At first the ‘Karate Kid’ seems nothing more than a polished version of its original. Beat for beat it follows the same formulaic storyline that made the first a great kids film. But movies from the 80’s have originality in their defects. It was a time when Hollywood was dreaming bigger than the special effects and the filmmaking process itself could deliver. In today’s Hollywood anything is possible – and it always looks crisp and somewhat soulless. Fortunately Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan make the ‘Karate Kid’ work.
Somewhat longer (140 mins) and darker, this ‘Karate Kid’ finds our hero Dre in China. Jaden Smith’s performance is great. He’s obviously been paying attention to his father’s acting as much of him can be seen in the younger Smith. Or maybe it’s just genetics, either way we’ll be seeing more of this kid in the future. Jackie Chan is cast perfectly as Mr. Han (Mr. Miyagi). At first I was against the way the character was portrayed. He’s much darker than his predecessor and lacks that look of “deep knowledge”. In the end though it was a wise decision as the bond between Dre and Han is effectively driven by personality and need.
Underneath its perfect looks, lies a film that is just as good as the first. For me I’ll never forget and nothing will replace the first one, but this proves that remakes can be a good thing. Originals are for the kids of yesterday, and these updates are for the kids of today. Show them both and let them decide for themselves which are better.
Director: Howard Zwart
Stars: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan
Buy It On Amazon