Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Karate Kid Remake

I'm really sorry I can't share the pics of this remake with you, you'll have to go to the website to see them, but I have just found out they are remaking the movie The Karate Kid.

The classic cheesy original featured Ralph Macchio as Daniel-san, who even though he was in his twenties, played a teenager (he's a bit like Michael J. Fox, he just never grows up), who moves into a new neighbourhood in America. He gets bullied by these local guys and is surprised one day when a local maintenance guy, Okinawan-born wise old Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita) jumps the bullies. Mr Miyagi becomes his karate mentor and teaches him techniques unconventionally, as well as about honour and self control etc. And so he ends up one-upping the bullies by the end of the movie.

Most of us watched the movie and remember classic lines like "Wax on, wax off" and Daniel trying to do the crane stance, or catch a fly with chopsticks, or Mr Miyagi being able to mend his leg by rubbing his hands together, or giving the silent smile through the crowd and the nod.

Anyhow, I read about this remake, and I naturally read plenty about people being angry as hell that their original was to be 'tarnished' with this idea of a remake.

Here's the set up. Will Smith has pitched the idea for a remake, to star his nine year old son, Jaden as The Karate Kid. There's been talk of calling it The Kung Fu Kid, possibly partly to update it and partly to not offend people who are extremely precious about The Karate Kid.

A mother, for work reasons, goes to live in China, her son Dre (Jaden) is attacked by bullies and needs to learn Kung Fu. A master of kung fu teaches him both kung fu and how to speak Chinese. The kung fu master is played by Jackie Chan.

A lot of blood is being spilled on the message boards. Some claim that people who are against the movie are only against it because they are racist, and don't want to see a black kid learning kung fu. Others say they aren't racist, others say yes, they just don't think a black kid is right for the role - it just does not fit well in the story. It doesn't portray the ethnic issues realistically and they can't relate to it, and anyway, everyone thinks of the Karate Kid as white nowadays.

Other objections brought up are that:

1. Jackie Chan is the wrong actor to step into Pat Morita's role. He's too young and too flippant and funny. In fact you didn't even need a really good martial arts actor to step into Morita's role - what was more important was that the person had the right warmth and chemistry, because Mr Miyagi teaches more lessons about self restraint and less kicking ass in the movies, that's what he's really about.

2. It doesn't matter that Jaden is black, but it does matter that he's nine years old. No one can relate to a nine year old getting beaten up; you don't believe he really needs martial arts lessons, not serious ones. You feel that more at his age he is just likely to get into a few scraps and be teased. The film is a coming of age story and Jaden is not the right age to give that any real meaning.

3. A lot of posters just hate the idea that Jaden got the movie through his Dad - the nepotism, stating that he's untalented and wouldn't have got it if it hadn't been for Will.

This objection ... well I can understand the resentment, but it's basically born out of jealousy, hell we'd all do it if we could, we just didn't get the chance. If we had a rich and famous father who could give us opportunities or 'legs up' we'd take them (not necessarily in showbiz but in some other way) and not think twice about it. Most of us have this already and don't think twice about ti, taking it for granted. Many of us live in houses, get pocket money, went to certain schools, got Christmas presents, had parents of certain intelligence who may have given us advice, some might have parents who helped us with a loan or said they'd babysit our kids for free ... WHATEVER.

All that is help, but if you mention it to many of these same people and say it's getting help from fortunate parents with resources, they cite it as "different" from getting your big rich Daddy helping you put you in a Hollywood film because all the help they receive is 'normal, regular help', but getting a film is "unusual".

Actually, it just means that you're used to it. There are some people who would look with envy at your level and say "I hate those rich lucky bastards who get pocket money and can go whingeing to their parents every time something goes wrong and can dump their kids/dogs/parcels at their parents when they need a break ... spoiled brats!"

It's just a matter of degree. And some people are sure they can pick what degree is "acceptable", trying to convince others it's generally acceptable, when what they really mean is "acceptable ... to me". And that level is usually "Up to as many opportunities as I get, is acceptable for others to have too! But don't go too much further than thaaaat!"

4. Another poster suggested that a better remake, if one had to be done at all, would have been to put an aging Ralph Macchio into the Pat Morita role and have him teach a small Japanese kid the way of Karate ... that is, if it's possible for Ralph Macchio to age.

I'm not particularly looking forward to this Karate Kid myself, but then I never saw the Next Karate Kid. I only saw the ones with Daniel-san. The original and the best!


kiki said...

but having Ralph do the remake would kinda be like having Patrick Swayze as the instructor in Dirty Dancing 2: havana nights...

remakes generally don't work. i'm struggling to find one
the italian job comes to mind, but the original was still better i think

TimT said...

If they're remaking movies from 20 years back now, it won't be long before they'll start remaking films from 2 years back... or maybe even they'll do some remakes of film before the original has been made.

TimT said...

Oh, and, as they say in the classics, BTW!

Maria said...

Ummm, perhaps some of those American remakes of Asian movies, just because I haven't seen the Asian version I thought the American version was fine. Like The Departed and The Ring were apparently both remakes of Asian movies, I think they are good movies though. Can't compare to say if they are better than the Asian counterparts.

I saw a thread once on "Which movies would you like to see a remake done of?" ... mainly people named movies where the special effects could be touched up, like The Day of the Triffids. Someone suggested Back to The Future. I hope not. Who could replace Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly (and I don't think he could do it right now, even though he is still quite boyish he isn't quite the teenager look any more)???

TimT, excellent point. Maybe they'll remake a film before the oriinal is released, giving you two alternate versions to choose from while at the cinema.

JahTeh said...

Noooooo! No messing with Mr Miyagi, Pat Morita was perfect. I refuse to watch the re-make, ever.

They re-made 'Cat People' which was originally filmed in black and white and frightened the daylights out of me but the re-make was all colour and sex and not much fright.

eidda said...

This movie was SOOOOOO so so good. I hope you got the chance to see it so that you will understand how i feel about this movie.