“THE GREEN HORNET” (2011) Review

“THE GREEN HORNET” (2011) Review

My memories of the costumed hero, the Green Hornet, are pretty sketchy. I can only recall actor Van Williams portraying the character in the short-lived television series from the mid-1960s, with future martial arts icon, Bruce Lee, portraying his manservant and partner-in-crime fighting, Kato. But if I must be honest, I never saw any of the episodes from the series. My memories of Williams and Lee as the Green Hornet and Kato were limited to their guest appearances on the ABC series, “BATMAN”.

When I had first heard about plans to release a movie about the Green Hornet featuring comic actor, Seth Rogen in the title role, I met the news with less than enthusiasm. One, I have never been a fan of the Green Hornet character. Two, I have never been a fan of Rogen’s at the time. And three, the fact that this new version of “THE GREEN HORNET” was filmed as a comedy-adventure put it completely out of my mind, after I received the news. It was not until the movie was released in theaters and I found myself with nothing else to do for a weekend, when I went ahead and saw the movie.

In a nutshell, “THE GREEN HORNET” is an origins tale about Britt Reid, the playboy heir to a Los Angeles newspaper owner. Following the death of his autocratic father, Britt befriends the latter’s mechanic and assistant – a technical genius and martial arts fighter named Kato. The pair manages to save a couple from being robbed and assaulted one night, while vandalizing a statue of the late James Reid. Inspired by their act of good deed and some close calls with the criminals and the police, Britt and Kato decide to make something of their lives by becoming a masked crime fighting team called the Green Hornet . . . and his unnamed partner. Due to their close call with the police, Britt and Kato pretend to be criminals in order to in order to infiltrate real criminals, and also to prevent their enemies from using innocents against them. Their first target turns out to be a Russian mobster named Benjamin Chudnofsky, who has uniting the criminal families of Los Angeles under his command, and whom James Reid was trying to expose. To get Chudnofsky’s attention, Britt uses his newspaper, The Daily Sentinel as a vehicle to publish articles about the “high-profile criminal” the Green Hornet. Britt hires an assistant and researcher named Lenore Case, who has a degree in criminology, and uses her unwitting advice to raise the Green Hornet’s profile.

What was my opinion of “THE GREEN HORNET”? Honestly? I enjoyed it very much. I found it funny, entertaining, and exciting. First and foremost, the movie possessed plenty of laughs, thanks to Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s script. I usually do not find Rogen all that funny. But I must admit that his attempts at being the big crime fighter, while Kato saved his ass time-and-again, left me in stitches. Realizing that Britt lacked any self-defense skills, Kato created a gun filled with stun gas for the former to use against their enemies. And I found Rogen’s portrayal of Britt’s egotistical reaction to the gun rather hilarious. Not only did “THE GREEN HORNET” provide plenty of laughs, but it also had some first-rate action sequences. My favorites include the Green Hornet and Kato’s encounter with a group of street thugs that led them to a meth lad controlled by Chudnofsky, their attempt to extract themselves from a trap set by the gangster at a construction site and the fight between Britt and Kato at the Reid mansion over the many issues that had developed between the two. But the major sequence that started at the Japanese restaurant and ended at The Daily Sentinel really impressed me and I have to give kudos to Michel Gondry for his direction.

I suppose that Seth Rogen could have portrayed Britt Reid/the Green Hornet in a straight manner, but I do not know if I would have bought it. A more conventional leading man could have been hired for the role, but if I must be honest, I was too impressed by Rogen to really care. Many critics complained that Rogen portrayed Reid/the Green Hornet as a man-child. And he did . . . at first. But the script and Rogen’s performance allowed (or forced) Reid to face the consequences of his massive ego and his decision to become a crime fighter and grow up in a very painful way. I have never heard of Jay Chou, who is a well-known musician and actor from Taiwan. But I must admit that I was very impressed by his performance as Kato, Britt’s talented and exasperated partner-in-crime fighting. His acting style seemed to strongly remind me of Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen’s – very subtle and very quiet. Yet, Chou also displayed a wry sense of humor that I found entertaining. And I was surprised to discover that he managed to convey not only Kato’s resentment and fear that the latter might be regulated to becoming the Green Hornet’s “sidekick”, but also his own egotistical nature. More importantly, his subtle acting style contrasted perfectly with Rogen’s more bombastic style and the two formed a first-rate screen team.

