I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

The Karate Kid (2010 remake)

tn_karatekidremake“Dad, I’m bored. Can I do another movie? Can we do PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS 2 or something?”

“Of course not, Jaden. You know we don’t do sequels in this family. Except for the Matrix.”

“That’s not true, dad. You did Men in Black 2 and Bad Boys 2 and you might do Independence Day 2.”

“Exactly! Y’knowhumseen? Ha ha ha!” (charming smile)

“Well, maybe you can get me in a remake. Mr. Bay does remakes all the time.”

“I’ll tell you what, J. You be good, Big Willie style, and I’ll produce a remake for you. What do you want to remake, you want to remake Good Burger or something?”

“Transporter 2!”

“No no no, too violent, J. Rated PG only.”

“But dad, even Spider-man is PG-13! I’m not a baby!”

“Son, do you want to do a remake or not?”

“Fine fine fine. But can Jason Statham be in it?”

“No, he’s rated R. How ’bout Jackie Chan? Do some kung fu?”

“Dad, I’m not a baby! I’m not remaking the Tuxedo!”

“How ’bout the Karate Kid? I’ll buy the Karate Kid, you and Jackie Chan.”

“I thought you said kung fu?”

“Yeah, the Karate Kid! You’ll do kung fu!”

“Karate is from Japan, dad. Kung fu is from China. Didn’t you get tutored at all when you were a kid?”

“Don’t get smart with me, son. Do you want to be the Karate Kid or do you want to go to your rooms?”

“Ah, man. Do I even need to say it?”

“Say what?”

“You know, dad.”

“No I don’t. What do you need to say?”

“Well, it was the title of a Grammy winning song by the forgotten novelty rappers Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.”

“Go to your rooms. Now!”

“Yes sir.”

“And to think I was gonna try to get the PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS guy to direct you again. Nuh uh. I’m calling the guy who did PINK PANTHER 2.”


mp_karatekidremakeTHE KARATE KID remake is a weird one. It uses the classic story of a skinny kid raised by a single mother moving to a new city, getting in a fight because of a girl, getting the reluctant help of the apartment maintenance man to learn martial arts through chores, then entering a tournament and pulling an upset on the bullies despite a leg injury. So I guess that’s enough the same that you gotta call it KARATE KID and not NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER.

At the same time they made some pretty huge adjustments that change the whole thing. Mainly it’s that instead of moving to California he has to move all the way to China. That changes everything. It’s not just that he doesn’t know anybody at the school, he doesn’t even know the language, doesn’t understand the culture, could easily insult people by accident and get himself into trouble. And since it’s Jackie Chan he doesn’t learn karate, he learns kung fu. In one part I think he was watching a karate instructional video, but I think they cut out the part from the trailer where the bullies called him The Karate Kid. So as far as I could tell there’s no explanation for the title. I didn’t think they would be that lazy about it.

The other big change is the age. Will Smith’s son Jaden plays Dre, he’s a couple years younger than Daniel-San. Not a big change, you would think, until you watch the movie and see how a little thing like that shifts the whole context. Now they’re not in high school, they’re at a pre-sex age, so the bully being so possessive of the girl seems weirder. I suspect racism. The “no mercy” teacher seems even more irresonsible because he’s dealing with younger kids, and the almost UFC level of fighting in the tournament seems insane. No way is a kids tournament gonna allow elbows to the head! And the Miyagi character, Mr. Han, still works on repairing an old car, but he can’t give it to his student like in the original, because he’s not old enough to drive, and anyway most people don’t drive cars here, so I doubt it would have any of the beginning-of-manhood and courting-the-ladies significance that it had in California.

Chan is good as Mr. Han, and it’s really cool to see him doing a little acting and not just mugging. He’s a little harsh to the kid and has some emotional scenes. Of course, he’s not as great of a character as Mr. Miyagi with his froggy voice. But I like that it’s a different approach, hiring a real martial artist who you really would want to learn from. And he gets to fight. Against kids, though.

