‘The Karate Kid’ Remake Retitled ‘The Kung Fu Kid’

Published 6 years ago by

the kung fu kid header The Karate Kid Remake Retitled The Kung Fu Kid

The trend of messing with our childhoods just seems to keep steam rolling on, no matter how much complaining fans do. One of the latest is a remake of the 1984 classic, The Karate Kid. The news recently broke that Will Smith’s son, Jaden, will be starring in the lead role, with  Jackie Chan starring as the updated version of Mr Miyagi. It’s also come to light that this film won’t be a remake of the original: the screenplay will “borrow elements” from the original film but is not a remake.

And, to make that difference clear, the filmmakers have gone so far as to rename the film. So what are they renaming it? Well, according to Chan: “They don’t want to call it Karate Kid any more… They want to call it The Kung Fu Kid.”

So they’re remaking The Karate Kid, fine. And they’re casting Will Smith’s son as the titular character, okay. And they’ve even got Jackie Chan as the new Mr. Miyagi, great! But The Kung Fu Kid? Are they serious?! The filmmakers must’ve been reading all of the movie websites (such as our very own Screen Rant) to cover their backs with that one, eh?…

Film Drunk mentioned The Kung Fu Kid as a possible title for the project over a year ago, but now it’s looking like that’s what it’s going to be. With it the filmmakers have kind of neutered themselves, contradicting themselves in the most stupid of ways: they’re remaking a famous film, presumably hoping to capitalize on the name recognition of those who loved the original as kids, and then they go and give it a different title, effectively removing said name recognition.

Our friends over at First Showing point out the fact that the martial art of Karate actually has some of its historical roots in Kung Fu, so the reason they may be changing the name instead is to be more “culturally relevant and accurate.”

Hmmm, okay, I guess I can buy that – but you gotta’ admit, the title of The Kung Fu Kid sounds pretty silly, to say the least.

The Karate Kid is one of those movies that gets overshadowed by its many sequels (which steadily diminished in quality from the original). And much like the Rocky series, people seem to forget that the original Karate Kid film wasn’t just one of those fun, entertaining, “you like it because you remember it from childhood” type of movies; it’s actually a respectable film of decent quality that even got nominated for an Oscar (for Pat Morita’s legendary performance as Mr. Miyagi).

It’s yet another one of those classic movies that just doesn’t need another sequel, let alone a remake “re-imagining.” Didn’t Hollywood learn from the tried and failed The Next Karate Kid?

What are your thoughts on the title The Kung Fu Kid, and about the general notion of them doing another Karate Kid?

Sources: FirstShowing.net, /Film and Filmdrunk

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  1. I’ve…stopped caring. They can make Mr Myagi into a cross dresser for all I care now. If anything, at least this means it’s pushing itself away enough that I can pretend it’s not a remake and just a movie that borrows elements from an old 80′s film I like.

  2. It really doesnt matter, if they remake it that cool, maybe itll be good, maybe it will suck eggs. No one really knows, every type of movie has good ones, and crappy ones, just because they are remakes doesnt automatically make them crappy.

  3. I have this one on ignore at this point.
    We shall see.

  4. I think the name change is mainly to facilitate having Jackie Chan play the mentor role. Obviously Jackie Chan can’t teach a “Karate Kid” since Karate is from Okinawa, which is now part of Japan, while Jackie Chan is Chinese, and Chinese people don’t practice Karate, but different forms of Kung Fu. So I think the name change is simply just for the sake of not having a movie with a Chinese guy teaching an Okinawan martial art…

  5. But screw all of this, if you want to see a martial arts movie, go watch Ip Man with Donnie Yen!

  6. This film has no hope of being any good, sorry Jackie.

  7. Not my childhood,,,

  8. name change is good! now we can all ignore this film and pretend it had never connected to The Karate Kid!