I had been appalled by the news that Christoph Waltz was cast as the main villain in “THE GREEN HORNET”, especially on the heels of his success in 2009’s “INGLORIOUS BASTERDS”. The idea of an acclaimed actor in a costumed hero action movie with comic overtones seemed so beneath him. But after seeing the movie, I am soooo glad that he was cast as the Russian gangster, Benjamin Chudnofsky. He was both hilarious and scary at the same time. Most villains featured in comedy action films tend to be either bland or simply ruthless and scary. Thankfully, Waltz’s Chudnofsky was not bland. But he was scary, ruthless . . . and funny as a middle-aged gangster, suffering from a mid-life crisis. Now, how often does one come across a villain like that in action movies? I had assumed Cameron Diaz’s role as Britt’s assistant, Lenore Case, would be a rehash of the Pepper Potts character from the “IRON MAN” movie franchise. Thankfully, Rogen and Goldberg wrote the Lenore role as an intelligent woman, whose brains provided plenty of information for the Green Hornet and Kato; and as a no-nonsense woman who refused to replay the Tony Stark/Pepper Potts scenario or be in the middle of a love triangle between Britt and Kato, despite their attraction to her. And Diaz perfectly captured all aspects of the Lenore character with her usual charm and skill. I was also impressed by David Harbour’s performance as the charming, yet morally questionable District Attorney, Frank Scanlon. Edward James Olmos was on board to provide solidity as Britt’s personal moral guide and editor of the the Daily Sentinel.

There were a few flies in the ointment in “THE GREEN HORNET”. One came from Tom Wilkinson’s portrayal of Britt’s father, James Reid. I realize that he was portraying a negative authority figure – the cold and demanding father. But his performance came off as bombastic and somewhat flat. I also found the pacing in the movie’s first fifteen minutes rather uneven. Britt’s relationship with his father and the latter’s death seemed to move along at a pace that I found a bit too fast. But at the same time, Chudnofsky’s meeting with a local gangster portrayed by James Franco was conveyed with more depth and at a slower pace. Fortunately, Gondry seemed to have found his pacing after this uneven beginning and movie rolled along with a balanced mixture of action, angst, and laughs.

For Green Hornet purists like actor Van Williams that were upset over Rogen’s comedic interpretation of the crime fighter, there is nothing I can say. I do not particularly agree with them that the movie should have been a straight action-drama. “THE GREEN HORNET” could have been another “BATMAN BEGINS” or even “DAREDEVIL”. Perhaps I would have liked it. But I did enjoy Rogen’s interpretation very much. Hell, I more than liked it. I enjoyed it so much that I saw it in the theaters for a second time and even bought a DVD copy of it. This is probably the first movie that I have ever enjoyed Rogen as an actor. My enjoyment increased tenfold, thanks to his screen chemistry with musician/actor Jay Chou. And this is the first time I have ever enjoyed the story of the Green Hornet.

Transformations in “AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.”


During my viewing of ABC’s “AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.”, I noticed that between Seasons One and Three, certain characters underwent a transformation or acquired powers through certain circumstances.   Of the four characters mentioned below, three of them were transformed, thanks to a mist from a crystal called Terrigen.  This led them to become Inhumans.  The fourth character had been transformed via science experiments conducted by the terrorist agency called HYDRA.  I also noticed that at least three characters also endured a serious physical transformation.  Here they are:

TRANSFORMATIONS IN “AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.”

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Mike Peterson – A civilian who had experienced a severe back injury on the job.  A group called the Centipede Project (which was controlled by HYDRA) recruited him to use their Centipede serum.  The latter acquired new superpowers, but it formula also affected his psyche.  The team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents led by Phil Coulson, saved Petersen, when HYDRA turned on him.  After serving as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent for a while, Peterson was captured by a team of HYDRA agents led by S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent John Garrett, who was betraying the latter.  Garrett and HYDRA transformed Peterson into the Cyborg known as Deathlok.

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Raina – A scientist who believed there were people in the world with the potential for special powers.  She also believed that she might be special, herself.  Due to this belief and her search, Raina was willing to work with HYDRA  Raina was eventually exposed to the Terrigen mist inside an abandoned Kree settlement discovered by Coulson, and transformed into an Inhuman.

