“One step forward, two steps back” really typifies what this project has been for about 19 years. But rejoice, fellow movie buffs, after such a long drawn-out saga, The Green Hornet has finally reached the adult stage of its life cycle.


This superhero action-comedy film by Sony Pictures suffered years of ignominy after progress was stifled by numerous setbacks, which plagued the production even before filming began.

[Click here for our coverage of The Green Hornet press conference in Singapore]

Whispers from the set abounded, from the creative differences between then director, Stephen Chow, and lead actor Seth Rogen, to the uncertainty of who was going to play the role of the villain, the most absurd of rumours being that Nicholas Cage wanted to portray the Russian antagonist with a Jamaican accent.

So the question is, did all the time invested in this make this film worth it?


The Michel Gondry-directed 3D film follows the hard-partying Britt Reid, played by the very hilarious The 40 year-old Virgin and Knocked Up star, Seth Rogen.

His penchant for over-the-top parties has repeatedly got him into trouble with his father, James Reid, LA’s most prominent media magnate. Of course, an epiphany strikes Junior after his father’s sudden death, which ultimately left him with a huge media empire.

He forms an unlikely friendship with his father’s former employee Kato, played by Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou. Together, they would fight crime and take down L.A.’s seedy underworld of drugs and the mobster boss behind it, Benjamin Chudnofsky.

But wait, there’s ingenuity on Reid’s part as he suggests that they pose as villains to get closer to the real villains, sort of like cops going undercover. What trouble can they get into, right?


Kato uses his superb engineering skills to conceive the Black Beauty, a real stunner (it’s a Chrysler Imperial), and they’re ready to go.

Yes, what you see in the trailer is pretty much what you get. There’s no substantial development of the plot, this is after all a comic book hero, and its characters while the film just ploughs through each scene with poor transition.

Also, Jay Chou’s lack of grasp of the language is seen quite often – some of the dialogue is barely audible. Then again, since he always sounds like he’s talking with his mouth full even in his native Mandarin, what makes you think it’ll be any different when he’s speaking in a second language?

But hey, it’s his first English language film and we must say that Jay performed better than we expected. Hands up if you were expecting voice-over dubbing.

Co-written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the movie is undoubtedly carried by the superhero-sidekick concept, and the main leads gel together well.

The dynamic duo’s on-screen chemistry is like a yin and yang of sorts, combining Rogen’s signature buffoonery with a tinge of charm, and Chou’s deadpan, unassuming portrayal as the ass-kicking car mechanic.

Quite simply, it works. The chaos that ensues between the clashing personalities in The Green Hornet makes up for the plot deficiencies and makes the movie fun and silly enough to watch.


While Christoph Waltz, who won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Hans Landa in the film Inglorious Basterds doesn’t quite give the same award-winning performance in this flick, he does give crime lord Chudnofsky a very convincing “mafia boss” aura.


On the other hand, UrbanWire fails to understand Cameron Diaz’s presence in the film other than to add star power. Playing the attractive but undeveloped Lenore Case character, she seems to contribute as much as one of the many cars in the grand Reid household – pretty to look at, and no more.

Something that Gondry has brought to the table that has made the action sequences that much more fun was the Kato-vision, where during a rush of adrenaline, Kato immediately senses everything in slow-motion, and concurrently displays his super-human speed that astounds all the baddies.

This playful flick opened with a fairly respectable US$40 million (S$51 million) in the United States, and well, what better way to kick off Chinese New Year than with a big bang (or hornet’s sting)?

Movie: The Green Hornet
Rating: ★★★✩✩
27 Jan 2011

Duration: 119 mins
Language: English
Age Rating: PG
Genre: Action

Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz