I recently saw the 2010 re-make of the Karate Kid and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. Admittedly I had low expectations as the original is one of my all-time favourite films and didn’t want to see the usual bad re-make. Perhaps the reason it was better than I thought was that it stayed true to the original in many ways with the main changes being the location (China rather than California) and of course kung-fu replacing karate as the martial arts skill. Why its even called the Karate kid I don’t know!
I was surprised by how much I liked the Jackie Chan ‘Mr Han’ character (a chance for him to actually act for once!) and indeed the remake but its just not as powerful as the original. Will Smith’s son Jaden may only be 12 but he was charismatic and cool in the lead role. Incredible to see a boy of that age with muscles!
The chemistry between the two heroes in the original can’t be beaten and that film has had a lasting impact on many lives. It may not be in those top movie lists but its known by so many people. I can’t imagine the new one being remembered too far into the future although I did hear they were going to make another one. Not sure if it will follow the original part 2 as close as this one.
Given that the new one’s main character is so young the girl interest in the film is not so necessary and as much as I like Asian girls (not 12 year old ones though!) the Elisabeth Shue character is one I still look at and think as being very pretty which certainly can’t be said about most 80’s film actresses!
To be fair to the new film, Smith’s portrayal of ‘Dre’ is probably actually more convincing than Ralph Macchio’s ‘Daniel’ who, as much as I liked, didn’t really make me believe that he had become a karate expert. Though fearsome, the protagonists don’t play as much a part in the film as the ‘Cobra Kai’s’ (and particularly their leader Kreese) in the original which may be due to Smith featuring in almost every single scene if not them all!
Overall, this updated version of the Karate Kid was quite satisfying and very likeable and hopefully over time it will stand on its own feet without being compared to the original which of course is quite ironic as that’s exactly what I have done here!
Tokyo Fox Rating 8/10