Sunday, January 23, 2011
A Greenhorn Once
It was my 12th birthday when I watched “The Green Hornet” at Golden Gate Theatre along Gen. Dunckel Street here in San Jose, Mindoro. I remember that Bruce Lee, my childhood movie hero, had been long dead when the original film was shown. As a gift, my uncle gave me two pesos so I quickly ran across the street, lined towards the petite, old, fat lady with a big mole on her right chin who was inside the ticket booth. As I have told you before, aside from my favorite swordsmen, Bruce Lee, the first Chinese fist that shook Hollywood, also became part of my childhood memories. His last film, “Enter the Dragon”, has a little connection with important family predicament we are currently in.
If it’s Lee, it’s got to be martial arts all the way and the philosophy behind it in part. Because of Kato (Lee, as co-star), “The Green Hornet” – adapted from a radio serial in the ‘30s and TV show in the ‘60s – became popular in widescreens especially in Asia (During our days, even the 1974 ABC championship games were shown in theaters).
Today, January 23, is my birthday and the re-make of “The Green Hornet” is showing in major cinemas in Manila for five days now. According to reports, the film is raking money from the viewers and still a top grosser in the US and elsewhere. The picture sold about $34 million worth of tickets during the three days beginning January 14, 2011, said its distributor, Columbia Pictures. “The Green Hornet” 2011 edition is directed by Michael Gondry, starring Seth Rogen as “Britt Reid”, the callow cowboy, and the new “Kato”, his driver-mechanic and side-kick, is Jay Chou. Seth Rogen also wrote the story.
Based on what I’ve just seen from its short trailer on TV and reading from film critics throughout the net like Florence Waters of UK-based “The Telegraph”, the new “Green Hornet” is no longer Karate neither a Kung Fu oriented flick unlike the original. According to some movie critics, that’s where the big disappointment lies. The 3D gadget-weapons, SFX and such dimensions in this movie kicked into limbo the martial arts and martial art actors all the way. When I was young, the combination of body, mind and spirit is more important than any device, apparel or gadget.
Those were the days when I was still a greenhorn.
In this new version “Kato” is played by Taiwanese musician Jay Chou. In real life Chou can play piano, guitar, cello, flute, zither and jazz drum – but people doubt if in real life he can do push-ups using only his two fingers or break a wooden board using his bare fist.
What movie buffs like most about the original characters of “The Green Hornet” was their message: real super-heroes are not ego-centered individuals who don fancy costumes; they are clever but quick and humble. They use their inner-strength and they bow before they leave the crime scene. The people who first brought us “The Green Hornet” showed us and conceived and brought to world a martial arts hero in Bruce Lee. And the new “Green Hornet” gave us its exact opposite that almost made Lee and other martial artists who passed away rise from their graves.
But maybe times are changing now. People love gadgets more than their inner and physical strengths. People love machines and devices more than their fellowmen. There are instances that teen-agers are stabbed to death by snatchers for holding on to their I-pods and modern cellular phones. They will keep their gadgets even more than their dear lives. Or even kill to have them.
Or perhaps that’s really how things are today. I do not understand it because maybe I am getting old. Youngsters may call it generation gap but allow me to simply put it this way: I am no longer a greenhorn…
(Photo from Google Images)