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The Green Hornet / Rated PG-13 for violence, drug use and language

My antennae went up when this film, originally scheduled for release last summer, came out January 2011. January is a month when the new movies are usually leftovers or being released early in the year to avoid the big competition that comes in late spring and summer. The Green Hornet turned out to be a pleasant early winter surprise.

Seth Rogen, comedian, takes on the main role as Britt Reid, wealthy inheritor, playboy and wastrel. You would expect more from a character related to the Lone Ranger. SR also co-wrote the screenplay and co-produced the film. He lost 30 lbs. in order to look somewhat in shape for the role. He still looks and acts like Will Ferrell except a little younger.

Like the 1966-67 TV show, it is once again stolen by the sidekick. Jay Chou takes over the role, which made Bruce Lee famous as the martial artist Kato. He is a mechanical genius and the brains of the duo. SR tries to keep up but no matter what he does he acts like a Will Ferrell wanabee.

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Eventually the pair suits up as superheroes to take on the big crime king played by Oscar winner Christoph Waltz who is doing his best to bring a bad guy to the forefront of the movie. He succeeded in Inglourious Basterds (2009) and is set to try the same ploy in the upcoming 1,942nd remake of The Three Musketeers (due out 10/2011) as Cardinal Richelieu. And, no, he is not playing an evil baseball player from St. Louis.

The new Green Hornet is a cross between a comedy and a typical super hero flick. Seth R tries to be funny and occasionally succeeds but is in way over his head trying to be a believable super hero. Fortunately Jay Chou has no such issues. He is both funny and terrific in his Kung Fu scenes. Cameron Diaz shows up as the secretary; other roles include Oscar winner Tom Wilkinson as the dad of the wastrel and James Edward Olmos as the dad’s newspaper editor.

Despite Seth, the film moves along at a fine clip with big action set pieces providing lots of activity. The big stunts appear well staged and expensive. Considering the release date, this film appears to be on the way to being financially successful so a sequel will probably be along sometime in 2012. As long as Jay Chou/Kato is given significant kicking time I will be there.

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