Yeah, there’s no skeleton costumes, but Dre does splash them with water and gets chased down, and Mr. Han intervenes. But in the original Miyagi is a little old man and the bullies are big broad-shouldered jock dudes, he’s the underdog in that fight. With Jackie Chan vs. kids you don’t got the same dynamic. He does a trademark Jackie Chan make-them-hit-each-other technique, but still.

Smith is really charismatic, less whiny than Daniel-San, more relatable I think. But I noticed he jokes exactly like his dad, and I’m not sure we need Will Smith 2.0, at least not the “funny” Will Smith. I like serious Will Smith better.

In the tournament I was impressed at first that it seemed like he really knew how to fight a little. In the original it didn’t seem like Daniel had learned jack shit, and I couldn’t believe he was allowed to compete with those guys. The remake has almost the reverse problem: he’s too good. What? I know there was some montages, but when did he learn all this shit? He does a flip and kicks the guy on the top of his head!

It’s an interesting depiction of China, not like you usually see in movies. He lives in an urban neighborhood with a nice park nearby where people hang out. There’s an American white kid in his building (playing the part of the neighbor who, in the original, invited him to the beach party and then disappeared).

Taraji P. Henson of course is lovable as the mom, as always. When she’s surprised to hear that the maintenance man is teaching kung fu Dre says “It’s China. Everybody knows kung fu.” Which is okay for him to say because earlier his white friend threw him a basketball and said “You play, right?” (the answer turns out to be yes, but not very well. Take that, stereotypes!)

Unlike the original movie this one then goes into some mystical kung fu business. When you learn karate you just go out onto a beach to practice, but with kung fu you go up a mountain to watch magical kung fu warriors including a woman staring down a cobra. (I like when Dre tries to do that trick on his mom.) I guess going from the semi-real world to martial arts movie fantasyland is to carry us into the highly exaggerated and choreographed tournament scenes.

The villains aren’t as funny as the goofballs in the original, but I kind of like them. The bully kid does a surprisingly good “I feel bad about this” expression when his master asks him to fight dirty in the tournament. The master seems realer and scarier than the old one, less laughable, partly because he never speaks English in the movie. On the other hand the original had the generational conflict between the senseis, Mr. Miyagi was a WWII veteran and Kreese or whatever his name was was in Vietnam, and this seemed to inform their philosophical differences and hatred of each other. It’s similar to the tension between Stallone and Dennehy in FIRST BLOOD, although mostly that’s in the book and only barely implied in the movie.

I know some people who love the original KARATE KID – they probly shouldn’t watch this. For me it wasn’t too bad, pretty likable, in some ways better than the original, but not in the most important area which is the relationship and chemistry between student and teacher. They’re both good, but they can’t match whatever the fuck it was in that original movie. For some reason they got that to work, and you can’t really repeat it.

The director is Harold Zwart, who also did AGENT CODY BANKS and THE PINK PANTHER REMAKE 2. I thought he was just some cheesy Hollywood hack, but I looked him up and I guess he’s an import from the Netherlands. He’s an artist. He did LONG FLAT BALLS 1 & 2, fer cryin out loud. But seriously friends. He does better than I expected. Honestly with a resume like that I was picturing more of a Rob-Schneider-vehicle level of directational skills. Actually it’s a slickly put together thing with nice photography and acting. And as at modernized tribute to the original it has the absolutely most horrible Disney channel type garbagey pop music soundtrack available by modern technology. It even has the little boy from Twitter on the end credits, with Jaden Smith pretending to rap in part of it. As a side note, I would like to plead with all parents to throw away your televisions, radios and computers until your children reach their mid-twenties. It’s just not worth the risk.

There are already plans for KARATE KID 2, and I hope those plans involve going full-on ridiculous and hiring a serious action director. Treat it like a BEST OF THE BEST sequel. Maybe Dre’s white friend gets murdered by Triads, and he has to go undercover in order to get access to kill the top guy. Or his mom gets kidnapped to force him to enter and win the Kumite. I’m not sure if it should be an all kid Kumite or if it should be all adults who for some reason are fighting a little boy to the death, and nobody ever says anything about it. Or another possibility is he and Mr. Han have to sneak into a building under siege to rescue hostages, and Han uses his knowledge of maintenance to get around.

