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The Green Hornet (2011 movie)

A 2011 film Directed by Michel Gondry inspired by the characters from a radio program in the '30s.

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The Green Hornet Delivers

  • Jan 14, 2011

The Green Hornet has appeared in books, a television series, and perhaps in its most famous form, as a radio series. Adapting a superhero to the big screen is not without its share of challenges. For every Batman and Spiderman that sets box office records there are several that fail miserably, such as Daredevil, Elektra, The Phantom, The Shadow, and the first Hulk movie.

When it was first announced that Seth Rogen would star as the title character many people were first skeptical that a chubby comedian would be able to pull off the part. While the Green Hornet is not as iconic as Batman, the casting did bring to mind the controversy of casting Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight for Tim Burton’s take on the Caped Crusader.

Further complicating matters were the delays and in the announcement that the film would be converted to 3-D in postproduction even though it was shot in 2-D. When the film failed to meet its anticipated holiday debut there were those that had wondered if the film would fail to meet even modest expectations as January certainly isn’t the time of year that action films, especially those based on a superhero, are released.

Thankfully the film is an extremely pleasant surprise that deftly mixes comedy and action with smart pacing in a winning formula. The film tells the story of Britt Reid (Rogen), the son of a wealthy newspaper owner who, despite his best efforts, always disappoints his father who never runs out of ways to criticize his only child. Britt, to his father’s dismay, has no ambition in his life and is content to live in the guesthouse of his father’s mansion, womanizing and embracing the party scene.
When his father dies unexpectedly, Britt is forced to take control of the newspaper, a job for which he is woefully unqualified. It is at this time that Britt meets Kato (Jay Chou), his father’s long-time employee, responsible for taking care of the elder Reid’s very impressive fleet of cars.

One evening in an act of rebellion against the benevolent image of his father, Britt and Kato intervene to stop a crime. Motivated by their success and by Kato’s amazing ability to invent technology and modify vehicles, as well as his superb martial arts abilities, the duo set out to make a name for themselves by taking on the city’s criminal element.

While it first appears that Britt sees this as just some grand adventure, he soon becomes dedicated to the cause and sets upon a path to use his newspaper to play up his newly created hero. The plan is to make the Green Hornet appear to be a bad guy when in reality he is fighting to end crime. The convoluted idea has some initial success despite Britt’s lack of fighting ability. Britt and Kato soon begin to make a name for themselves in the local underworld as well is dominate the media.

At this time a young assistant named Lenora case (Cameron Diaz), comes to work for Britt. Britt and Kato are both captivated by Lenora and use her knowledge of criminal psychology to detail their plan of action for their alter egos. While Britt and Kato are buoyed by their initial success they soon find themselves under the scrutiny of the local crime boss Chudnofsky (Christopher Waltz), an insecure criminal who believes people don’t think he is scary enough or stylish enough.
Finding them an annoyance, Chudnofsky decides to wage all-out war on the Green Hornet and Kato and will rest at nothing to see them dead. As if this was not bad enough, Britt and Kato find themselves in a jealous rivalry over Lenora as well as their roles. Britt sees himself as the real hero and Kato as merely his sidekick. Kato naturally takes umbrage with this being not only the one who develops all of their gadgets, including the awesome black beauty equipped with bulletproof glass, machine guns, rocket launcher and a flamethrower, but also the one with the amazing fighting skills.

What follows is a hilarious and action packed film that is one of the most satisfying action-buddy-comedies ever made. Rogen is in his element cleverly playing Britt as an everyman who, despite having all the advantages of wealth, is still very much a kid playing superhero who has to learn about the important things in life .

The action sequences are fresh and entertaining and both Rogen and Chao pull off their roles very convincingly. While the plot is not overly complex it serves its point and propels the characters along without getting bogged down or becoming too ridiculous. Director Michel Gondry keeps the film moving at a steady pace without overstaying its welcome and does not allow the action to overtake the characters.

The supporting cast is very strong and the only real issue I had with the film was the converted 3-D that was totally unnecessary and did little to enhance the film. Very few sequence appeared to benefit from it. That being said I had a fantastic time at this film and I surely hope that we’ll be seeing other films in the series in the not too distant future.

