Sony Pictures will release its remake of the 1980s classic The Karate Kid in just over two weeks and we have three new clips from the film for those yearning to see Jaden “Son of Will” Smith and Jackie “I can still kick butt” Chan in action as this generation’s Ralph Macchio/Pat Morita.
In a plot very similar to the original, the remake of The Karate Kid focuses on a young teenager named Dre (Smith) who is tormented by bullies and trained in the martial arts after he and his mother (Oscar-nominee Taraji P. Henson) move to a new country. Fortunately Mr. Han (Chan), the local janitorial worker at the pair’s apartment complex, is secretly a master of martial arts and agrees to educate the troubled young Dre in the ways of self-defense and life in general.
This time around, the setting has shifted from California to China, Dre is a 12-year old from Detroit, and he studies the art of Kung Fu rather than Karate. Due to this last change, the title of the film was almost changed to The Kung Fu Kid, before the marketability of The Karate Kid name brand seemingly won out in the end.
However, for those of you still seething about the fact that the title to this remake seems inaccurate, it actually does have relevance to the story (hint: the Kung Fu-trained bullies think Dre is a punk because all he knows is Karate).
How else will the remake differ from the original? Based off this early footage, Mr. Han will be more of a grumpy stoic than Mr. Miyagi (Morita) was in the original Karate Kid; Dre is more of an inexperienced kid whereas Daniel (Macchio) was your average hot-headed teenager; and the training montages will be set to hip-hop music instead of synthesized ’80s tunes like “You’re the Best” in the original film’s “tournament fights” sequence.
But enough from me. Have a look at the clips below:
Does this new Karate Kid look like it could stand on its own? Well, Smith is kind of annoying in these clips but that seems natural enough for a 12-year-old. The homage to the “catching a fly with chopsticks” scene in the original Karate Kid seems kind of uninspired, as does the martial arts training montage. Honestly, I find this new footage to be more boring and by-the-numbers than anything else.
The Chinese landscape is a visually impressive backdrop for the action in the Karate Kid remake and these new clips do have some lovely bits of aerial footage of national landmarks like the Great Wall. That alone could make this a film worth checking out on the big screen.
But what do you think? Do you find Smith charming so far? Does Chan seem like a wise old stoic – or just kind of bored? Sound off in the comments section below.
The Karate Kid arrives in theaters in the U.S. on June 11, 2010.