The Karate Kid (2010)

“The Karate Kid” (2010) Karate_kid_ver2

It’s not a bad film, and I was predisposed to disliking it because I disagree with remaking older movies that got it right the first time.  I guess that means it was probably a pretty great film – to someone that had never seen the original.  Jaden Smith takes on the titular role, with Jackie Chan as this film’s Mr. Miyagi.

Two things I didn’t like about the film: the age of the title character, and the speed at which he learns his “karate”.  First of all, yes the film is about a kid – so the main character (Dre) should be a kid, right?  Maybe.  The original had the main character (Daniel) at age 15 turning 16.  That works better than a very slight of build 12 year old.  The difference in my mind comes down to one thing: teenage angst.  Dre goes through all of the same kinds of things as Daniel did.  However, the subject matter of the story plays better against the backdrop of a bunch of teenagers, specifically high schoolers.

Secondly, it would appear that Dre learns advanced forms of Kung Fu inside a year’s time.  We aren’t told how much time actually passes in the film, but we know it is within the same school year.  Um, no.  No, no, no, no.  This is what I call complete absurdity.  Oh, I know: I am being overly critical.  Maybe so, but I am speaking from a deeply educated personal background.  I trained in martial arts for several years and I can tell you that such speed of training is simply not possible.  By contrast, what Daniel went through in the original was more like he was trained just enough.  In fact, in the original Mr. Miyagi says “Trust in quality of your Karate, Daniel-san; not quantity.”   I may be nit-picking here, but I think the public should be informed that what Dre goes through is simply not possible (and this may be the movies, but it is not science fiction).

Other than that, I have to say that Jaden Smith is clearly his father’s son.  That is a very good thing, mostly because his dad seems very likeable (and the Box Office agrees).  His mannerisms and even how he talks is very reminiscent of his dad.  He does a fine job with the role, and that bodes well for his career.  Jackie Chan was a great choice as Mr. Han (aka. Mr. Miyagi).  I will say that the scene in the busted up car was such a tender moment that I very nearly broke down.  That may be worth watching this whole movie for.

Overall, this updated version of the tale is okay, a good family-friendly film.  Sure, I have some reservations, but I am also aware that not everybody will see what I saw.  On that note, it makes me wonder if they will ever consider doing a sequel to another ‘80s film (technically it would have to be the third film in a franchise I suppose): “Ghostbusters”.  I only bring this up here because I think A) it could be done and done very well, and B) I saw “Karate Kid” and “Ghostbusters” as part of a triple feature back in NY in 1984.  THAT was a very good day at the movies!

…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE



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