The Green Hornet (Contains Spoilers)

What seems to be a wave of “non-hero” films that got started by Kick-Ass has spat out a few no-hitters (we’re looking at you Defendor), but out of this has come the re-imagining of a classic radio series-come-TV show The Green Hornet. Originally, The Green Hornet radio show was a tie-in to The Lone Ranger (Britt Reid is his grandnephew) but for an audience that wanted someone on a more modern basis as the hero. Eventually, The Green Hornet became a TV show which saw Bruce Lee as Kato in one of his earlier English language roles. Since that point, The Green Hornet has been more associated with the like of the Adam West Batman than anything more legitimate.

But Michel Gondry, a questionable choice in director considering he’s better known for things like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep, has managed to breathe new life into the green-clad vigilante and his martial art’s expert sidekick and create something fresh. Originally, Kevin Smith was asked to direct this ask it was thought that he would be able to do justice to a film that would sit nicely amongst other comic book-type movies, but he declined as he didn’t want to direct an action movie because of the long hours spent choreographing sequences and then reshooting them time and time again. He even stated that his version of The Green Hornet would be him and Kato hanging out by the Black Beauty and then going off-screen to beat up bad guys every so often. Luckily, Michel Gondry’s version has a bit more action than that, and that’s what made this version so enjoyable, and with less pot jokes, and Kevin Smith’s script is now a comic series of The Green Hornet.

The idea behind The Green Hornet is that Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is the son of a newspaper owner who dies and leaves him his legacy. Being a known party animal, Britt decides it’s time to step up and do something memorable and help people. With his dad’s mechanic Kato, they set out to make a difference by being heroes posing as bad guys in order to infiltrate gangs and stop them from the inside, whilst Britt uses the newspaper to make a name for his alter-ego. It’s an original motive behind the normal reasoning for becoming a hero, but it got pulled off pretty well. A few geeky references are made in The Green Hornet, one notably being in Kato’s sketchbook there is a page of Bruce Lee sketches, paying tribute to Lee as the original Kato, and James Franco makes an appearance at the start of the film after appearing with Seth Rogen in Pineapple Express.

Generally, I thought The Green Hornet was an enjoyable film – it wasn’t amazingly hilarious, it wasn’t a great hero movie either, but the thing that people don’t get is that The Green Hornet never was any of these anyway! It’s a bit fitting that its remembered more along the lines of the original Adam West Batman because that’s how it was originally written – semi-serious but generally just enjoyable. And that’s exactly what this version does too. Essentially, Seth Rogen is doing the kind of comedy he does best, but mixing it in with being a masked vigilante and kicking some ass at the same time.  Jay Chou is really great as Kato and comes very close to upstaging Rogen as one of the better characters of the film, not just because of his martial arts scenes but also because of his delivery of some one-liners. I think Cameron Diaz was pinned on a little to this movie for some star recognition as she didn’t add that much to the plot, but Christoph Waltz did a good job as mob boss Chudnofsky, who gets one of the best deaths of the film with two wood planks to the face! Of course, the real star of the movie was always going to be the Black Beauty, Britt Reid’s super car with all kinds of gadgets and weapons which is responsible for most of the action scenes!

One thing I wasn’t so happy with was the fact that someone felt it was necessary to pin the 3D movie tag to this film and jump on the 3D bandwagon, even though there was barely any 3D moments during the film. There were plenty of opportunities for some, but in actual fact the transfer to 3D was a last minute decision and as such there wasn’t that much use of it. Apart from that, The Green Hornet was an enjoyably funny film that had just as much action thrown into the mix too, and only suffered very minimally from the “Take-away Film” syndrome (i.e., you enjoy it while you’re watching it, but have forgotten about it 2 hours later), which means it wasn’t a throw-away effort.

Perhaps the best description of this film is a superhero version of Pineapple Express with the same kind of humour and action, but replacing the pot jokes with Black Beauty scenes! So, on that note, I’m giving The Green Hornet 6 out of 10 for enjoyment, but it loses points  for its lack of 3D despite its advertising.

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4 Comments

  1. First of all black beauty was awesome. But how do you feel that neither of them ended up with the girl? I don’t think Cameron Diaz was needed either but there has to be a sexy chick. I was the movie in 2d and there was no part that I though, that would be the 3d part. Maybe the planks sticking out of the guys eyes?
    one of my favorite comedy bits from this movie was when Britt (which also kinda seems like a girl name) was in a “coma” for 11 days.
    I liked the action scenes, it wasn’t as predictable as most movies are, i.e i thought black beauty was going to be buried in cement and now dirt, didn’t see the ejector seats coming until they were falling off the building, and Kato didn’t get the girl.
    I also think this “part boy” image of Britt was not played out too well. If I watched just that scene I would think of a rich guy having a night out, not that he does it every night, but I guess that’s not a big deal anyways.
    James Franco was a nice surprise, and he is not gay!

    • The Black Beauty was always meant to be a car which could be like the Batmobile, but for someone else instead, so thats why its so amazing! I think neither of them ended up with the girl because Loreal was a recurring character in the original. She never really did anything, but helped out Green Hornet and Kato when she could because she knew who they were, so she’d find a way to bail them out if they got trapped or something. The main 3D bit was when Kato spins off the bottle caps, but that was really about it!! Hahaha, yes, “11 days? Thats not a knock-out! You put me in a coma, dick!”. And I’m pretty sure he is – someone told me he was, and I have no reason to not beleive them!! haha!

  2. It’s the 21st Century and it’s about time Kato gets the girl. Even if only briefly.

    And her name was CASEY! No one ever called her Lenore. Who did the research on this film. I liked the homages to the original, but wish it could have been a tighter story.

    • IMDB lists her character name as “Lenore Case”. Perhaps “Casey” was a nickname they used briefly in the film based on her second name, but her character name was Lenore. I research each film on IMDB after seeing it to make sure I spell actors names correctly and get their film history correct. From what I recall, the story had a lot of homages to the original which also made me want to watch the old Adam West Batman series, since they made appearances in a couple of episodes of that as well.


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