I can probably count on one hand the number of people who actually know who The Green Hornet is these days. It’s likely that more people know who Kato is since he was portrayed by the great Bruce Lee on television in the 1960s. But regardless of how well-known the pulp hero is, everyone’s favorite stoner film star, Seth Rogen has donned the emerald overcoat and hat and teamed up with Jay Chou to bring The Green Hornet to the big screen for the first time since the character’s introduction in 1936. (Since then, the Hornet and Kato have appeared in television, radio, and comics, but never in a theatical movie.)
From early stages of production, the film was plagued with turmoil. Actor/director Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle) was originally slated to direct and co-star as Kato. That fell through. Nicolas Cage was close to being cast as the film’s villain. That didn’t happen. The film’s original relase date was June 25th, 2010. That obvioulsy won’t happen either. But, throughout all this nonsense, director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine…) and co-writer/star Seth Rogen have managed to finally get this film made. Will it be any good? Too early to tell. But we’re finally getting a look at what is coming now that the first trailer has hit.
As a fan, I’m not terribly encouraged by what this trailer depicts. Rogen is portraying Britt Reid as a wide-eyed, seemingly naive noob who thinks it would be cool to fight crime as a vigilante. A bit of a departure from the original character’s noble crusade to rid his beloved city of corruption. I know what you’re thinking. Sounds just like Batman, which is probably why they’re going with the approach they’ve chosen. Also, I really hope they explain why Kato has all of this fancy crime-fighting equipment (including the Black Beauty) in his garage. I have many more questions and concerns, but I should probably quit while I’m ahead. I guess we’ll just have to wait until next year to see how it all plays out.
The Green Hornet hits theaters on January 14th, 2011.