4 Reasons Why ‘The Karate Kid’ Is A Worthy Remake

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 6th, 2012 at 5:28 pm,

the karate kid dre han 4 Reasons Why The Karate Kid Is A Worthy Remake

Before all of The Karate Kid remake haters swarm this post and spam it full of negativity and seething rage, I’d like you to take to the time to read what I have to say and what the video below explains.

Never in my illustrious 11-month movie news career have I witnessed so much misplaced malevolence aimed at one film. A few months back, when The Karate Kid teaser trailer dropped , our comment section was filled with people bemoaning everything from “Jaden Smith can’t act” and “Jaden Smith is too young” to “This is China not Japan so it can’t be called Karate Kid”. A couple of misguided souls even took umbrage with Smith’s race (although those types of ridiculous comments serve no purpose and should be ignored completely.)

I will admit that I dislike and sometimes loathe the idea of remaking a film, but a couple of years ago Screen Rant’s Commander-in-Chief Vic Holtreman listed 5 good rules for Hollywood remakes. In this article, I’m going to list a couple of the rules The Karate Kid follows and reasons why I think this remake deserves a chance to stand on its own. I’m also going to address a few of our readers concerns and then explain why I think they are misplaced.

I am going to address people’s issues with this remake  first – please keep in mind that I, like most of you, enjoy the original Karate Kid:

  1. The movie should be called Kung Fu Kid because it takes place in China (Karate was created in Japan).
  2. Jaden Smith can’t act; his character “Dre” is too young for the film’s story.
  3. Screen Rant Remake Rule #2 – The original is terribly dated in either setting or pacing and style.
  4. Screen Rant Remake Rule #4 – The remake does, in fact, bring something new while respecting the original.

the karate kid dre posing 4 Reasons Why The Karate Kid Is A Worthy Remake

The movie should be called Kung Fu Kid because it takes place in China.

I’ll start with what has, so far, been the biggest sticking point for this film with online audiences. I specifically reference “online audiences” because The Karate Kid remake is scoring extremely high with people that have actually seen the film. In fact, Sony reported a while back that the movie scored just below Hitch for the number 2 spot of all Sony films tested.

Some think it’s a big name grabbing stunt by the studio to use a recognized brand to put viewers in the seats and to that I say “SO WHAT IF IT IS?” Isn’t it the studio’s job to make money by selling a film to audiences by any means necessary? That’s the whole reason we have to put up with this 3D fiasco right now. I want you to watch the video below and then think long and hard about why the movie is titled The Karate Kid and not The Kung Fu Kid:

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THE KARATE KID FEATURETTE

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So according to the clip, Dre learns a little Karate from his Uncle back in the States, from watching TV and as director Harald Zwart (Agent Cody Banks) says:

Dre thinks he can fight them [the bullies] with some Karate but everyone knows Kung Fu in China. For him to survive in China, he has to learn Kung Fu.

From what I can tell, Sony wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to millions of proud Chinese people and all the studiers of the Kung Fu martial art when they titled their film The Karate Kid then based it in China. They were simply naming it after what the lead character think he knows when he gets to China. It would be like them writing a story based on “Dre” joining the circus as a trapeze artist only to find out he must learn lion taming then calling the movie The Trapeze Artist.

the karate kid han dre prac 4 Reasons Why The Karate Kid Is A Worthy Remake

Jaden Smith can’t act; his character “Dre” is too young for the film’s story.

Jaden Smith doesn’t have a vast and varied amount of acting ability from which to draw. His entire filmography consists of one drama, one sci-fi remake, and a handful of TV shows. The TV shows notwithstanding, his acting record is at 50/50 right now when it comes to movie performances.

He was good as the son in Pursuit of Happyness, which could be because he didn’t have to act very much with his real life dad Will playing his on-screen dad. However, he got a big F for his bratty child role in The Day the Earth Stood Still remake but in his defense, that entire movie got a big F. What Jaden did show though was his inability to act as someone else’s child in a film.

I say cut the kid some slack. He’s still finding his zone and what characters he is comfortable portraying and with his acting pedigree (parents Will and Jada, I have no doubt that he will eventually find his way in Hollywood. I can think of a lot of other actors that are doing far worse than 50 percent when it comes to successful roles in movies.