There are alot of ways this could work. Let’s not blow this opportunity, Hollywood. This could be the next UNDISPUTED II.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at 3:22 am and is filed under Drama, Family, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

52 Responses to “The Karate Kid (2010 remake)”

  1. Higharolla Kockamamie

    November 4th, 2010 at 3:51 am

    I remember seeing an interview with Keanu Reeves on the television where he was talking about shooting The Day the Earth Stood Still, and he talked about working with Jaden, and how during down time on set he saw Jaden practicing some martial arts, and taught him some of the Kung Fu and whatnot he learned during The Matrix films. This same interview had some lunatic fan video-calling in to ask Keanu what he thought about real aliens. “Well, it’s a big universe out there”

  2. Thanks to solidly entertaining remakes like this, The Wolf Man, and The Crazies, a decent remake of a classic is becoming more of the rule than the exception. Although A Nightmare on Elm Street ’10 sucked all kinds of ungodly balls.

  3. parents just don’t understand

  4. Damn, Vern, I know you ain’t talking shit about the original KARATE KID soundtrack. That was the best…arow-hound!

    I never thought I’d have any desire to see the remake, but if you’re telling me it has kids brutally beating on one another I might have to give it a shot. With the exception of flying debris and rubber bladder-based werewolf transformations, there’s not much I like to see more in a movie. That’s why I share your love for MY FATHER IS A HERO.

    Hey, maybe Big Willie and Lil Willie could remake that one together.

  5. The bully kid is an excellent fighter, in my opinion.

  6. I’m pulling for KARATE KID 2: THE LAST DRAGON. Jaden returns to the hood and uses the power of the glow to take down Sho’nuff.

  7. In keeping with the theme of nonsensical titles, though, there will have to be other dragons besides Jaden. He should be the sixth or seventh to last dragon. Or maybe there should be no dragons at all, just to be safe. They could be octopuses instead.

  8. I enjoyed this one tremendously. The directing and editing was surprisingly smooth and a little bit artsy at just the right places & amounts. It didn’t feel like the hack work that I secretly feared it would be. No cheesy musical montages, not much forced humor, not too much kiddie stuff, and a fine role for the best entertainer alive.

    It’s a movie for kids, but those kids won’t be embarrassed when they see it again as adults. It’s a movie for kids, but others don’t need to find a reason to limit their enjoyment of it to a kind of ironic enjoyment.

    Weird touches & pleasant surprises:
    -The mom is not hesitant to let her kid go wander a new, strange, & overpopulated neighborhood & city without any supervision.
    -The violinist girl’s father isn’t a completely narrow-minded tightwad.
    -There are really kids who have heated arguments about whether they should leave a jacket on the floor? Kids are gross.
    -There’s a kids’ full contact martial arts tournament that has a Jumbotron with hi-def slo-mo replays? The Chinese are awesome.

    My only complaint is the same complaint I have for 99.9% of movies: I wish it featured more Jackie Chan. My idea of heaven includes a steady video stream of Mr. Chan fights and stunts.

  9. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince also did a song called “Potnas”. Is Seagal a fan? Maybe he can be Terry Silver in the remake of Karate Kid 3. That guy had a pony tail, so it’s not too far fetched.

  10. Any fan of Chan’s has to see the movie. While he doesn’t get to do much physically (the fight he has with the kids is pretty badass in the way he isn’t really fighting but turning it all around on them) it is a really stellar performance.

    Chan will always be a really great comic actor, but he doesn’t really get a chance to flex those dramatic muscles. It’s even more remarkable that the director of The Pink Panther 2 managed to get such a great performance from him. Brett Ratner wouldn’t have even tried…

  11. My favorite touch is the last night of training when Jackie and Jaden have their great bonding moment that, in its own way, surpasses the Miyagi-Daniel bonding of the original.

