In the days before television ruled the living room and the film industry was still in its infancy, radio was king and it was the radio serials of the golden age that introduced listeners to The Green Hornet.
Created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker using the template of The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet was meant to be a hero for the modern age. Together with Kato, Britt Reid, founder of The Sentinel newspaper; moonlights as a masked vigilante to fight crime. As the character gained popularity he was featured in a number of films during the 1940’s and a television show in the 1960’s. There have also been Green Hornet comics in production since the 1940’s.
Fast forward to 2011. The Green Hornet and his sidekick haven’t changed much in the costume department, but what has changed is how the hero comes to be.
In the film, Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is the son of The Sentinel newspaper founder James Reid (Tom Wilkinson) and has little interest in his father’s business because; from Britt’s perspective, James has always looked down on his son. As a result, we are introduced to a Britt Reid who has nothing better to do than party.
The story takes a turn after a sad event which both Britt and Kato have an emotional reaction to and decide to go do something crazy. It is during this act of spontaneous chaotic deployment that Britt and Kato have an opportunity to be heroes. Unfortunately for them, the act of rebellion becomes the media focus, not the heroism.
They choose to use this misfortune to their advantage and pose as criminals infringing on the territory of the underground in hopes to eradicate that same crime syndicate. Thus, the infamous Green Hornet and his sidekick are born.
While the plot is a simple one, the action is the opposite. The fight sequences with Kato are ingeniously choreographed and the rest of the action is satisfyingly…explosive.
Seth Rogen and Jay Chou have a chemistry that is both funny and serious at the same time giving a cadence to the film that helps move the story along. Christoph Waltz is delightful as Chudnofsky, a crime boss aspiring to be scarier and more intimidating. At times Chudnofsky is oddly comedic, which gives a dimension to his persona that no other actor could have achieved. Cameron Diaz also appears in the film as Lenore Case, Britt Reid’s secretary.
In short, go see The Green Hornet. It is sure to sting you and you’ll just love that it did.