  9. I like Steven’s attitude toward this, haha.

  10. Ken J is totally right- and i’m sure Jackie Chan’s character will not be called “Mr. Miyagi” either for the same reasons-(it’s a Japanese name and Jackie is obviously not Japanese).

  11. so, this is more of an updated version or a “re-imagining”, not really a remake. sounds like only the basic premise is going to be similiar (older martial artist relunctantly training a troubled youth.???) . i think that route is fine to introduce it to a whole new generation of kids who aren’t even remotely familiar with the originial and probably would not like it anyways. i don’t think those of us who were kids in the 80′s are the demographic this movie is intended to target. (though perhaps it is intended to target our children….)

  12. Ken J, you should have also added a big ‘DUH’ in your comments.
    Karate is a practice used in Japan. If Chan, of Chinese descent, is going to teach this kid Kung Fu then you obviously cannot call the picture ‘The Karate Kid’. The Kung Fu Kid is not a silly name, that sounds like a cool Shaw Brothers-Venoms film back in the day, like The Kid With the Golden Arms.
    Ross, vato, if you think The Kung Fu Kid is a ridiculous title then The Karate Kid is just as equally silly.

  13. @Ken J,

    Why should they change everything about a film just to suit the fact Jackie Chan is in it? Why should Chan be in it at all, is my point?

    @mike w,

    I don’t think that’s a good thing – “oh we’ll just make a new version only based slightly on the original just because the new generation won’t like the original.” So that means we should just always concentrate on “the new stuff” and just say to heck with the old stuff because “the new kids” won’t like it?


    Yes, but The Karate Kid is a classic film, with the name already established for 25 years now. Maybe if there hadn’t ever been a film in 1984, and then they just came up with the idea today and called it The Karate Kid, then I might find it silly, but since I (and MANY others, obviiously) remember that name and it is part of our movie history, it doesn’t sound at all silly. But the name The Kung Fu Kid just seems like a silly, forced, eye-rolling name to introduce out of nowwhere.

  14. Ross, well The Karate Kid for this rendition is going to be a silly title if the kid is going to be taught Kung Fu. Again, what is so wrong about the title, The Kung Fu Kid?
    I respect your opinion and your stand on this, but it is definately wrong. Ken and Mike make valid points. Homey, the basic idea of an older master training a troubled youth, dude there are tons of old Kung Fu films with that same basic idea! Chan’s old Drunken Master has that exact same plot, guys help me out here if I am wrong.

  15. This is going to suck bad. REALLY bad. I am NOT going to spend any of my money or time on this POS. And you all KNOW it is going to be a POS.

  16. I’m going to have to strongly disagree with you on one point in your post. That is this:

    “The Karate Kid is one of those movies that gets overshadowed by its many sequels (which steadily diminished in quality from the original)

    While it is true that III and the Swank IV weren’t great, there was Part II, and I’m sorry, I can’t let that pass without some defense of it. In fact, I actually do feel it is better than the first movie- and the first was good.

    Now, on to the Kung-Foo Kid.

    Well, I can understand, really. It’s a better title than say The Ju-Jistu Kid, or The Mauy Thay Kid.

    How about The Kick Butt Kid?

    I know, I’m rotten….

  17. Ross, just so you all know, lol, I was just making a point as to WHY it was renamed. I’m not saying that any of this SHOULD be going in the direction they are. Personally I think it’s a horrible idea to have Smith play the kid, and am not sure how well Jackie Chan will play a mentor.

    However, I would say this, a Karate Kid type movie with a Chinese martial artist will probably appeal to me more anyway, since I’m Chinese, but just not sure about this combination. I don’t see Jackie Chan as a mentor type person. I like his movies but I don’t think he has the maturity. I can see Jet Li in that role much more.

