Monday, January 24, 2011

‘Hornet’ horses around

Bored party boy Britt Reid inherits a fortune and fights crime with his trusty mechanic Kato in the campy but amusing comedy-action flick “The Green Hornet,” re-imagined and starring Seth Rogen and Jay Chou as the new masked vigilantes.

While it only vaguely resembles its previous counterparts, this new “Green Hornet” transitions smoothly into its contemporary setting, jettisons its serious pulp hero trappings for a more cartoony but nonetheless sturdy reality, and works as a straightforward action-comedy. Now, the love triangle between Reid, Kato, and 30-something secretary Lenore (Cameron Diaz) feels forced, but she’s written competently even if she’s just someone who mostly fills in the blanks for the bungling, newbie crimefighter.

As for the archfoe, aging LA crimelord Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), he’s actually a badass, as those muscling in on his territory discover quickly. He’s quite two-dimensional, but he’s a necessary component to the comedic dynamic. And speaking of laughs, the boss-servant relationship between Reid and Kato evolves spiritedly into brotherly rapport; both characters get creative when they put their crime-stopping plans into motion, and often elicit hearty giggles in the process.

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