Friday, February 11, 2011
The Karate Kid (2010)
Remakes and re-imaginings are not always a bad thing. Classic stories are usually good enough to be told in a variety of ways and updating them for a new audience is often a great idea. However, where Hollywood is concerned, it often simply represents a lazy attempt to tap into an established audience and turn a quick profit. The Karate Kid from this past year is the worst sort of example of this.
Supposedly, this new version was never intended to be a remake. It was supposed to be called “Kung Fu Kid.” Apparently, when they lifted the major plot points and most of the scenes from the original almost line for line, they decided to just own up to the fact that it was a remake and name it the same as well. (That way they could be sure to tap into that audience.)
The big problem is the differences between this and the original. If you aren’t going to change anything, why remake a movie? But when you do change things, it is the differences that determine the worthiness of the effort. Three major differences stand out here:
1. The kid here is just that—a kid. It is hard to swallow all the adolescent angst, romance, and earnestness in these little tweens. Verdict: fail.
2. The location is switched from California to China. Apart from coming across as a major “yeah China!” commercial for the country, they handle most of the culture shock issues very unconvincingly. Verdict: fail.
3. Finally, there is the most famous issue from the original: the training. In the original, Miyagi has Daniel do chores and then reveals that those chores were in fact teaching him defense. Here this whole process is reduced to a completely idiotic exercise in hanging up a jacket. It only barely works for those who are familiar with the original and in that case it just comes across as lame. Verdict: huge fail.
Do yourself a favor and don’t watch this waste of time. Checkout or revisit the greatness of the original instead.