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Green Hornet (2011)

01/01/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Green Hornet (2011) in the USA - or Buy Green Hornet (2011) in the UK

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Region 2 DVD: Sony Pictures CDR51556. 114 minute film with extras. Price: about GBP 5.00 (UK) if you know where to look. cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz and Cameron Diaz.

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It was inevitable that a super-hero film would be made where it was played up for laughs than grim violence, although this film tends to mix them both up well together. In an odd way, the choice of ‘Green Hornet’ is odder considering that the last TV series was back in the 1960s as a stable-mate to the ‘Batman’ send-up but played straight-laced and didn’t last long.

In many respects, this ‘Green Hornet’ is more akin to the films where the side-kick is the driving force behind the duo such as with the 1988 film ‘Without A Clue’ than with the lead character. In that respect, the wealthy Britt Reid (actor Seth Rogen) could not have the technological savvy to create the weaponry and vehicle transport, Black Beauty car – even if it was never called that in the film. If anything, other than wealth and a goal, Kato (actor Jay Chou) would have been the ideal super-hero. Instead, he is all things that Reid is not other than the motivation to go out and sort out the crimewave of the city unless it was in his face.

Saying that, Reid’s reasons for fighting crime here comes more by accident and realising what he could do with the toys Kato created than by deliberation. Playing it up from there as posing as the bad guys because of some earlier footage at his father’s statue than play for heroics was just something they fell into. That and owning the Daily Sentinel newspaper which could unwittingly perpetuate the myth as they secretly moved in on the city crime gang or rather gang as Chudnofsky (actor Christoph Waltz) had his own means to remove any opposition plus a corrupt district attorney whom we shouldn’t really talk about.

If anything, the film of more about the relationship between Reid and Kato than the bad guys so could also be interpreted as a buddy-buddy movie. However, the balance between all these elements works out quite nicely with the laughs at their antics rather than giving a wink at the audience.

It would be interesting to see if they would attempt a sequel but so much is encapsulated here that it might come off second-best in comparison.

The audio commentary which includes its star and writer, Seth Rogen, and others chipping in does keep your attention as they point out where people get cut when scenes are removed and how many of the extras were friends and family. Cameron Diaz was only there for nine days of filming and how much re-scripting was done in post-production. Rogen makes a good point that the bigger the budget, the more the studio keeps an eye on how their money is spent. To some extent, I can understand that but you would think that if they trust a producer/director combination with a big budget and to spend wisely, breathing down their neck might not always be a good idea.

The extras centre on the gag reel, the script and especially that of the Black Beauty car itself. In the audio commentary, Rogen points out that he would like to have shown replacement cars being used all around the city whenever one is trashed. If this film ever gets to a sequel, maybe he will get his wish.

With all the other super-hero films out in 2011, I suspect ‘Green Hornet’ slipped through the cracks in the pavement for a lot of you. On DVD, it is likely to become a cult favourite and at least achieve some longevity. It is also very funny.

GF Willmetts

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