As for ”Dre’s” age in the film, I think it should be a non-issue. The role of Daniel LaRusso didn’t come from a book where there is a clear and defined age for the character so why all the uproar from “fans” of the original? Ralph Macchio wasn’t even young enough in real life to play the 17 year old high school senior LaRusso. At the time of filming Macchio was 23 years old which put him 6 years older than the character he was playing! At least Smith is the same age as his character and there is no 21 Jump Street trickery going on with him.

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TAGS: karate kid, kung fu kid, the karate kid, the kung fu kid

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  1. I think the movie will be pretty good. At first, honestly, my attitude towards the flick was not dissimilar to most who loathed at it being yet ANOTHER in a long list of remakes from the 80′s. Then I saw the trailers. The more I see, the more I think it’ll deliver the goods for it’s targeted audience. I’m just disappointed that I’m no longer in the demographic. :(

  2. Best April's Fools joke ever!

  3. HAH! No joke…this is how I feel and think the arguments I present are strong.

  4. I know, just kidding. I'm willing to give the movie a shot.

  5. ….but Ralph Macchio still looked like he was in High School…

  6. I Swear I made the same arguements in an earlier post , I think the 3rd trailer or so…. Did you bite my comments!?!….. just kidding
    Great post Im totally with you on your comments.
    Truthfully i felt like one of like 5 people who could reason out why this movie will work and why they named it so.
    Kudos, Paul, KUDOS.

  7. I agree that this movie should be given a chance and that it seems like it will be a worthy remake, however, I disagree with your third point; Remake Rule #2 The original is terrible dated. Sure it may scream 80s because of the wardrobe, and the camera use may not be as sophisticated as today, but that doesn't make it dated. “Uncle Buck”, “Top Gun”, “Ferris Bueller's Day Off”, etc are all movies that scream 80's from their appearance/wardrobe. And, obviously, none of them use modern camera techniques, but if you watch any of them today you can still enjoy it as a modern piece. You won't watch it and think “Man, this would've been good 20 years ago”. Which is the same for the original “Karate Kid”. I watched the marathon on tv a few weeks back and I had no qualms about it being dated.

  8. I thought this was an April fools joke. If they respected the original they would have either not done this remake or got Ralph Macchio involved.

  9. Now why would I pay to see a Chinese teach a foreigner Kung Fu so he could defeat a fellow Chinese?

  10. Weak. How much did they pay you? I'm not going to pay to see this film.

  11. Remaking a film has nothing to do with disrespecting the original film. Including Ralph Macchio in the film would have been a mistake and would have seemed forced. Of course, not having seen the film, he could very well have a cameo in the beginning.

  12. Um…because he's helping the new kid out? Why are you not upset about the Chinese kids being portrayed as bullies to new foreign kid in town? To me, that would seem like something to be more upset about.

  13. So in order for someone to have an opinion that disagrees with yours, they must have been paid off to express it? You live in a sad world of dreams sir. I care not whether you do or do not watch this film. You’re entitled to your own opinions and I to mine…we just happen to disagree.

  14. First don't be sorry for speaking your opinon, even if I disagree with it.
    – I didn't say everyone in China knows Kung Fu
    – Chan isn't beating up 12 y/o kids, he's defending himself from THEIR attacks (I bet you a stack of Girl Scout Cookies that he never throws a punch at them)
    – I disagree w/you about Jaden. Kid has been in two films, one crappy/one good and I think he will do fine as he gets older
    – Jaws and E.T. aren't dated because their outfits were kept neutral and the soundtrack had a classical score, where KK had mostly a pop score of that years most recent chart toppers
    – And what is your point about cashing in on a franchise? The only people that remember seeing the original KK in theaters are at least 35 (assuming 10 year olds got in to watch it). If the studio truly wanted to cash in on the franschise they would have made a film that almost mirrored the first so that all of those 30-something flocked to theaters to wax nostalgic

    Got anymore bad arguemnts I can lambast?