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Dr. Andrew Garner – He was a neurologist and forensic psychologist who worked for S.H.I.E.L.D.  He was also married to S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Melinda May, until a traumatic event that she had experienced, led to their divorce.  Dr. Garner and May eventually reconciled and embarked upon a vacation together.  Upon their return, Coulson asked him to examine a book on the history of Inhumans, written by former Inhuman leader, Jiaying.  The book turned out to be a trap for any human, who was exposed by the Terrigen mist from a Terrigen crystal hidden inside it.  Instead of dying, Dr. Garner’s latent  transformed into an Inhuman eventually named Lash.

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Daisy Johnson aka Skye – She was a talented hackvist who was born to future Inhuman leader Jiaying and American medical practitioner named Dr. Calvin Johnson in a Chinese village.  Not long after her birth, HYDRA agents raided the village and kidnapped her mother and a few village elders.  Dr. Johnson left baby Daisy in the hands of trusted villagers in order to find his wife.  S.H.I.E.L.D. agents investigating the massacre found Daisy and brought her back to the U.S.  After living in an orphanage and a series of foster homes, Daisy, who called herself Skye, became a hackvist who exposed the secrets of the U.S. government.  Phil Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. team eventually caught her and recruited her into the agency.  Over a year later, Daisy found herself inside the remnants of the Kree City with Raina.  She was exposed to the same Terrigen mist as Raina, and acquired new powers.  She eventually acquired the nickname, Quake.

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Of the four characters mentioned above, S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Daisy Johnson is the only one who did not endure a complete physical transformation. She is also the only character who is not portrayed by an actor/actress of African descent.

There is another major supporting character who was an Inhuman (or enhanced being) on the show named Gordon. He was the right hand man of Daisy’s mother, Jiaying. Gordon did undergo physical transformation after becoming an Inhuman:


However, Gordon’s physical transformation was not as extensive or extreme as the transformations for Raina, Andrew Garner and Mike Peterson. So, could someone explain why three characters portrayed by actors/actresses of African descent had to undergo such drastic physical changes when they became enhanced beings? Or why the transformation for a fourth character, portrayed by a white actor, was not as extreme? Or why the fifth character – another person who was NOT of African descent, only underwent a name change and haircut when she became an enhanced being?

Five Favorite Episodes of “TURN: WASHINGTON’S SPIES” Season One (2014)

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Below is a list of my five favorite episodes from Season One of AMC” “TURN: WASHINGTON’S SPIES”. Created by Craig Silverstein, the series stars Jamie Bell: 

FIVE FAVORITE EPISODES OF “TURN: WASHINGTON’S SPIES” SEASON ONE (2014)

1 - 1.08 Challenge

1. (1.08) “Challenge” – Against the wishes of Abraham “Abe” Woodhull, one of the Culper Ring spies, fellow spy Anna Strong earches for enemy intelligence at an exclusive gentleman’s party hosted by British spymaster Major John Andre.

2 - 1.10 The Battle of Setauket

2. (1.10) “The Battle of Setauket” – Mary Woodhull discovers that Abe is a rebel spy. Other members of the spy ring, Major Benjamin Tallmadge and Lieutenant Caleb Brewster, lead a raid on the Long Island community, Setauket, to save the local Patriot families.

3 - 1.05 Epiphany

3. (1.05) “Epiphany” – During the 1776 Christmas holidays, Caleb and Ben follow mysterious orders, while General George Washington’s army crosses into enemy territory in New Jersey. Meanwhile, one of Anna’s recently freed slaves, Abigail, agrees to spy for the Rebels after she is assigned to work for Major Andre, if the former would agree to look after her son Cicero.

4 - 1.09 Against Thy Neighbor

4. (1.09) “Against Thy Neighbor” – British Army Captain John Graves Simcoe (at least the fictional version) ignites a political witch-hunt to weed out rebel conspirators in Setauket. General Washington assigns Ben to a secret mission.

5 - 1.06 Mr. Culpepper

5. (1.06) “Mr. Culpeper” – En route to New York, Abe is ambushed by a desperate patriot. Washington charges Ben with the task of creating America’s first official spy ring.