The Green Hornet began as a radio show that then later became a TV series in 1966 starring Bruce Lee. After only a year it was cancelled and then fell into obscurity. Until, that is, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wanted to bring it back.
The film begins with Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) as a child and him having yet another disappointed conversation with his father, James Reid (Tom Wilkinson). Flash forward 20 years and those conversations are still happening. Britt decides that if his dad will always be so disapproving then he might as well continue but party while he’s at it. Things then take a turn when James dies unexpectedly leaving Britt to manage his newspaper empire.
It’s here, while he wastes his days in bed and fires all of his house staff, that he encounters Kato (Jay Chou) – and this is only because he makes really good coffee. Britt and Kato then bond over their opinions of Britt’s father and decide to go out and seek some justice. It’s after this first outing (and some serious butt-kicking) from Kato they form, the Green Hornet… and his un-named sidekick.
Wanting to be vigilantes rather than superheroes, they aim to be feared by all the criminals, so they make themselves stand out and let them know that they mean business. A fool-proof plan… if it wasn’t for current kingpin, Chudnofsky (Christophe Waltz).
The Green Hornet will inevitably be labelled as a superhero film, much in the same way that Kick Ass was. However, this is a film about a pair of bored guys, one with money and comic chops and the other with Bruce Lee fighting skills and brains, simply wanting to fight some crime and be big.
There are certain aspects of the film that you would think are all wrong and shouldn’t work but they do and, most importantly, they work well. The two leads, Seth Rogen and Jay Chou, are credible as their characters. They have a good on-screen relationshis that rebounds as much as it pulls together. Jay Chou stands out more for very much the same reason that Bruce Lee did in the series. His impressive fighting skills and quiet underestimated charm are what stay with you after the credits have rolled.
Christophe Waltz is on great form here, playing his villain as a calm psychopath and a live wire. Cameron Diaz also makes an appearance as Lenore, the journalist who has both Britt and Kato fighting for her affections.
The script is sharp and witty and not too dissimilar to Rogen’s Superbad or Drillbit Taylor. The look of the film is impressive especially the cars, Kato’s Black Beauties. The engineering behind these machines is sleek, sharp and cool. You don’t need the added bonus of 3D to appreciate their scenes in the film. The Green Hornet is well shot with great locations and stand-out action scenes, enhanced by being shown in 3D, but not necessarily better.
Best scene: When outside the restaurant walking up to the crime lords, Kato pulls out Bruce Lee’s One Inch Punch… BAM!
Best line: We could be heroes! We will *pose* as villains to get close to the bad guys. That way, no one will suspect we’re really the good guys.
Watch if you liked: Kick Ass, Superbad, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World