4 stars out of 5

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January 19, 2011
Awesome review, Gareth!
January 14, 2011
I was going to see this last night but my plans got diverted somewhere else. I am going to see it in a few hours instead. Nice to know it was good, I had misgivings with Jay Chou (obviously a way for them to attract the Chinese viewing public), he's a pop star with little real skills in martial arts. But I do like Rogen so I am checking it out!
January 15, 2011
Ok, I saw it and it was weird that Chou stole the show from what I thought would be Rogen's time to really shine. Fun but flawed.
January 14, 2011
I'm glad you gave it such a good review because all the critics have panned this. I was a big fan of the original tv series and like Seth Rogen. I will try to see it in the next few weeks.
January 18, 2011
Just a point of note. The Green Hornet began as a modern day version of The Lone Ranger on radio (Britt Reid is supposed to be a descendent of John Reid). Though it had a fairly large radio audience, it gained its biggest popularity when it was launched as a television series starring Van Williams and Bruce Lee in the 1960's.
More The Green Hornet (2011 film) reviews
review by . January 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A Slapstick Buddy Comedy
“The Green Hornet” is an idea that debuted as a radio program in the 1930‘s, then it went on to movie serials, a comic book in the 40's, a TV series (in the 60's with the legendary Bruce Lee) that got a cult following, after which it went on to inspire another comic book series and other media. The TV series was known throughout Hong Kong as “the Kato Show”; and paved the way for the late great Bruce Lee to break into Hong Kong …
review by . March 27, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Kids trying to live their dreams
It’s the cool factor done to impress, to the utmost. It suits the taste of those who like to imagine a world that they don’t live in. Hence, it’s the cup of tea for the majority of the American and Chinese public (esp. those in the range of 15-30). It’s entertaining, it’s lively and it’s kind of funny in some ways. You’d think, how could anyone be impressed with such kind of bs? Well, anyone and everyone who has a sense of humor as well as sense of adventure, …
review by . May 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I waited a long time to view this film and I should have waited longer! It was worse than what most of the critics said about it. Seth Rogen is incredibly miscast in this movie that is a ridiculously bad comedy that does nothing to imitate one of the best action based television series ever. The movie had a decent first scene with a young Britt Reid being sent home from school to face the wrath of his father, who pulls the head off his superhero doll. Shift forward 20 years and we have Seth Rogen …
review by . January 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
If there's anything about comedies like The Green Hornet, it's that you can always bet someone will be crazy enough to take it far too seriously.  And yet there's a sense that can't blame people for actually doing it.  The Green Hornet isn't a bad movie by any means, but that doesn't mean it doesn't sting.  It does, but that sting doesn't hurt as much as you might think.  Much of what the Green Hornet doesn't do too well it's made up for …
review by . January 16, 2011
Get Stung Again
The Green  Hornet debuts in theaters this weekend.      This film covers the origin story of how Britt Reid decides to become the Green Hornet to fight crime. It is interesting what has been remembered from the old Green Hornet TV show to people who were not part of the generation where it debuted. Few people would probably be able to identify, offhand, the actor who played Britt Reid. Whether the same will happen to the revival of this franchise to a new generation has …
review by . May 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*1/2 out of ****     As a superhero movie, directed by Michel Gondry, and written by Seth Rogen; "The Green Hornet" really pisses me off. It has the potential of a really awesome, radical, "cool" action-surrealism flick, but alas, it's trash. Complete and utter trash. I guess that doesn't mean it's unwatchable, but when people call the film "fun", I can't help but wonder how disturbed these people really are.    There's nothing fun about watching a talented …
review by . January 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Coulda used a little more green
THE GREEN HORNET   Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg   Directed by Michel Gondry   Starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson and Christoph Waltz       Britt Reid: That is the balls.       I’ve got to give it up for Seth Rogen.  The man has gone from full on geek to perpetual stoner to slimmed down, unexpected superhero in Michel Gondry’s most indisputable attempt to penetrate the …
review by . January 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         You know something is wrong when the worst character in The Green Hornet is The Green Hornet himself. As portrayed by Seth Rogen, we see a twelve-year-old trapped in a man’s body, a bratty and talkative megalomaniac that does none of the dirty work and truly has no idea what he’s doing. Rogen, who is also the co-writer and one of the executive producers, is not only tragically miscast but has also written his character badly; rather …
review by . May 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I think Seth Rogen is at his best when he keeps his mouth shut.  Which, unfortunately isn’t hardly ever these days, and is almost completely never in “The Green Hornet.”    He was one of my favorite characters (second after the great Busy Philips) in the cult TV show “Freaks and Geeks,”  and he did it mostly with a glower and a few choice words.  His best cinematic performance so far has been in “Observe and Report,”  an unsettling, …
Quick Tip by . May 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Dumb, dull, unfunny and extraordinary, excruciatingly overlong Michael Gondry and Seth Rogen's   "The Green Hornet" is the epitome of what filmmaking at its absolute worst. This idiotic, inane so-called "slap-stick"/ “superhero"/ "buddy comedy" film is one of the very worst films of the year and in my opinion a top contender for the worst picture of 2011 category for the "Razzie.” Rogen who stars and co-wrote …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #111
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie


The Green Hornet is an upcoming 2011 action-comedy film, based on the character of the same name. The Green Hornet is an American pulp hero and masked vigilante - created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker with input by radio director James Jewell in 1936. Since his radio debut in the 1930s, the Green Hornet has appeared in numerous serialized dramas in a wide variety of media. The character appeared in film serials in the 1940s, a network television program in the 1960s, multiple comic book series from the 1940s on, and a feature film in January 2011.

Directed by Michel Gondry, the film stars Seth Rogen in the title role, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Evan Goldberg. Supporting actors include Jay Chou as Kato, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz, Edward James Olmos, David Harbour and Tom Wilkinson.

The film will be released in the United States on January 14, 2011, and the United Kingdom April 8, 2011, which will also include RealD Cinema and IMAX 3D. The film has been dubbed as a re-issue of the TV series rather than the serials or the comic books. After all, it has strong tibutes to Bruce Lee's portrayal and even gives homage to his one-inch punch. Jay Chou knew he couldn't play the role like Bruce, but the references to his movements were all there.

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Director: Michel Gondry
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: January 14, 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Runtime: 108 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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