The Green Hornet
Britt Reid is the slacker son of a rich newspaper tycoon who uses all his father’s money and influence to drink and party his life away but when his father is found dead leaving the keys to the paper and his empire in his hands, Britt decides to team up with his father’s mechanic, Kato, to give a little back to a city that’s become overrun with crime.
THE GREEN HORNET is actually a really old franchise that began picking up steam back to 1966 with a TV series that helped launch Bruce Lee’s career, something I didn’t fully understand until I watched DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY (loved that Kato had some Bruce Lee drawings in his sketchbook). What’s ironic is that when the show aired back in the day, people really connected with Lee’s character, Kato, because of his raw martial arts abilities and it was no surprise that he stole the spotlight and the show (they actually called the series THE KATO SHOW in Hong Kong, rather than THE GREEN HORNET). Like Bruce Lee, Jay Chou steals the show making this film also feel like THE KATO SHOW but rest assured it’s a definitely a show worth seeing.
Hollywood’s been trying to breathe new life into this story for years which by now should come as no surprise but there’s been some mixed opinions concerning the film’s tone. I personally found the tone spot on, balancing the right amount of action into a “go with the flow” style comedy. I just don’t see this film being able to work any other way simply because nobody cares enough or really knows enough about THE GREEN HORNET to take the film seriously but splash Seth Rogen into the mix as a flawed hero who doesn’t even take himself seriously and you’ve got the recipe for a good time.
On that note, I (like so many other people) was more than a little thrown by the idea of Rogen as Britt Reid but like I said, the good news is that thanks to the film’s tone he makes it work (I was disappointed that one of the funniest lines in the trailer was nowhere to be found in the film but hopefully that means we’ll get an extended/uncut version when it hits the shelves). Jay Chou’s fighting prowess is flawless and I found him and Rogen’s characters worked well together. I didn’t care for Cameron Diaz’ love triangle bit or her character at all for that matter but that mostly stems from the fact that I just don’t like her as an actress. Either way, I don’t think they should have pitted the boys against one another for any girl regardless.
One thing that really did blow me away were the cars, I mean these things would give even the Batmobile a run for its money. The technical aspect of things was cool, not nearly as believable as they were in BATMAN BEGINS but cool just the same. I loved the jokes surrounding the gas gun despite being a tad worried by the way they were handled in the trailer but in all honesty I feel the trailer gives away too much as it is. I’ve also seen some stones cast in Christoph Waltz’ direction in regards to his off the wall villain performance but after the way he handled himself in INGLOURIOUS BASTARDS I don’t understand why anyone would mind or be surprised. I liked his attitude and sense of humour here, Chadnofsky was an absolute blast and that “disco Santa” bit was priceless (I won’t ruin that part but James Franco shows up for one hell of a funny cameo).
THE GREEN HORNET isn’t going to win any awards and will no doubt get its share of scrutiny because it stars Seth Rogen as a superhero but don’t let the smoke and mirrors fool you because this was a fun time at the movies. Sure, the 3D was a pointless cash-grab but there’s not much we can do about that these days. Do I feel there’s a franchise here worthy of sequels? I don’t know about a trilogy but I can honestly say I’d sit through another one. The bottom line is that this film was a gamble but for me came out on the winning side, so here’s to the boys.