For all you skeptics out there, how do you like them apples? Sure, we didn’t think we wanted or needed a remake, but what we got was something I for one did not expect. Everyone knows just how excited I was about this movie. I may even have had a minor fixation for the past few months. That doesn’t mean that I agree with a remake. Remember, if you will, Death at a Funeral 2010. Worst! There’s a time and a place for the remake. And perhaps because it’s been done and been bastardized so many times, I was a little afraid that something I hold dear would be destroyed by our “bigger and better” modern tech.
Then I finally saw the movie. I literally watched the same tale told by different people, more specifically, told by director Harald Zwart ( Agent Cody Banks ). I’m not going over the plot; see my first article for that. Replace the Valley with Beijing, the Cobra Kai with the Fighting Dragons, Mr. Miyagi with Mr. Han, and you’ve got the gist of it. Needless to say, I was not shocked by any surprise twists! So they change the setting, the actors obviously, change the specific events (they were so 80’s), change the script, but not too much. As you might expect from over-the-top Hollywood, the fight scenes are longer, the Kung Fu is more intense, the sentimental parts are more moving. Even the actual move is more dramatic (America to China vs. New Jersey to California). I felt like I was being one-upped! My question was truly, what’s the point? Is someone getting rich? Then I got off my high horse. I could see from the way they made the movie that they were really embracing the old one, not ruining it. It wasn’t a case of doing it better, but rather like getting your old carpet cleaned. Reigniting the old Karate Kid flame, so to speak, for which I have to applaud.
I was still moved by the special relationship between Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, though it was a much less respectful one, and the same lessons were learned, the same morals upheld. There are even some parts thrown in for the benefit of die-hard Karate Kid fans, which I won’t reveal. Suffice it to say, I was almost offended by their using a couple of strictly Mr. Miyagi things, but they veered away just in time and I felt mildly foolish. They got me. I had no concerns about Jackie Chan, he pulled off his role superbly – is anyone shocked? Jaden Smith I had my doubts about; being the son of the producers is a little suspect, after all. I found myself pleasantly surprised not only by his athletic ability to pull off those stunts, but also by his acting. He even seems to have inherited some of that goofy-style comedy his dear old dad Will is famous for.
So, for the fans of The Karate Kid , you won’t be offended. You may even like this movie, but put yourself back a couple years I think. It certainly has the potential to be one of those childhood classics that kids today look back on, as we’ve just done. And honestly, kids today need a childhood classic.
For the rest of Meaghan’s Karate Kid series, click here.