Tuesday, December 01, 2009


I've known for a while now (and the rage has been simmering in me) that The Karate Kid, one of my favorite VHS tapes from childhood and the reason I fell in love with Elisabeth Shue at a very young age, is being remade. Jaden Smith (son of Will) is taking the role of the titular kid, and Jackie Chan (yep) has inherited the Mr. Miyagi role (that originally got Pat Morita an Oscar nomination). If you haven't seen the so-cheesy-but-so-lovable 80s flick, familiarize yourself with the trailer below. It basically tells you the whole movie.

What kept me not-so-angry, though, was that the remake was to be titled The Kung Fu Kid. That's really all I need, so it won't share much of a shorthand reference with the original in conversation (for example, if I say I'm a fan of the Pink Panther movies, people not as into old Peter Sellers movies will instantly think Steve Martin garbage. Incidentally, this remake of Karate Kid is being directed by Harald Zwart, hack director of the Pink Panther remake's sequel. Yikes.)

Unfortunately, Slashfilm just posted 4 officially released photos from the remake, and the news that it now bears the original title of The Karate Kid, as well as a plot synopsis. One of these pictures and the synopsis follow:

"Jaden Smith plays Dre, a skateboarding video game buff who is forced to move to China after his single mother (Taraji P. Henson) is forced to transfer to China for work. Of course, unable to speak Chinese, Dre finds it hard to settle in, and gets beat up by the local bully. Jackie Chan plays Mr. Han (the Mr. Miyagi character), a maintenance man who spots Dre’s black-eye and offers to teach him both martial arts and Chinese, so he can defend against the students of Li Quan Ha’s Fighting dragon school of Kung-Fu."

Yes, that's a scene taking place on the Great Wall of China. My own personal bias aside (although I'd like to ask one more time why they're still calling it The Karate Kid when the story bears more of a resemblance to The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) I'll pose this one really nerdy but legitimate complaint: Why the fuck does it take place in China? I ask this question mostly because it takes about five seconds of wikipedia research to learn that Karate is from Japan. Did nobody look into this during pre-production? I'm assuming they don't care and they just want whatever sales-boost they can get from association with the original movie (though I can't imagine any kids today care, which is not a complaint because god knows I didn't care about 25-year-old movies as a kid).

What I'm getting at is that it doesn't even make any sense to call this movie The Karate Kid, especially after changing it back from The Kung Fu Kid (and five more seconds of wikipedia research tells me Kung Fu is a term for Chinese martial arts, so if your movie's about a kid learning to fight in China... dude, just call it the The Kung Fu Kid.)

Seriously, Hollywood, go make your bad movie, but don't bring my childhood into this. It won't actually affect me much at all, but, c'mon, it's the little things.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing but greed. Ruined my day. Wax on, wax off. That was enough philosophy to drive my adolescence. This: oy. Pat Morita is twisting.

    Fine post.