Studio: Columbia (1hr. 48 min.)
Plot: Based the short-lived 1960’s television show about a newspaper publisher turned masked vigilante.
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Edward James Olmos, Christopher Waltz
Bottom Line: ***
By Laurence Washington
Fans of the 1966 television show, “The Green Hornet,” will probably enjoy this 2011 outing, but they won’t get too excited about it.
First, it can be quite farcical, unlike the original series, which was more dark and serious. A slimmed down Seth Rogen stars as Brett Reid, the publisher of the Daily Sentential, a big city newspaper he inherits when his father is murdered. However, Reid has little interest in running a newspaper until he meets Kato (Jay Chou), his father's auto mechanic and official coffee maker. Kato is also a gadget master. When Reid gets a look at what Kato can do, the pair decide to become crime fighters with a twist. Instead of posing as good guys, which would make their friends and families vulnerable to retaliation, Reid and Kato pretend to be villains so they can catch the bad guys.
Fans of the television series might be disappointed that Rogen’s portrayal of Brett Reid is goofy, whereas Van Williams played Reid with more edge in the 1966 version. Cameron Diaz plays Lenore Case, Reid’s secretary, but there’s not much for her to do except flash her signature smile for 90 minutes.
Not to give too much away, but Rogen, who also doubles as co-writer, gives a nod and a wink to the late Bruce Lee who of course played Kato in the original series. And then there is a scene at a construction site where the filmmakers pay homage to the television show. Taken on it’s own terms, “The Green Hornet” is a fun filled rollercoaster ride with plenty of thrills and explosions. Although it’s filmed in 3-D, the filmmakers to their credit didn’t turn it into a coming-at-you motion picture.