Screen Rant Remake Rule #2 – The original is terribly dated in either setting or pacing and style.
This really isn’t a hard point to make but I’ll go over it just to remind those that may have not seen the original Karate Kid in quite awhile. The film was made during the early 80’s, 1984 to be exact, and if you will dust off your old VHS copy of the film and watch it again, you’ll have no problem determining when it was made. From Daniel LaRusso’s t-shirt tucked into his jeans with no belt and Ali Mills’ (his girlfriend) ridiculous short skirts with knee high socks and sweater to Johnny Lawrence’s forehead covering bangs – the whole movie is just dripping with 80’s.
As for the pacing, the first film was OK when I watched it in 1984 but now it most of it just seems hokey. There have been vast improvements in camera technology and filming techniques have changed for the better over the last 25 years which has allowed directors to get better shots of the action and record dialog much better. Watch the first one again and tell me if you can truthfully hear what Johnny says to Daniel as he is handing him the trophy. That scene is shot from a fixed camera some distance away from the actual scene and, even though we know what he was saying now, it was almost unintelligible back then in theaters.
Screen Rant Remake Rule #4 – The remake does, in fact, bring something new while respecting the original.
What things are kept the same in remake that pay homage to the original? For one, the entire structure of the story is the exact same – kid and his single parent mom move from one city to another to start a new life; kid gets picked on by bullies; kid learns martial arts from quiet old Asian man; kid earns respect of the bullies by beating them at their own tournament.
From what I can see, multiple parts of the film are carbon copies of scenes from the 1984 film – Dre practicing Karate from a learn-at-home program; Dre getting beat up by the bullies when Han saves him; Han and Dre confronting the bullies and their “Master” at the Dojo; Dre competing in a tournament; Han trying to catch a fly with his chopsticks (which is a nice hat tip to the original while changing it at the same time).
As for the new parts of the story – obviously the location has been modified from California to China; the martial art learned from Karate to Kung Fu; the age of the characters went from seniors in high school to 7th graders (Dre is 12 years old); and, what is the most glaring change of all, the everyday techniques used by Han to train Dre, “Wax on! Wax off!” and “Paint the fence!” have been replaced with “Pick the jacket up! Take the jacket off!” The idea behind the rote memorization training method is fine but I don’t think the modern version will become as iconic as the original.
All in all, I think The Karate Kid remake has done enough to warrant it being a legitimate remake attempt and deserves to get a shot at standing on its own.
Have any of my points changed your mind or are you digging in your heels with this one and not budging your point of view?
The Karate Kid high kicks its way onto screens June 11th, 2010.
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Source: AOL Moviefone