    I really appreciated the way Jaden coaxes Jackie out of the car after he destroys it. The moment works better for me because Jaden’s age suggests a kid more willing to embrace a mentor as a father would a son in a moment of crisis. I also think Han’s wounds are a little fresher so it makes the gesture that much more sweet and proves that being a father or son is at least as much about instinct as biology.

    But the moment that really gets me is when the camera pans over to the wall and we see them training in silhouette, suggesting that our pasts cast a fairly large shadow, but it’s inextricably linked to our futures or destinies. It makes me cry a little actually.

    Also, unless I’m crazy the movie seems to pay homage to both “Drunken Master” and “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow,” movies in which Yuen Woo Ping’s father played Jackie’s master.

  12. *make that the way a son would embrace a father in a moment of crisis.

  13. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like Jackie Chan when he’s not in motion. The second he starts talking and making with the goofy faces I can see why everybody’s always trying to kick his ass. I simply don’t find his shameless mugging at all funny, but maybe he’s better in a dramatic role, like Jim Carrey.

    Honestly, though, I’m having a hard time believing that this many people on this sight actually saw this movie. What exactly was the draw, if you don’t mind me asking?

  14. As if i didn’t despised Will Smith enough, then he goes into the business of nepotism. Man, i totally despise Will Smith and his sprog. They should be abducted by aliens and never come back.

  15. Moving the setting to China is a perfect example of exactly the kind of thing a good remake should do. Keep the fundamentals, but introduce some different dynamics to explore a little. Don’t make it a huge deal, but let it sort of organically inform the story and characters and let the audience see the familiar tale in a slightly different light.

  16. I didn’t see it, Majestyk. But I can sing a few phrases from that “Whip My Hair Around.” This is probably a cry for help.

  17. For the sequel, they should find a way to remake the original sequel. Dre and Han travel to Okinawa, and a reignited rivalry between Han and a former friend is mirrored by Dre and a student of Han’s rival. And then Dre could actually learn some karate.

  18. Nope. Can’t do it. Not many movies are hallowed ground for me, but The Karate Kid is. I hate that this was made.

  19. Watching the boy & girl puppy love story in The Kung Fu Kid was a joy. It is more compelling & more thoroughly explicated onscreen than 98% of cinema’s adult romances. This is one of the advantages of the film’s otherwise overlong runtime.

    Strange new home? Punk bullies? School dress code? Victimized by xenophobia? All these problems dissipate into meaninglessness when you gain the affection of the girl you like.

    I can’t hate young Jaden. It’s not his fault people irrationally dislike his fam. You get to see him get beat up & embarrassed pretty bad in this one if that helps.

  20. Mr. Majestyk – Actually unless reports have changed, the whole Big Willy clan is remaking SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON over at Disney. Which actually isn’t that bad of an idea honestly. No more or less than MEN IN BLACK 3 which we’re getting because of undetectable public demand.

    Jaimerey – To be fair, Jackie can do what he can these days because he’s pretty fucking old and god knows how much the injuries have come back to haunt his physicality. So for a guy who saw RUMBLE IN THE BRONX in theatres as a kid to see that lame spy family comedy Chan did months back where he needed wires and CGI……sad I suppose.

    Yet I have a fond affection for him and his movies (even the lousy unremarkable ones) that each I happened to catch them on TV or rewatch on DVD and see his Buster Keaton-inspired comedy, stupid crazy mother fucker stunts, and kicking ass….I’m reminded always why I have the dude’s back no matter what.

    Even if its TUXEDO 2 or RUSH HOUR 4, which we don’t need or want. I’ll be there.

    I guess to explain that, I’ll use a classical example: The Rolling Stones. Yes they’re fucking dinosaurs not aging so well gracefully (Keith, you’re Scary as shit) and quite frankly its embarrasing to watch those 70 year old men on stage anymore still try to act like they’re in their 20s. Or for that matter, resting wholly on their past laurels, new (unremarkable) albums selling wholly off the brand-name. Why can’t they be pushing their own artistic boundaries as decades go by like the Beastie Boys?

