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Green Hornet, The (Blu-ray Review)

4 May, 2011 By: John Latchem

Sony Pictures
Action Comedy
Box Office $98.8 million
$28.95 DVD, $34.95 Blu-ray, $49.95 Blu-ray 3D combo pack
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of violent action, language, sensuality and drug content.
Stars Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz, David Harbour, Edward James Olmos.

I’m not as familiar with the Green Hornet as I am with some of the other costumed heroes from his era, such as Superman and Batman. I know that Hornet predates most of the superheroes, having debuted on radio in 1936, and later in comic books, film serials and a notable 1960s TV show starring Van Williams in the title role and Bruce Lee as his sidekick, Kato. But this latest adaptation, produced by, written by and starring Seth Rogen, seems like a nonchalant treatment of the mythology, almost as if it were a satirical take on the idea of a vigilante crimefighter.

It covers the basic origin of the Green Hornet, as wealthy playboy Britt Reid (Rogen) inherits his father’s media empire and decides to turn his resources toward a life of adventure fighting crime as a masked vigilante. He and Kato (played by Chinese music superstar Jay Chou) cross paths with L.A. crime boss Chudnofsky (played by Oscar-winner Christophe Waltz), inciting a bloody gang war. But nobody seems to be taking any of this seriously, as the hero and villain are basically morons committed to destroying as much around them as possible when they fight.

The film contains a lot of good concepts and a few fun scenes that are left at the mercy of a weak screenplay by Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg (Superbad). The film’s salvation comes primarily with its striking visual style, thanks to some ingenious direction from Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), including one sequence where the camera seems to split into multiple frames as some bad guys spread the word of their plan. It all adds up to what should be an entertaining distraction for a couple of hours during the weekend.

The extras are quite outstanding. The DVD includes a good commentary with the filmmakers, a gag reel, and nice featurettes about writing the film (most of the influence seems to have been the 1960s TV show) and building the Hornet’s gadget-laden Black Beauty car (also based on the TV show).

But you’ll have to get the Blu-ray to see the deleted scenes, which include an extended cut of a climactic car chase that feels like it lasts for 20 minutes. Other Blu-ray extras include a Gondry featurette, a “Finding Kato” featurette, a profile of the Armstrong Family stunt team and a featurette celebrating the film’s desire to blow up everything in sight.

Also included is “The Green Hornet Cutting Room,” a film-school lite that lets viewers re-edit some scenes from the film.

About the Author: John Latchem

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