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The Late Bruce Lee was known for such masterpieces as Fist of Fury, Enter The Dragon and Big Boss. However before he started in the world of cinema he had a part in the TV series of The Green Hornet. This TV series was meant to introduce the world to his skills and kick start his career.

Green Hornet, The
Movie
The Green Hornet is based on the radio series of the fifties and was created by George W. Trendle. Van Williams plays Britt Reid (The Green Hornet), who is a newspaper publisher and TV reporter. In his spare time he fights crime with his trusty sidekick Kato (Bruce Lee). The Green Hornet was originally a TV series but for this DVD release some of the episodes have been pieced together to make a feature length film. Whilst being a little disjointed the film moves along at a reasonable pace. For this review I am going to treat the film as three separate parts. Each part lasts about twenty five minutes. The first episode features a gentleman's club that contains some sinister members. The owner of the club is intent on killing people and The Green Hornet is on his list. Whilst having a reasonable storyline this episode is probably the weakest of the trio. It is so bad that I found myself laughing at some of the action scenes. The bad guys have the worst aim since the Storm Troopers in Star Wars. During the episode, the bad guys have several opportunities to kill The Green Hornet from close range but somehow manage to miss!

The second episode takes a completely different twist and introduces UFO (Yep that’s what I said!) into the story. A mysterious plane crash has all the town panicking. Reid realises that the thought of an Alien invasion is not so far fetched when he receives a visit from a group of Aliens. It all turns out to be a hoax as the Green Hornet realises that the Aliens are in fact a group of terrorists led by a nuclear scientist. The scientist is intent on stealing a nuclear bomb and holding the world to ransom. The third episode follows on from this story and pits the Green Hornet against a cult group. The third and final part of this film has the most action and shows flashes of the martial arts skills of Bruce Lee.

Green Hornet, The
I have seen many of Bruce Lee’s films but after watching this film I would not include this as one of my favourites.

Throughout the film he probably only says about 10-15 sentences. Kato is the Hornets sidekick and mostly just kicks and punches people. The action that Lee is involved in is not up to the standard of his later movies and I found it very disappointing. As for the Green Hornet, he is supposed to be the star of the movie but certainly wouldn’t scare me if I came up against him. The Green Hornet is very similar to the Batman TV series. The characters are very similar but The Green Hornet never gets anywhere near the fun and laughs created by the caped crusader. Sadly a TV series which should not have been introduced on the big screen.

Video
This is the first time that the Green Hornet has been available on DVD and is supposed to be remastered from a new 35mm print in its original 1:1.85 theatrical aspect ratio. Well I hate to see what the original print was like as this remastered print is probably the worst I have seen on DVD so far. I realise that this film is over twenty years old but even so the print is in such a bad condition. I own some of Bruce Lee’s other movies on DVD and they are all a hundred times better than this! The picture is grainy and the colours are dull to say the least. Much of this film is shot in the dark and I found it very difficult to see what was happening. Most of this was down to the fact that the other colours in the movie were bland. The black level was good but overall this has to rate as one of the worst DVD transfers of all time!

Green Hornet, The
Audio
The cover for The Green Hornet is very vague about what sound is presented with this film. The Green Hornet has a Dolby 2 Channel soundtrack, which sounds pretty poor by today’s standards but actually is adequate. The Green Hornet had very little sound apart from the dialogue between the main characters. The most important test is how well you can hear Bruce Lee’s screams when fighting and the disc passes that test. Something, which is confusing, is the fact that no subtitles are included with the disc. Subtitles are essential for some people so I am not sure why they have been left off the disc.

Extras
This disc at first glance looks pretty good but actually is average at best. There is a cast section, which allows you to read some notes about the three main characters. I found the Bruce Lee section very interesting as it tells you about his history. All notes are quite thorough. Also included are two photo sections. The first section is called the Green Hornet gallery and had 43 photos taken from the series. The section photo gallery is titled The Green Hornet Movie Gallery and is basically a 2 minute documentary where photos are shown whilst music is played in the background.

Probably the most detailed section is about the Black Beauty. Well the Black Beauty is the special car, which The Green Hornet and Kato drive. The Black Beauty section on the disc contains a history of the car as well as photos. The photos are actually of a Corgi version of the car. I found it a little strange watching a 1-minute video of all angles of a toy car! Also found in this section is a 14 minute documentary on the car with various interviews with the makers of the film.

Also sections, which contain useful reading material, are The Green Hornet – History and The Bruce and Brandon Lee Association. The Lee Association was basically set up to honour the skills of the two actors. There is information about the association and how to join. The last extra on the disc is a trailer for a film called Black Samurai. This is another action movie from the 70’s and is probably worth a look to just laugh at the groovy clothes.

Overall
Overall the extras are good reference material and will probably please people who want to read about the history of the series. It would have been nice to have some commentary or documentary to complement the extensive notes.

I have to admit to being very disappointed with this movie. I keep calling it a movie but in fact it is little more than a 70’s TV series put together to cleverly promote Bruce Lee. The film company are cashing in on the name of Bruce Lee. The cover to this DVD shows Bruce Lee but does not mention The Green Hornet who is the main character in the movie. This film might interest fans of old TV series but don’t expect much from the disc. The picture is probably the worst I have seen (even accounting for the age of the movie) and the extras are a let down as well.


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