    But then again, you pop in EXILE ON MAIN ST. or SOME GIRLS or STICKY FINGERS or whatever and then you’re reminded that ok these guys were pretty fucking awesome.

  21. Mouth – Personally I thought Jayden was annoying as shit in DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL remake, but maybe that blame is more that lame script of a very very very lame movie?

    I like how modern Hollywood found a way to remake a movie and be even less topical probably in the future than the original which was out 60 something years ago in a whole different world free of Neo Reeves, Paul Bettany’s beautiful wife, Big Jiggy’s seed, and a tacky McDonalds promotional tie-in.

    The James Hong cameo was pleasant though. Don’t fuck with David Lo Pan.

  22. Not letting you eat in his restaurant in a timely manner is the very least of David Lo Pan’s awesome powers.

  23. Is it snobbish to insist that I never desire to see the new The Day The Earth Stood Still because the original is just so damn good? (For weeks, that bootleg DVD was being passed around my outpost in Iraq, where I was bloody starved for entertainment, yet, so strong was my certainty of its badness, I actively avoided it.) Very well, but perhaps it doesn’t qualify as snobbery b/c I was a boy when I saw the 1950s film and even then I “got” it – – Nukes are bad and stuff.

    I recognized the ironic juxtaposition of the cheesy sci-fi and cheesier kiddie-family stuff with the weighty issues of mass destruction & more complex applications of the “Love thy neighbor” maxim than had been limitedly rudimentarily conveyed to me up to that point my life, and in my freshly enlightened mind a new wave of cinema analysis technique has been finding different beaches on which to break ever since.

    Yeah, you’re all probably right. I don’t think the TDtESS remake is essential viewing.

  24. Hey Vern, how come no review of Seagal’s latest, “Born to Raise Hell”? It’s released in England.

  25. Vern, Harald Zwart lives in the same town as I do (when he’s not in Hollywood), Fredrikstad here in Norway. He was born in Holland, yes, but he’s as Norwegian as I am, and somewhat of a movie tycoon around these parts (he produced Dead Snow, if you’ve seen it?). To see what he’s really all about you should check out One Night at McCools with Michael Douglas and Liv Tyler. For the premiere of The Karate Kid in Fredrikstad he brought the Smiths and Jackie over to stay with him and his wife, in true down-to-earth Norwegian style. I was there with my son, but because of the hordes of autograph hunters we didn’t get to shake Jackie’s hand.

  26. Can’t beieve how much love this film is getting. Having said that, I thought the original was poor. How could this be any better with Will Smith’s clone baby annoying the fuck out of the world?

  27. another great movie review from vern

  28. I took my nephews to see this movie and I really enjoyed. I would say that it is superior to the original Karate Kid in almost every way. Only someone blinded by nostalgia would think the original is better.

  29. Yeah, but only nostalgia could get me to watch a movie about a nerdy kid who learns martial arts from a wacky Asian handyman so he can fight bullies in a non-bloodsport tournament and learn self-respect and possibly get the girl—until the sequel, when she will inexplicably disappear.

  30. Haven´t seen the movie yet. But since the original is such a big part of my childhood, it´s such a big fucking fuckup that they don´t seem to care if it´s kung fu JC teaches though the title is Karate kid.
    Another fucking big example of Hollywood cashing in on a brand that a whole generation cherishes.
    I may see this movie at some time….but I don´t know about this one….

  31. I now cannot help but to imagine Isaac Florentine directing an all kid kumite in The Karate Kid 2. (Also, myy favorite phrase of today is definitely “all kid kumite.” That’s a song I’ll have stuck in my head all weekend.)

  32. Romans: See if you can track down a Thai movie called 5 huajai hero (POWER KIDS or FORCE OF FIVE in English) which is basically kid DIE HARD. The villains are grownups but that doesn’t stop them from whaling on these kids and throwing them out windows and shit. The glorious Thai people have a very progressive view of what constitutes children’s entertainment.

  33. Oh, man, Majestyk, thank you! If it’s half as awesome as it sounds, I’ll recommend it to the only person I know who likes Thai action movies more than me…my mom. (Strange but true fact about my life.)

