The Green Hornet was a masked crime-fighting superhero created in 1936 by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker for radio, but until 2011, the character was best known from the 1960s short-lived single season series which attempted to cash in on the success of the network’s Batman (there were also a couple of crossover episodes).
Van Williams starred as The Green Hornet, a media mogul by day and masked crime-fighter by night, aided of course by Bruce Lee as Kato, his martial arts expert valet/sidekick.
Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau spoofed the show with the character of his manservant Cato (Burt Kwouk) and car ‘The Silver Hornet’ (1978’s Revenge of the Pink Panther).
As a very young kid (and some years after the series had ended), I had a toy version of the Hornet’s car The Black Beauty – something I wish I had kept, as it would now be probably worth an absolute ton of money….
In 2011 Seth Rogen teamed up with regular co-writer Evan Goldberg and French art house director Michel Gondry to bring their vision of the Green Hornet to the screen, with Taiwanese Renaissance Man Jay Chou as Kato.
Coming off the back of his Academy Award for Taratino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009), Christoph Waltz played bad guy Chudnofsky, an insecure scoundrel who harbours his own ambition to be a quasi-supervillain – the crimson clad ‘Bloodnofsky’.
Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, David Harbour, Edward James Olmos and Jamie Harris (especially good as Chudnofsky’s #2 guy Popeye) round out the cast, with James Franco making an amusing cameo at the beginning of the picture:
Reviews were terrible, box office anaemic and Rogen wasn’t happy with the finished product (a “fucking nightmare”) – but (guess what?) I like it.
Chou is great as Kato, Rogen is his usual funny/annoying self and Waltz delivers as Chud/Blood-nofsky:
Have we seen the last of The Green Hornet? A possible sequel was nixed, but in April this year Universal Pictures and Amasia Entertainment announced they were partnering on The Green Hornet and Kato. Hope springs eternal?