The Karate Kid

2010-10-15 11:27
 
The Karate Kid

What it's about:

Young Dre (Jaden Smith) has to relocate to China with his mother to start a new life. Upon arrival, he encounters a few problems: getting settled into a strange environment, first crushes, and a group of bullies who make his life a little more than difficult. Then Dre meets Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), a maintenance man who happens to also be pretty useful with his hands and feet - in a kung fu kind of way.   

What we thought:

The problem with child actors is that it's hard to tell when they're acting out of character. We prayed to a higher being that Dakota Fanning was "just acting" in War of the Worlds. Same with Macaulay Culkin back in his Home Alone days. And Jaden Smith... well, let's just say I was saddened when his character survived in The Day the Earth Stood Still

He is also miscast as the kid in this story, being far too young and improbable as someone who can sort out his issues with combat tournaments. Chan is better, ever watchable and while not quite his forebear - Pat Morita's Mr. Miyagi - brings his own screen charisma to the role of teacher and mentor.

But the film itself is beset by legacy trouble. For all its nostalgic luggage (and what the hipsters call "cheesiness", whatever that means), the original The Karate Kid was essentially still an auteur's film, and one blessed with gifted actors.

Morita immortalised the part of the wise, old Asian mentor, and Ralph Macchio, though prone to overacting a bit in places, was endearing and convincing as an awkward out-of-favour kid with issues (single mom, new city, etc).

Add to that John G. Avildsen's talents for emotive framing and that training montage, and you have a movie that's practically cinema's gift to Saturday afternoon TV.

The Karate Kid 2010, on the other hand, is at the outset a commercial enterprise, hoping to cash in on an audience that's likely never seen the original. For them, the movie will work well enough, even at a surprisingly generous running time of 131 minutes. 

But for those of us who saw the original as part of a double feature at the Cineplex for about R5.50, it comes off as a slightly less honest translation of a book... where the Japanese are the Chinese, and the back stories of the characters are slightly unfocused in the employment of better film technology some 25 years later. 

And one more thing... shouldn't it be "The Kung-Fu Kid"?

FaceBook Icon

Remember how life-changing the original was back in the 80s? Twenty-five years later, kids are not likely to have the same reaction to this remake.

preshen govender 2010/09/20 7:42 AM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Great to see they improved on the wax on wax off scene
Thobi 2010/09/29 12:52 PM
Oh Jaden (**shaking head***)! Lovely kid but I found his facial expressions go against the scenes most of the time. He didn't impress me at all, poor thing. I guess that's what happens when mommy and daddy are producers in the same film...
bored_stiff 2010/10/06 3:13 PM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
ag cmon... 25years later the action sequences are better. its a remake set in a modern era. and i was a fan of the 80's version. the one - legged snake move at the end was better than the crane kick of the 80's
christian Alphonsu Ma. T. villapando 2010/10/09 9:44 AM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
I LOVE THAT MOVIE
NEXT ON CHANNELX
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.