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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

The Green Hornet and Kato Strike Back!


Seth Rogen as Britt Reid and Jay Chou as Kato in The Green Hornet (2011)

I’m honestly surprised that The Green Hornet has finally been made. For a while there, it looked like it’d never see the light of day. The film has had a long, tortuous production history. In the 1990s, there were vague rumors of an impending film involving George Clooney, but the most concrete development came when Kevin Smith (Clerks) wrote a screenplay in 2004. However, Smith got cold feet about helming the film himself and backed out of the director’s chair (although he did later adapt the script into a comic for Dynamite Entertainment).

Without Smith’s involvement, the project then languished in development hell until we got the surprising news  that Stephen Chow would both direct and star in the new film, alongside Seth Rogen, who would play against type as Britt Reid, the titular Green Hornet. But soon enough, Chow was off the project as both actor and director due to “creative differences” and announced he would be instead pursuing a different superhero film with Jack Black (!). More delays ensued.

And then, Michel Gondry, director of The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, came aboard as director and Taiwanese actor-singer Jay Chou was cast in the role of Kato. Still more delays ensued when Sony decided to post-convert the film to 3-D, which isn’t a good sign if it’s true what people have been saying about post-converted 3-D films like Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender (i.e. the 3-D sucked).

Running from Fireball

Still, I’m hoping it’ll be a fun movie. The film looks polished enough, but its success seems to hinge on a) whether or not we buy Seth Rogen as an action hero and b) whether or not Seth Rogen and Jay Chou have any chemistry whatsoever. In the case of the latter, that’s really hard to tell from just a trailer. And really, I’m wondering just how the hell they’re going to explain away Kato’s valet outfit. As a side note, fans of Kato might want to check out the Asian American-themed graphic novel Secret Identities. Entitled “The Blue Scorpion,” the best story in the bunch features a Kato stand-in who is clearly superior to the drunken, racist Green Hornet analogue that he works for, and has to figure out why he continues to partner with this low-rent superhero at all.

GH and K

Van Williams as the Green Hornet and Bruce Lee as Kato

But back to the movie — I’m wondering, does anybody really care about the Green Hornet himself? Sure, the character has existed for awhile, but I’d guess that most people’s interest begins and ends with Kato, ever since Bruce Lee got cast in the 60s TV show. The Green Hornet may have the snazzier costume and the Lone Ranger connection, but Kato is the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be. Or was that Bret “The Hitman” Hart? I get confused sometimes.

Y’know, in some alternate universe, Stephen Chow is directing and starring in a Green Hornet movie with the tagline: “Kato is the Green Hornet.” Now that would be something. But in this universe, we’ll have to take what we can get.

Without further ado, here’s the international trailer for 2011’s The Green Hornet:



2 Responses to “The Green Hornet and Kato Strike Back!”

  1. CeeFu Says:

    Is there any way I can teleport to that alternative universe? I KNOW that Kato is the more adept of the two, and I sense that they are making the Green Hornet even sillier than he was in the tv show, and the film appears to have sufficient gadgetry and car chases and explosions, but Kato is still driving the car, ala Driving Miss Daisy! Will I see it? Probably…….at the cheapy movie theater or more likely DVD. It still bothers me, decades after the original, that nobody thinks we just want to see Kato.

  2. Lee Moy Says:

    Jay Chow acting is as good as a door.

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