|I went to see "The Karate Kid" the other day.
No, I'm not going through a time warp! I mean "The Karate Kid" 2010
Well, well here's yet another remake of a classic movie (well, a classic to anyone who was going to movies in the ’80s.)
We are in the midst of an ’80s pop culture reboot kiddies!
So, it’s "The Karate Kid". So there must be lots of good, juicy karate in the movie, right?
Well, actually, no.
In reality, there is absolutely no karate in this movie. It’s all kung fu.
Ya know, if playing off the popularity of the original movie title wasn’t so important, I’d really call them out on not calling it “The Kung Fu Kid.”
SideNote: It's named "The Karate Kid" here in America it's "The Kung Fu Kid" in China and Japan, and "Best Kid" in South Korea.
But we all get it. It’s a movie about a kid learning a form of martial arts.
Karate, Kung Fu, whatever!
SideNote:Karate means "open hand" and technically could be used as a term for most martial arts.
12 yr. old Dre (Jaden Smith) is forced to leave his Detroit home when his Mom gets transferred by the auto company she works for. The kicker? His new home is 6637 miles West...in China! In fact, it was filmed mostly in Beijing China.
So he’s not only an American in a totally different culture (and that's putting it mildly), he’s black as well, and stands out like a sore thumb on a sore thumb — which is not good for kids at an age where they just want to fit in.
Then a cute girl named Meiying smiles at him, and life looks a lot better — if it weren't for the school bully that is. This hateful creature is so cruel and sadistic, it's hard to imagine how someone so young could be so bitter, until we meet his brutal kung fu coach, Master Li.
The monster sensei, Li teaches a new form of child abuse: Kids beating up on one another. The Chinese bullies are pretty merciless both off and on the mat as a matter of fact.
SideNote: There was zero blood on any of these kids, which was odd given all the Kung fu (not karate) scenes. Not even a bloody nose? Not very realistic. I thought blood was acceptable in a PG rated family film that deals with kids kicking the crap out of each other. Oh well.
Back to the sub-story of Dre and Meiying, there's the usual nonsense about her parents disapproving of him.
Gee, why in the world would the parents of a world-class classical violinist ever disapprove of a black kung fu student from Detroit who doesn't speak Chinese?
Enter Jackie Chan who stars in Pat Morita’s old role of a humble maintenance man who eventually coaches the poor bullied one. There's no "wax on, wax off "moments here, it's now a "jacket on, jacket off"!
It goes without saying that the whole movie leads up to a big climactic Kung Fu (again not karate) tournament. In fact just about everything that happens can be guessed right from the beginning. But that's okay, as long as it's done right. And it is.
The "Karate Kid" really works for what it is: a feel good movie that goes light on cheesy cliches, but at the same time makes you feel emotionally attached to the characters. In fact the real joy of the movie is Jackie Chan's work. he ditches his usual happy grin and gives his best performance ever. It's definitely Jackie's most dramatic-heartwrenching-tear in your eye role yet.
He’s really, really good. I mean, has any other Jackie Chan ever made you cry? I think not!
There is one great Jackie scene where he takes down the bad kung fu gang of boys without actually hitting any of them.
And Jaden Smith? Can he even carry Ralph Macchio’s torch?
Jaden Smith is going to be a star. The kid’s got the goods, not surprising considering who his parents are-Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. It’s pretty wild to see how much his mannerisms, are a scaled down version of his father’s.
And considering the training he must have done for this film, I’m sure he’ll be making the "Rambo" remake in a couple years.
The movie is just over two hours, that may seem a little long (it did to me before I saw it) but it doesn't feel like it at all; it’s really well paced.
And while everyone knows perfectly well how the movie will end, the audience in the theater still clapped and cheered at the end (me included).
I'll even go as far as saying it’s better than the original. "Jacket on, jacket off!"
Posted by oxyjen on Jun 23, 2010
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