No News is Bad News. Join the SA Current Press Club.

The Green Hornet 

That the 1966 television adaptation of radio’s beloved “Green Hornet” was billed as The Kato Show in Hong Kong, pretty much sums up this 2011 Green Hornet. It’s about fighting evil, walking away from explosions, and having cool one-liners, sure, but the real drama is the conflict going on between Seth Rogen’s playboy “hero” and pop-star Jay Chou’s deadly serious “sidekick.” Any bad guys that get taken down aren’t so much defeated as they’re ground up between the egos of the Green Hornet and Kato.

It’s very smartly written, I’m saying. The majority of superhero movies get so interested in being grand and epic, in having the whole world hang in the balance of this or that impossible feat, that there’s not enough focus left over for the characters. Not so this time around. These heroes are real, fumblers and bumblers and petty just like us, not boy scouts we could never live up to. However, very unlike us, they do get to drive Black Beauty, a car so gadget-laden that James Bond’s Q would have to blush. And, yes, thanks to cutaways and effects, Chou is able to channel a bit of Bruce Lee into his Kato, just as Seth Rogen is able to channel Seth Rogen, and Cameron Diaz still has that Mary smile. We’d have it no other way.

Also, this time in keeping with the other superhero movies, the hero never really has proper definition, never really comes into his own, until his very presence spawns, of course, a cartoonish arch-nemesis. It’s what Shyamalan was telling us in Unbreakable. It’s what Joker’s been telling Bats for years. And so it is here, except now it’s not all grim and dark. It’s — as the trailer suggests, and in spite of how cheap human life is this time around — funny. Very funny. There were times the audience was laughing so hard I couldn’t hear the actors. However, all that laughter is a setup, it’s distraction: the real story, the one that sneaks in and works on our hearts and our minds, is how discovering your own sense of (yes) integrity can inform your “secret” life and somehow save the city. Underneath all that, though, Green Hornet is just a simple “fill these shoes, son”-story, a coming-of-age-twenty-years-late thing. And we kind of love it for being so simple and so fun, without pretending otherwise.


San Antonio Current works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of San Antonio and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep San Antonio's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 13, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2021 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation