Posts Tagged Pat Morita

Karate Kid 1984 vs. Karate Kid 2010

Posted by Rob on Friday, 26 February, 2010

I have to admit, I don’t typically mind movie remakes. It seems Hollywood has been running out of new ideas lately and every other movie they put out is a straight remake, blatant rip off or otherwise extremely similar story line with minor plot twists and a new title. As long as the new movie does a good job, I’m fine. You don’t have to go see it if you don’t want to.

Special effects are way, way cooler now as well as all of the other technological advances that they didn’t have back then. And it always seems to be a good idea from a studio standpoint to take a classic movie and update the story to present day to hook a new generation into the cult classics.

I thought the latest Friday the 13th remake was pretty good. You have to like that kind of movie genre, and accept the way those story lines go, but I thought they did a good job blending the first couple of Friday the 13th plots, updating the blood and gore to today’s standards, even updating Jason’s motions and mannerisms, all while keeping in tradition with the original classic. Opinions may differ.

Sure, I’m sure you can pick out certain remakes or even sequels that they should have just left alone. Lots of ideas sound good on paper, but just lose it in production.

However, when they first said that they were going to remake The Karate Kid, I was less than thrilled. That movie was one you just don’t mess with.

I was 11 when the first Ralph Macchio/Pat Morita classic came out, and I saw it in the movie theater. Since then, I’m sure I have watched it at least 50 times, more if you include the second and third. In fact, I just watched them all on Comcast On-Demand a few short weeks ago.

For some reason, as I could let all the other movies of my youth get remade, but the thought of The Karate Kid being tarnished and retooled really ticked me off. I don’t care if it is a 26 years old flick. (Funny side note: About a year ago I was watching this movie called Beer League, a comedy about a bar sponsored baseball team… I watched the entire movie, and then when the closing credits played, it said Ralph Macchio was in it. I had to rewind the movie, and I still didn’t recognize the 45 something year old Macchio, heh…)

So yesterday I came across a trailer for the new Jaden Smith/Jackie Chan version. Apparently the first trailer had a bunch of other Karate Kid purists upset, but I caught the version 2 trailer. I was expecting to follow suit, and be disappointed… Boy was I wrong!

First off, I love just about anything Will Smith has ever done, I’m not sure why (I am Legend, a 3 times over remake was one of my favorite Smith flicks). Jaden Smith is an 11-year-old Mini-me to his dad. Talk about having billion dollar shoes to fill, and having no problem doing so. This kid is going to be amazing.

Jackie Chan is another near can-do-no-wrong actor in my book. Sure a couple of his recent movies were kind of lame, but his fight scenes are always great. Again, you have to like that genre and accept the stereotypical roles he is cast into.

I’ve heard the complaints, it should have been called “Kung Fu” Kid, not “Karate” Kid, but you have to accept the fact that the vast majority of people use the term karate and martial arts interchangeably. They simply don’t know, or care what the difference is. They see Steven Segal, Bruce Lee, John Claude Van Damme, Jeff Speakman, Jason Stratham and even Jack Bauer doing “karate moves” on screen and wouldn’t know the difference between an Aikido wrist lock, American Kenpo technique, or a Jeet Kune Do strike…

I think Daniel, I mean Dre moving to China is a cool change. I’ll miss the classic wax on, wax off training, but you can see the replacement in the trailer. I don’t want to ruin too much before you see it, so go watch the trailer.

I think this is one of the better remakes, and this is coming from a once original Karate Kid purist. I’ll have to watch the whole movie to make the actual call, but if the trailer paints a picture of the movie to come, this is going to be really good.

I will be interested to see if this movie prompts the incredible influx of “karate” school enrollment like it did in the late 80s and early 90s. Martial Arts schools of all forms (because non-martial artist don’t know the difference) got huge enrollment numbers, accredited to the popularity of The Karate Kid series. Parents were signing up their kids to all the local Tae Kwon Do and Karate dojos. Of course most of them didn’t stick with it for very long, probably once the novelty wore off.

True martial arts take a lot of dedication. The generation of instant gratification is not going to stick to a curriculum of hard work and tough skills. And that is both the parents and the kids. Even the McDojos that churn out belts faster than a child’s attention span in hopes of milking as much money out of parents before the child gets bored. Then you have a bunch of McBlack Belts, that aren’t worth a damn in any self-defense situation, and are probably worse off, because they think the 2 years worth of “black belt” skillz they learned are going to help them. Go ahead and throw that Tae Kwon Do head kick on the street and see how fast you end up on your back…

Daniel: Hey, what kind of belt do you have?
Miyagi: Canvas. JC Penney, $3.98. You like?
Daniel: [laughs] No, I meant…
Miyagi: In Okinawa, belt mean no need rope to hold up pants. [laughs; then, seriously]
Miyagi: Daniel-san…
[taps his head]
Miyagi: Karate here.
[taps his heart]
Miyagi: Karate here.
[points to his belt]
Miyagi: Karate never here. Understand?

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

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