  15. Did Everybody forget something in the original karate kid that was stated as a known fact… KARATE was started in developed in CHINA called “TE” – hand.. Generations later it was brought to japan and was called “KARA-TE” Empty hand… MR. MIAGI states this in the original movie after explaining to Daniel Laruso where karate was developed.. And Daniel replied “OH, i alwaya thought it came from buddhist temples and stuff like that” and Miagi replies “You , too much TV”… HMMMMMMMMM not that it serves as any argument for this movie or anything.. but it is a good fact to remember

  16. saw the trailer in the theater recently. i was definitely not into this remake, but after the trailer, i would watch it on dvd.
    i definitely was not a fan of little Jaden in The Day the Earth Stood Still. He borderline angered me.

  17. The movie actually doesn't look as bad as I originally thought it was going to be. I'm still undecided if I'm gonna see it or not but right now I'm leaning towards no.

  18. wtf is up with people these days simply saying 'its going to suck because its a remake' isnt even legitimate enough, back up your arguments with some valid points.
    i loved karate kid 2 and 3 (cant remember the 1st) but even still im not going to say 'this is going to be crap' because like you said paul, it isnt aimed at the 30 yr olds who saw the 1st one, its aimed at a new generation of kids.

    imm not going to watch this but i might rent it out, if people give it praise… guess i'll just have to wait for the review.

  19. No reasons – why make another REBOOT? The first with MR. Myagi is the best one out there. I love both Smith and Chan, but a reboot of a classic 80's film? Does anyone else see the reasons this should not be done. I am not going to see this – and I gave the trailer a true, an honest to god true looking at to see if I could be broken. Sorry HWood – not happening..

  20. From what I can see – it's the acting.. the story.. the fighting I'm sure will be fine… but honestly.. I just don't think this is a good film for Smith to launch his directorial debut, and using his son? Just too much for me.. but I hope it works out for those who see the new version. The original will just always be the best, even if it was a cheesy 80's film. No one handles Mr. Myagi like Pat Morita does ! LOL

  21. One glaring hole in the logic I see…”Dre thinks he can fight them [the bullies] with some Karate but everyone knows Kung Fu in China. For him to survive in China, he has to learn Kung Fu.”
    Why, exactly? Only Kung Fu can beat Kung Fu? What is this, Revenge of the Fallen? “Only a Prime can defeat me for some utterly arbitrary reason”
    Wouldn't a more positive and sensible message be that it doesn't matter if you do Karate or Kung Fu, what matters is skill? That no one martial art is inherently superior to any other?

  22. This was a refreshing and fair take on the remake — definitely a nice change. I've been fed up for months with all the breastbeating going on at the very idea of a remake. You'd think that 1) the original TKK was a classic on the order of Gone with the Wind to hear some of them and 2) that Hollywood hardly ever remakes a popular movie.

    That being said, for anyone who has cherished memories of the original, any remake would probably fall short (or so I've found with movies made from books: the more I loved the book, the less likely I am to enjoy the movie).

    I'm glad they addressed the “karate” vs. “kung fu” issue in the movie, but it still seems a bit forced.

    You left out complaint #5 — “No way Jackie Chan's performance could compare with Pat Morita's because Jackie Chan can't act” I have no idea how JC's performance will compare with PM's, but since I think JC is a good actor (most of the time), I'm not really worried.

    Btw, the preferred spelling is 'lambaste'.

  23. Xig that is a very good point. I'm hoping to talk to Zwart in the upcoming weeks and I'll ask him that very question.

  24. lol blame it on my MS Word spell checker :)

  25. Actually, the director was Harold Zwart. Will Smith is one of the 5 producers (Jada Pinkett Smith is another). Though I don't expect that to change your mind…

  26. It can't be worse than the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still (worst remake ever!). And even though most people think Jaden Smith got an “F” for that movie he was still better than Keanu Reeves who's acting job in that movie I compare to a slow growing tree. So if people can watch that waste of eye-ball-usage then we can give this movie a chance.

  27. Those rules are funny and valid

    However Rule 1. Karate was created in China not Japan

  28. its called kung fu kid in china its only in america its called karate kid…

  29. its called kung fu kid in china its only in america its called karate kid…

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