Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Green Hornet - Seth Rogan version

Last week, the SciFi channel showed a marathon of Green Hornet shows - the ones with Van Williams as Britt Reid and Bruce Lee as Kato. It was fun watching a show I hadn't seen in 30 years, and yes, Lee's Kato was definitely the star of the show - we all watched it for his martial arts prowess.

I went to see Seth Rogan's Green Hornet today, and ... it was okay. I could have done without some of the language, and there were a couple of villains-after-death closeups that I could have done was okay. And young people today are so immured to bad language...they probably wouldn't even notice it...which is both good and bad.

Anyway, it opens 20 years earlier, with Britt Reid being brought to his father's office at the Daily Sentinel. He was involved in a fight at school, but his dad won't listen to him when he says that he'd tried to help a little girl who was being bullied by some boys. His father destroys his super hero action figure.

20 years later, Britt Reid has forgotten about helping people, and is more interested in drinking and bedding women. He still lives in his father's house, but in a kind of apartment over the garage. Not quite sure how he gets his coffee, but in the morning when he wakes up there's a coffee cup by his bed with a cool flower in it in foam...

Anyway, his father dies of a bee sting, and Britt inherits the paper. For some reason Mike Axford - a crusading reporter in the actual Green Hornet stories, is here the executive editor of the whole paper, and instead of being played by an Irish actor - Axford = Irish, he's played by Edward James Olmos. That's fine, if you want Reid's second in command at the paper played by Olmos, go for it. But don't call him Mike Axford. Indeed, why not give him a Hispanic or Latino name of some kind?

Anyway, Olmos has very little to do in the movie so it's a moot point.

Reid has fired all his dad's employees from the house, so the next day he doesn't get his coffee. It is Kato, his father's chauffer, who made the coffee, so Reid hires him back. (Why Reid has never met Kato is a mystery that's never broached.) They get to talking about Britt's father, and then don masks and go out to the cemetery to vandalize his statue.

After doing this, Britt sees a couple being mugged and tries to go to the rescue, but fails. Kato intervenes and saves the day, and their dual identities as crime fighters is established.

Cameron Diaz as Lenore comes on board, she has a degree in journalism but is hired as a secretary. However, Reid uses her research skills to plot his plan as the Green Hornet. He pretends to be a villain because if he's a good guy, the bad guys will just say, "Stop messing with us or we'll kill some innocent people," but if he's a bad guy, they can't say that because he won't care about innocent people.

So it goes, and it's all right for the most part except for the ending. Of course it has to be a "spectacular" ending, so the Black Beauty is seen zooming through the halls of the Daily Sentinel. It's here that two graphic deaths take place. The initial deaths are fine, but then the camera stays on the aftermath longer than is necessary.

Cameron Diaz does a good job with what she's given. It's refreshing to see a character who doesn't fall in love with her boss - Britt tries to kiss her and she slaps him. She's the "mastermind" ...or at least she is to grow into the role.

If there's a sequel, hopefully they'll expand on that - she plots the activties of the Green Hornet and Kato, they just carry out her bidding.

Anyway, Kato is "da man" with his martial art skills. Seth Rogan is a comedian, but his acting is all right in this. His character is just an irritating one. I really liked the one ever thinks he's scary, until he's just about to shoot them. Well played by Christopher Waltz.

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