You've Been Stung By THE GREEN HORNET!
Jan 14, 2011 (Updated Jan 15, 2011)
by Mark Vaughan
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Action, adventure, cool gadgets, Cameron's smart, Jay's sexy, and Seth's funny. Totally Kick-^$$
Cons:A little less serious than the original. Not really much of a criticism.
The Bottom Line: This modernday remake is very true to the old series starring Bruce Lee and Van Williams. It's a little funnier, a lot sexier, but just as cool.
The Green Hornet (2010) Directed by Michel Gondry
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"Let's roll, Kato!"
There is always a danger in remaking a classic, and another in moving a series to film. The Green Hornet started out as a radio drama, from 1938 to 1952, a set of theatrical serials, and then was a televised series in 1966. The problem here is that that last incarnation has achieved cult status, largely due to the presence of Bruce Lee as Kato. So, the film makers were running a real risk trying to get someone to fill his mask. Bitter fanboys are a dangerous thing.
One of the keys to a successful adaptation is remaining true to the spirit of the original work, and there, I think they have succeeded.
Britt Reid (whose granduncle was Lone Ranger) is the son of a powerful Newspaper owner. Britt (Seth Rogan) is a spoiled rich boy, and a horrible disappointment to his father. It's okay, his father was a business obsessed jerk who was a horrible dad. But when a fatal bee-sting leaves Britt an orphan, he wonders what to do with himself.
He meets Kato (Jay Chou) his father's mechanic, and barista. While getting to know each other, comparing notes on Reid Senior, and getting drunk, they head off on an adventure; one to vandalize the statue honoring James Reid (Tom Wilkinson). It so happens that they foil a mugging, mostly by dumb luck, and Kato's considerable martial arts skills. And suddenly, an idea is born. They will pose as villains, but will actually be the good guys, and will take down the bad guys. Kato is also something of a demented genius at crafting nifty gadgets, like machine guns in cars, and gas guns. And thus is the Green Hornet born.
Enter the love interest secretary Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz). While the 60's version may have been eye candy, this lady is smart, savvy, and knows the journalism business, and the boys cleverly allow her to plan their strategy, though she does not know that is what she is doing. What could possibly go wrong? Well, the real crime lord of the city is Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), and he doesn't like anyone muscling in on his territory, or being scarier than him.
When I heard Seth Rogan was cast as the Green Hornet, I worried that it might be one of those horrid comic remakes of classic shows like Starsky and Hutch, or worse, the Brady Bunch Movies. But I was pleasantly surprised. While Britt is a bit of a tool, especially at the first, Rogan plays him as a kid wanting to grow up into a man. And while the road is not without detours, that is basically what happens.
Another great hold over from the old show is Kato. With no disrespect to Van Williams Kato overshadowed the Green Hornet, because Bruce Lee could disassemble him, and any three stunt men he had with him. That is something the camera can't hide. In this incarnation, Kato is not willing to play the houseboy, and he is completely kick-@$$. (Check out his sketch book, for an homage to the original.) So that sort of carries over.
The last thing that carries over is the feeling of excitement. The flight of the Bumblebee, the original theme song, is perfect for the series, because the action if hard hitting and frantically fast paced, and relentlessly cool. That has not changed in the slightest. Of course, they don't roll the Flight of the Bumblebee until the end credits. Oh, another note on music. Jay Chou is a lot like Kato, a man of many talents. His is a big pop star in Asia, and his rap, Nunchuks at the end is very, very cool.
One last note. I saw it in 3D. It was fine, but it is retrofitted 3D, and doesn't add that much to the overall experience. Catching it in 2D is probably just fine.
After all these years, this masked man still packs a powerful Sting. Check it out.
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