  34. I thought Power Kids was a little uneven, myself. The fight work is incredible, especially at the end when the two kids are fighting Johnny Nguyen, but the parts where it tries to be light children’s entertainment (which are plentiful) are unpleasant, and the parts where it tries to tug at the heartstrings (which are even more plentiful) are just obnoxious.

    Also, I was really disappointed that they introduce a martial artist pre-teen on the bad guys’ side but completely fail to end the movie with a kid-on-kid throwdown. Huge missed opportunity.

  35. I think that’s just something you have to expect when you’re dealing with Thai cinema. You’re gonna have to sit through some unfunny slapstick and a whole bunch of treacly melodrama, but at the end of it you get little kids smacking dudes in the face with bamboo sticks or Thai cowboys riding rockets or Cirque du Soleil motherfuckers on razor stilts fighting drunken breakdancers. It’s a trade-off that usually comes out on the plus side for me but your mileage may vary.

  36. No Pat Morita = No Deal. There’s just some part of me that loves the original so much that I can’t watch the remake. Sure, I know much of the original leaves something to be desired, but I love that damn movie. It’s kind of the uncle who you think might have some sort of undiagnosed retardation, but you figure, hey, he’s family. Although, I will defend Pat Morita’s Oscar nomination to my dying days.

  37. I always recommend POWER KIDS to people who didn’t like CHOCOLATE the first time they saw it. CHOCOLATE’s flaws aren’t nearly as pronounced when compared to those in POWER KIDS. But Majestyk is right: there are no qualms about whacking kids senseless in the film, even the girls.

    Of the recent wave of Thai awesomeness, I think that DYNAMITE WARRIOR is the film that is most unfairly overlooked.

  38. Glad to know I’m not the only person in the world who’s seen and enjoyed the hell out of RAGING PHOENIX. Damn fine film.

  39. Hey Ancient Romans, you have a cool mom. I’ll take her to see Ong Bak 3 on our next date.
    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ong_bak_3/trailers/11124836

    But my mom, who’s usually squeamish about vulgarity and other stuff that moms generally disapprove of, adores the work of Chris Rock. She has all his books. She even saw him live a couple years ago. How cool is that?

  40. Usually, I like the weird little quirks of a Thai action movie, but there’s a limit. I’d probably place that limit right around Somtum.

  41. Just as a heads up for all that are interested, POWER KIDS, CHOCOLATE, ONG BAK 2, and RAGING PHOENIX are all available to watch streaming from Netflix. Actually that sounds like an amazing lazy Sunday movie marathon.

    As a side note I think POWER KIDS is a remake of another Thai movie called LUCKY SEVEN.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066020/

    I have never seen the movie, I have only seen the trailer but it is pretty amazing. The tone of the trailer ranges from light hearted fun to down right menacing. It features kids fighting adults and some brutal child stun work, including a little girl going through a window head first and landing on her face.

  42. RBatty024, your loyalty to Morita is admirable, but this new KARATE KID is a decent movie and features a strong acting performance from Chan. Chances are if you liked the original you will enjoy the remake. Besides, it is OK to like both. Just because I enjoy checking out a Playboy magazine from time to time doesn’t mean I can’t “read” a Hustler magazine when I feel like it. My enjoyment of one does not in anyway take away from my enjoyment of the other.

  43. Yeah, Pat Morita is great, but I was still in until I heard there was no cameo for Martin Kove. THE WORLD NEEDS MORE MARTIN KOVE.

  44. Mr. Subtlety, you are correct the world does need more Martin Love.

    One thing that is worth mentioning that I found interesting about the Karate Kid remake is that it was a huge box office success in America and features a predominantly Asian cast and only a couple white actors. I can’t think of another recent major Hollywood film that was so successful that had little to no white people in it. I am glad that they did not feel like they had to make at least one of the central characters white. It makes me happy that a big budget Hollywood studio film presents a little cultural diversity for a change.

  45. Charles — the trouble with commenting on a board this filled with acerbic wit is that I have absolutely no idea if that’s a typo or not.

