Wednesday, October 27, 2010

movie review: The Karate Kid (Remake)

First off, could someone tell me why they remade the Karate Kid in China...and with Kung Fu?

Makes one wonder if the Chinese government didn't produce the movie as some sort of travel brochure, showing off the country to the west.  Anyone remember the Olympics...and yes they have a cameo.
It has been 26 years since the original was made, so I guess it was way over due for a remake.  The original movie is looked back on by my generation fondly more out of nostalgia than on the merit of the actual film itself.  If you don't believe that then go rent the video and try to sit through two hours of Daniel-San getting his wussy butt kicked.
The new film centers around young Dre ( Jaden Smith) and his mother (Taraji P. Henson).  They leave Detroit and move to Beijing for a better job opportunity at the car factory (I guess the film producers thought a communist country was preferable to the "red" states.)  From there it is pretty much color by the numbers film.  Dre has conflict with said bully Cheng (Zhenwei Wang), and falls for pretty chinese girl Meiyang (Wenwen Han).  In steps maintenance man and secret Kung Fu master Mr Han ( Jackie Chan) to teach the boy and mold him into a warrior.  The main problem with he film is it takes over an hour for it to finally get to any training scenes at all.  The characters aren't believable especially Dre's mom, who appears to be no more than a prop for the storyline.  Too much of the movie seems to be displaying the wonders and sites of the Chinese countryside rather than to actually progress the story.
But fear not, Jackie Chan saves the day and the film.  His performance alone makes this movie worth the price of rental.  Mr Han has one of the most heart felt scenes you will ever catch in a martial arts movie.  Jaden Smith also plays his role surprisingly well, and his fight  scenes at the end are far and away better than the original.  I must also say that the ending rivals the original film's flying crane scene. 
Although no one yells, "Sweep the leg!!!"  The Karate Kid is an entertaining (if sometimes drawn-out) remake of an 80's classic.

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