    I can’t say for any Japanese actors, I don’t know of any. Karate has always been like a bastard child anyway. The Japanese claim it is theirs just because their propaganda machine likes to make it seem like they invented everything, but in fact it was taught to the Okinawans by the Chinese so they can defend themselves AGAINST the Japanese who were trying to take over Okinawa. So technically Karate is a dumbed down Chinese martial art that was meant as defense AGAINST Japan… But now they make it seem like it’s part of their national heritage…

  18. @Ken J,

    I know man, it’s just your opinion, as what I said was mine. Not to harp on about it too much, but I guess it’s just hearing the title The Kung Fu Kid that sounds silly – nothing to do with the fact that they’re going to the direction of, obviously, Kung Fu instead of Karate, but purely just the SOUND of the title.

    In general, I don’t think it’s going to work all that well with Chan playing the mentor. To me he always has this warrior clown thing about him, and I just don’t know if it’ll work well with this new version of the ’80s classic.

    And yeah, Smith’s son as the titular character doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. He’s a talented little actor (watch The Pursuit of Happyness for evidence of that), but he isn’t right for this role.

  19. Ross, I think you’re misunderstanding me. I’m saying that I DON’T disagree with you. I don’t really like the idea of this whole thing either. I was just pointing out WHY they changed the name, not agreeing with them. I think the whole thing is pretty stupid sounding…

  20. Ah right, sorry, picked you up wrong there. Just to expand on what you said – just because it is understood WHY they do something, that doesn’t necessarily make it NOT silly:P


  22. I’ll probably just rent this when it comes out on video, not going to spend $8 on “The Kung Fu Kid.” That will be embarrassing… :-D

  23. I’ve had this one thought about remakes and it still applies here.

    Why remake (or respin in this case) a good film when it undoubtedly won’t touch the original?
    If you are going to remake a film, remake a bad one! If anything it might be better than the original.

    Even better – don’t remake. Be daring, get some fresh minds so that people can remember this decade for it’s own ideas, rather than having it be known for plundering the ’60s-’80s.

    …Oh, it’s too late.


  25. Firstly WTF.

    Secondly WTF.

    @Ken J

    There’s lots of debate that Okinawa Karate has strong Chinese Origins, so it’s not totally far fetched for Jackie Chan to teach Karate.

  26. @Ken J

    Those WTFs not aimed at you, but in reference to this mockery of Enjoyable 80s Cheeseball movies.

  27. @M I actually disagree with one thing you said. Ralph Macchio being in it will not make it any bit good. HE CAN’T ACT. Sorry, to say, he was only ok in the first one because he was supposed to be young and whiney. But even then his whininess was very very borderline to being really really annoying. Actually, it WAS annoying at some points. But in 2 and 3 where he’s supposed to be a bit older, he acted EXACTLY the same, actually, worse, he got whinier and more annoying… So please, no Ralph Macchio…


    I’ve mentioned that already, and it’s not any debate or controversy, it’s a FACT, clear and simple. Karate was a martial arts taught to Okinawans by the Chinese so they can defend themselves from Japan. At the time they were a separate country, and Japan was trying to take them over. But even though it has its roots in China, it doesn’t make sense for a Chinese martial arts to teach it to someone today. It was taught specifically for the Okinawans, meaning it was to utilize their specific strengths and weaknesses, and it is a VERY simplified version of Chinese martial arts. For Jackie Chan, someone who is fairly well versed in Chinese martial arts, to teach Karate is kind of like dumbing down his abilities, and that’s kind of weird…

    I still say that out of all of the big martial arts actors, the best REAL martial artist would probably be a close match between Jet Li and Donnie Yen and then Jackie Chan right behind them.

  28. @ Ken J

    Yes I know the history being a martial artist myself. Im just saying for the purposes of the movie, the idea for Jackie Chan is not that far fetched, and if Mark Dacascos can learn the basics of Capoeira and portray a believable Capoeirista in Only the Strong, then Jackie Chan can surely sell teaching and demonstrating karate.

  29. Matter of fact Pat Morita was not a martial artist and pulled it off. Anyway this title is awful, it’s almost as bad as Kung Fu Joe from Im Gonna Get You Sucka.