rid of the Green Hornet and make a movie about this guy.
I wanted to enjoy this movie, unfortunately I came away thinking “meh.” Good, not great– I was entertained, but it wasn’t grab-me-by-my-eggs awesome– and for reasons that had little to do with the dearth of female characters.