Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | “Green Hornet” trailer shows Kato’s role as much more than just a butt-kicking sidekick & valet
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“Green Hornet” trailer shows Kato’s role as much more than just a butt-kicking sidekick & valet

First of all, I can now see that there’s some comedic logic to casting Seth Rogan as the Green Hornet (and his alter-ego Britt Reid), and that he may be able to pull off a superhero vibe after all.

Second, I can hardly wait to see the movie to enjoy Jay Chou as Kato, and the fact that he’s really the superhero of the story, building the “Black Beauty” limo and kicking serious butt with his martial arts skills. Oh yeah, he’s the valet/chauffeur, all right… but so much more.

It’ll be interesting to see if the movie explores Kato’s ethnicity.

The character was originally Japanese in the 1930s radio serial (his name was Ikano Kato), then changed before WWII to a Filipino, and has also been portrayed as Korean. “Kato” is a Japanese name, pronounced “Kah-toh” instead of “Kay-toe.” I don’t remember what ethnicity he was in the 1960s TV show, which I loved as a kid.

The Green Hornet” ran on ABC for just one season, in 1966 and ’67. It was approved as a series because of the success of “Batman,” which debuted earlier in 1966 and ran for two seasons. “Batman” was campy, and silly, but “Green Hornet” was darker, and serious.

One reason I got into the show, even as a kid, was because of the Asian hero, a rarity back in the day. The show influenced me enough that years later, in high school, when I drove my friends around, I jokingly called myself “Kato.” Bruce Lee was introduced to the world through this role, and and he became a superstar afterwards.

Let’s see where Chou goes from here.

(Via Angry Asian Man. Partially cross-posted from my Posterous blog)