Getting THE GREEN HORNET to the big screen has been a long and winding road.
Creative differences, budget and screenplay disagreements kept this property in ‘turnaround hell’ for decades.
It finally arrives in theatres this weekend and could very well become the year’s first post-holiday hit despite the mountains of negative notices from critics.
THE GREEN HORNET of course based on the old comics and short lived TV series which first introduced martial arts legend Bruce Lee as ‘Kato’ to American audiences.
Does anyone even remember who played the actual Hornet in the series?
That would be Van Williams who was totally upstaged by Lee.
The new Sony Pictures presentation was co-written, produced and stars Seth Rogen as rich, spoiled playboy Britt Reid. son and heir to L.A.’s vast Daily Sentinel newspaper fortune.
But when dad (Tom Wilkenson) suddenly dies, it’s his mechanic Kato who makes Britt see the light.
The fact that Kato brews a mean cup of latte also (very much) works in his favor.
The bottom line: The Green Bee is born!
But since that sounds too sissy, the boys changed his name to HORNET!
Thus a new team of crime fighting super heroes now hits the City of the Angels, or as Seth Rogen proclaims:
"I’m Simon. You’re Garfunkel."
Definitely a platonic buddy romance.
And so they’re off, fighting L.A.’s prosperous criminal underworld controlled by menacing German actor Christoph Waltz from INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS—or as Brett Reid proudly declares: "….Get ourselves some Goddamned Justice, Kato!"
Meanwhile the police and newspaper have no idea who’s behind this Lone Ranger and Tonto-like duo.
Their choice of crime fighting gadgets? Great gizmos and tricked out weapons.
But nothing beats the coolness of their Black Beauty, an indestructable old Chrysler Imperial converted by Kato into a 4-wheel war machine which would put James Bond to shame
So you would think THE GREEN HORNET is the perfect super hero movie?
Sorry. It’s not.
It starts out promsing enough, but can’t keep up the pace and writing. Last year’s Oscar winner Christoph Waltz is totally wasted here. And Cameron Diaz as Britt’s secretary is downright miscast—or maybe just walking through her role.
Kato on the other hand played by Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou is probably the best aspect of this 3-D and IMAX film.
Finally at almost 2 hours in length, the movie rapidly loses its tongue-in-cheek coolness factor and wallows aimlessly in nonsensical scenes and fights. An edit down by say 15 to 20 minutes would’ve helped immensely.
Am I being too critical?
Maybe. Because the picture does have its moments and fanboys will probably get off on it. For everyone else…..You’re on your own.
And about the movie’s 3-D effects: Above average.
But snce the advance screening audience reacted quite well to THE GREEN HORNET, I’m injecting 3-1/2 out of 5 stingers.
JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday mornings on KMBZ / KUDL / and KXTR.
And anytime on Time-Warner Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND, Channel 113.