Hollywood Gets it Right in this Remake of a Classic
OK, I have to admit it, sometimes the fact that Hollywood has nothing to do but make remakes or sequels for certain movies that either performed well at the box office or received praise for the media annoys me.
When I was about to watch the remake for “The Karate Kid.” I thought to myself that this would be another trashy attempt of remaking a cult classic of a movie.
Turns out I was wrong, well sort of.
The story starts off with Dre (Jaden Smith) and his mother (Taraji P. Henson) moving to Beijing, China because of her new job. Bullied by a pugnacious kung fu prodigy Cheng (Zhenwei Wang), Dre quickly becomes exasperated with his new life in the Forbidden City. After once again getting in trouble with Cheng and his gang, Dre is saved by Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), the maintenance man of the apartment complex where Dre and his mother resides.
Hoping to resolve the conflict between Dre and Cheng, Mr. Han signs Dre up to an upcoming kung fu competition to bring back honor to his family and to win his love (Wen Wen Han).
Instead of an underdog, coming-of-age approach pursued by the original Karate Kid, the remake makes use of creating a family film that’s fun for everyone. It sort of adds a much lighter flare to the story, which is sort of an advantage if you want to gain a much broader audience.
My biggest complaint about the film, however, was that the filmmakers intended to film in China to make use of kung fu, while karate, on the other hand originated in the island of Okinawa, Japan. That presumably makes “The Kung Fu Kid” a more appropriate title. Besides, fans of the original wouldn’t appreciate a Chinese-American version of a coming of age Japanese-American story.
Sometimes, fans might get lost in some moments during the film, such as when Dre and his girlfriend dance to tunes of Lady Gaga and Flo Rida. However, everyone will surely appreciate the lush, vibrant scenery of China’s well-known landmarks such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the mountains nearby the Li River of Guangxi as they watch the film.
The Karate Kid remake is a delightful family film that most people will enjoy. While not living up to the underdog formula and the karate martial arts from its original predecessor, it’s a great flick for families and children around the world that teaches about family honor and perseverance.
Pros: People will love the gorgeous and diverse scenery of China, while they enjoy a solid reboot of one of Hollywood’s greatest underdog films
Cons: Hardcore fans of the original will not enjoy the remake’s Chinese backdrop, the introduction of kung-fu, and a much younger protagonist.