  46. Mr. Subtlety, I wish I could take credit for being clever, but it is a typo. However, it is a pretty great typo, and one that I am proud to have fumbled across. Unfortunately, when it comes to my writing when in doubt amuse it is a typo.

  47. I once typed “Mr. Hands Landa” but caught the typo before submitting the comment.

  48. caruso_stalker217

    November 6th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Just watched this and I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. I saw the original at some point as a kid and also the first sequel, but they hold no special place in my heart. I’m glad that they seemed to put some effort into this to make a good entertaining film instead of some assembly-line garbage. Unlike some folks I hold no ill will toward the Smith child and I thought he was pretty good here. And it was cool to see Jackie Chan flex his acting muscles and deliver, like, drama and shit.

    So good work, Hollywood. A remake that doesn’t suck.

    They really should’ve called it THE KUNG FU KID, though.

  49. I dug both versions of “The Karate Kid”, but overall I’d have to give the edge to the original. Gotta disagree friendo with your assessment of Daniel-san’s fight prowess. That he didn’t suddenly look like Sho Kosugi on the floor when the tournament came around ( by the way, neither did any of his opponents) is to me exactly what the original got right. That the fight choreography (which was good and well filmed) didn’t throw context out the window. That is to say, the choreography seemed to me appropriate to the skill level and culture of the characters being depicted. Not that I don’t love a sensationalistic fight scene, but I gotta give extra points to a movie that pulls off choreography thats entertaining and plausible at the same time (Crane-kick aside). As for the new flick, I found it charmingly quaint that in this the year 2010 the filmmakers thought the little colored boy could dazzle the socks off the little chinese girl with some of that new-fangled hippity-hop dancing.

  50. I guess there is an extra on the DVD that is a fight scene Jackie has at the tournament that was cut out for some reason.

  51. vern…. you are freaking hillarious…… rotflmao hilarious.

    PLEase keep writing movie reviews

  52. Finally caught this one and I have a lot of mixed feelings – it’s enjoyable and perfectly fine for anyone who hasn’t seen the original, but it simply follows the original’s beats so slavishly that it’s kind of a chore to watch and the only time it really comes alive is when it dares to branch off on its own (which is seriously like, less than 10% of its screentime). I thought it was weird that Robert Mark Kamen got a “story” credit as opposed to a “based on the film by” credit, but I see why now. The scenery and dialogue may be different but almost every scene mirrors and serves the same purpose as one in the original.

    Plus the few modifications we get simply aren’t as good – as Vern said, the younger age of the characters creates weird issues with both the “love” story and the over-the-top violence, while not particularly adding anything else (except maybe dollars from a kid audience). The cinematography isn’t as good (seriously, watch the first one again and you’ll be blown away by how arty some of the shots are). Chan’s Mr. Han is fine, but which is more interesting – a tragic backstory where a man fought for the US in WWII while his wife and child died in a US internment camp? Or a guy losing his wife and child in a car crash? “Jacket On, Jacket Off” doesn’t carry the weight of the household chores since the whole point of that sequence in the first one is to make you think Miyagi’s taking advantage of the dumb white kid until the surprise payoff. The Cobra/Jedi Mind trick isn’t as good as the crane kick, mainly because it’s even more silly (I can’t believe i just wrote that) and we literally never saw him practice it once where at least Miyagi showed him the crane kick. (Plus I mentioned my theory in the Part 1 board that Miyagi taught him the crane kick in case the villains played dirty and immobilized one of his legs) Oh I also can’t remember the James Horner score even though I saw this a few hours ago and I think we can all recognize the score from the first one.

    Smith is good, Chan is surprisingly great in maybe the first dramatic role I’ve seen him in. The tearjerking stuff is well-done and effective. The love story is cute, the fight scenes aren’t great but they’re better than most of the shakycam fights we’ve seen involving adults. It’s not a bad movie, it’s just an unnecessary one that also runs 30 minutes too long. Hot take – i still prefer After Earth. Un-hot take – it’s the third best Karate Kid in my book.

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