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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.

Everybody Loves Kato

Green Hornet and Kato

Seth Rogen and Jay Chou in The Green Hornet

Last night, I had the opportunity to watch The Green Hornet in IMAX 3-D. While I plan to submit a full review to LoveHKFilm.com in the next few days, it probably won’t get posted for awhile, and thus, may not seem very timely for US readers of this website. With that in mind, I thought I’d at least scribble down my initial impressions here.

UPDATE: My full review has been posted here, which incorporates the ramblings from below in a semi-coherent fashion.

1. Despite its tortured production history and non-traditional casting of its leading character, The Green Hornet amounted to a surprisingly entertaining buddy comedy. The film sends up the now tired superhero movie genre, largely by subverting the conventional hero/sidekick dynamic to much comic effect. Whatever its problems, The Green Hornet holds together due to its infectious sense of humor and the palpable chemistry between the two seemingly mismatched leads. Credit has to go to co-screenwriters Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg for finding a way to make an increasingly stale film genre seem fresh and inventive, even if the film itself has some definite problems.

2.  Believe it or not, Jay Chou practically owns this movie. I didn’t miss Stephen Chow at all. I would go so far to guess that even people who don’t like the movie will still like Kato. Whatever Chou’s difficulties with the English language may be, this could be a real breakout role for him, depending on how the film does at the box office. Although Bruce Lee is never far from one’s mind while watching Kato in action, Chou possesses a quiet, understated charisma that contrasts well with Rogen’s talky over-exuberance as the Green Hornet (aka Britt Reid).

3. Whether or not you like The Green Hornet may hinge entirely on how you take Britt Reid as a character. He is undeniably selfish, lazy, loutish, and a little stupid, but I also found Rogen’s unbridled enthusiasm to be infectious and oddly endearing. While he may be the worst waste of space imaginable — a spoiled rich kid — Rogen is able to make you believe that Reid wants to be a better person and help people; he is just too immature to know how to achieve those goals in a remotely intelligent way. Certainly, Britt Reid can be annoying, but that’s largely by design — I think our sympathies are always supposed to be with Kato (see the incredibly startling “get me coffee” scene for evidence of that). Whatever you think of the character, Rogen’s energy and comic timing are undeniably part of what gives the film its momentum.

4. Rounding out the cast is Cameron Diaz and Christoph Waltz. Diaz is a trooper in her largely thankless role as Lenore Case. It’s hard to tell whether she’s miscast or misused, but it seems to be a little of both. Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) is quite amusing as the film’s main antagonist, Chudnofsky. While enjoying his position as the number one crime boss in Los Angeles, Chudnofsky is also undergoing a mid-life crisis, constantly worried whether he is menacing enough to others and often soliciting advice from henchmen and rivals alike to improve his image. As amusing as that may sound, the premise of a neurotic arch-villain is decidedly funnier than the actual execution of it.

There’s a lot more I can say, but I’ll save it for later. While largely mixed reviews of the film may have indicated otherwise, I thought The Green Hornet was a fun popcorn movie that works despite every indication that it probably shouldn’t. Stay tuned to the main site for a more detailed review at some later date — hopefully it’ll be ready well ahead of the film’s eventual Hong Kong release.

One Response to “Everybody Loves Kato”

  1. Gordon Torrado Says:

    lol, I want to be with Cameron! She’s so gorgeous.

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