The Green Hornet

2011

So while it isn’t uncommon to hear me complain about Hollywood’s churning out of re-hashed franchises and numerous sequels (let’s start listing the 2010/11 projects in production… Kung Fu Panda 2, The Hangover 2, Transformers 3, Ghostbusters 3, Paranormal Activity 3, Scream 4, Spy Kids 4, Fast and Furious 5, and don’t forget the Harry Potter, Twilight, James Bond, Mission Impossible AND Pirates of the Caribbean franchises… You get my point); this modernized film adaptation was a pleasantly good experience. Based on the television series by the same name (1966-1967) starring Van Williams as Britt Reid and Bruce Lee as Kato, here we have Seth Rogan and Jay Chou grace the screen.

While I’m not here to outline the film’s narrative (of which I personally loathe when reviews do so; if you’re just going to tell the story, call it a SUMMARY or SYNOPSIS; if you are reviewing then do give us your educated opinion without spoilers), I’ll give you the basic premise. IMDB offers this sentence in a nutshell: “Following the death of his father, Britt Reid, heir to his father’s large company, teams up with his late dad’s assistant Kato to become a masked crime fighting team.”

Of course, there’s a little more narrative depth than that, which makes it worth the time. However, don’t expect something philosophically deep – because you won’t find it. What it is, is an action-packed, humour-filled, awesome-gadget-stacked superhero comic book movie that sometimes takes a moment to parody itself. But unlike ‘The Spirit’ which tries so hard to be a comic-book-movie-parody, yet ironically takes itself way too seriously within the same beat, ‘The Green Hornet’ works. It makes you laugh, watch, and wow.

If you’re expecting a Hollywood blockbuster, you got it. A good story? Check. Action, guns and awesomeness? Check.
Fun and energetic on-screen chemistry? Check. And I must applaud Christopher Waltz’s performance, no surprise there – if you haven’t heard of him, you’ve missed out on his amazing performance in Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’.

Yet what is most important in this film is not actually the film in itself, but the fact that Kato, the Asian counterpart-side-kick that was never originally in the limelight nor took the space of the hero, is finally recognised. An equally important character role has, for the first time been filled with an Asian actor that has not been stereotyped, dumbed down, or visualised as an archetype. Sure, he does martial arts. Fine, he has an accent. But hey – the role is original, and his ethnicity is only his background; it doesn’t dictate who he is or what he can contribute as a personality. His role is anything BUT a supporting character. Seth Rogan who co-wrote the script has much to do with this, and from it has come an admirable movie that fills the cinemas – and more importantly, places a milestone down since Bruce Lee’s breakthrough for Asian actors in Hollywood.

Is it worth paying for? Possibly. Is it enjoyable? For most. Is it worth the watch? Yes.

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