‘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. not to sound racial but a black karate kid seems silly exspecially now a days with kids blowing each other away gangs colibine etc and a black kid is going to go up against this? he strikes a pose 5 seconds later he’s shot dead short movie. unless they put it back in the 70/80′s but now a days seems really silly. I guess someone’s actors son seen it and said ‘daddy buy the rights to that movie.’ yes son’ and jackie chan please send him away if he didn’t understand the humor of rush hour how will he grasp something like the kartae kid??

  2. @Mark Ridcliff

    That statement is silly. If that was the case Ralph Macchio should of called up the Capo Regime to put horses heads in the Cobra Kai members bed’s, hook up car bombs, and the whole nine, which last I checked the Mafia was alive and kicking in the 70s/80s just like they are now. Even a white kid would get shot in the face, probably by the local “brotherhood” chapter for being friendly with an Asian. So race doesn’t apply, nor does the time era. Oh yes last I checked people of all races were still getting shot in the face via the 70s and 80s over stupid crap.

  3. Drug violence was actually at its peak in the 80′s…

  4. Big hair and spandex was also at its peak too. LOL.

  5. There must be a connection…

  6. I have to agree to a point of Mark’s comments. the time era of movies does play a part if dated. Like the movie ‘the bodygaurd’ not the one with Kosner but where a teen hired a bigger kid to keep from getting beat up in school it works fine back then but to redo that movie now would a little unrealistic. you can watch a lot of older movies and get by with stuff but the karate kid and bodygaurd tell me in this day in time someone kicks someone’s a** and they’re going to wait for a tournament, unlikely. Of course this is all basied on Hollywoods virsion of our reality, so who knows.

  7. Drillbit Taylor?

  8. @ Clark Ratliff

    So you’re saying because it was the 80s that people didn’t get gunned down for beating some one up. Sorry but that is absurd. Ken J brings up a good point with Drillbit Taylor. Those kids would have been pwned, run down or whatever for challenging some one that wild. And don’t give me the oh well they were here and there or it was a comedy line. It’s a movie and the rules can be bent/broken. Therefore RACE AND TIME ERA HAVE NO BEARING.

    Go back to some of those Bruce Lee interviews from the 70s and he even says that “now” meaning the 70s you can’t get away with beating people up because they will shoot you in the face.

  9. They already remade the whole concept…it was called Never Back Down…only it was “mixed martial arts” which by the way was a crappy movie!

  10. Now a days movies aren’t original like they used to be.They either take one good idea and role with it for like 10 years or they “remake” a classic movie.There’s seriously no originality anymore.I love watching movie so sorry if Im being rude but I think this is getting rediculous.

  11. @ Samrah
    I agree w/ ya heartly about what you mentioned. I wished Hollywood wont remake every damn franchise. Karate Kid franchise is one of those that doesnt need a remake much like Nightmare On Elm street, Friday the 13th & Halloween films. I even heard Gremlins and Back To The Future being remade which makes my stomach turn. Thing about Karate kid was anyone, especially Daniel’s age goes through the same problems and they would’t mind having someone like Mr. Miyagi teach Daniel the important things about karate on how it should be used only for defense and not to use on others for the heck of it like the Cobra Kai’s Sensai. Pat Morita nailed his role perfect i think. Anyways, like Nightmare on Elm Street remake ill probly pass on seeing this film. I doubt i’ll even rent it on dvd. Not all franchises need to be remade.

  12. @chrisj

    While it’s true Karate Kid was a good movie, the sequels were pretty bad, lol.

  13. @ Ken J
    The only sequel i didnt care much for was The Next Karate Kid. Part 2 was decent and i thought Part 3 was a good sequel. But the 1st is still my favorite.

  14. I totally agree with Ken J. when he said, “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…,” It was a good idea to do a name change for that simple fact. One thing that striked me about this whole conversation is that no one really realized that ITS NOT A REMAKE, its just taking key elements from the Karate Kid series. Don’t get me wrong I am a BIG Karate Kid fan and I personally hate remakes but just give the movie benefit of the doubt.The movie may shock us all and actually be good or it will suck on ice. I think since Jayden Smtih seems to be taking this role seriously that it is a good chance that he would do a good job playing the lead role. As for Jackie, its kinda hard because if he digs hard enough he could be a good mentor. IDK THIS IS JUST MY OPIONION EVERYONE!! Keep in mind that times are changing and that this movie really needs open-minded individuals in order to be successful. Honestly I think it would be fairly good but nothing can touch the original Karate Kid.

  15. Your review lacks knowlege, thought and insight.

    1. Jaden Smith is a pretty good child actor. Jackie Chan has a history of being painfully honest and stated that he was very impressed with Jaden and that Jaden learned Kung Fu rapidly. Is it possible that the protaganist could happen to be non-white? Is this your problem?

    2. Tae Kwon Do – from Korea. Judo, Jujitsu, Kendo and Karate from Japan with roots from China. Kung Fu aka Wushu is the oldest of these martial arts and originates in China. Jackie Chan’s greatest expertise and afiliation would be Kung Fu. Jackie Chan or Jet Li doing the karate kid. Like-wise if the setting is going to be in China with backdrops such as the great wall of China then the Kung Fu kid is what makes the most sense. For a future movie maybe Chuck Norris will become the teacher for the Tae Kwon Do kid.

  16. I strongly dislike keeping the title Karate Kid for this film. I find nothing silly about Kung Fu Kid and would prefer it. Given the history between China and Japan, I think it would be disrespectful and ignorant of the producers to keep this titled Karate Kid even if it’s just for marketing purposes to tie it with the original karate kid.

    Why not just stay true to the original and have him learn Karate? Make Jackie Chan teach the kid Karate and not Chinese Wushu. Or better yet, find a Japanese or Okinawan actor, with a non Chinese setting. Kung Fu is an integral element to this film and keeping the title Karate Kid is just ignorance or a blatant disregard for respect and integrity. All martial arts are not “Karate” just like all Asians are not “Chinese”.

  17. You can’t mix them, you cannot have Jackie Chan teaching Karate. That’s basically him teaching a dumbed down version of Kung Fu. They either have to hire a Japanese actor (or at least someone portraying a Japanese character) teaching him Karate and keep the name Karate Kid, or have Jackie Chan teach him Kung Fu and retitle it Kung Fu Kid. But what they’re doing now is completely retarded…

  18. there's a whole new generation out there that will love this movie. The Karate kid generation needs to grow up!

  19. there's a whole new generation out there that will love this movie. The Karate kid generation needs to grow up!

  20. I would say name it Karate Kid – Kung Fu Style.

  21. This movie is joke, an embarresment, and spits on a classic. I hope it flops and they lose tons of money for being idiots. If only I could pay for a 5 second clip of Mr. Miyagi kicking whoever's idea this is in the nuts.

  22. Man you really need to take a look at your definition of the word “classic”.

  23. I grew up watching Karate Kid. Thought it was pretty cool. But looking back, nostalgia can’t hide the fact that the movie was pretty damn cheesy and there was some made up American karate s*** from pussy-ass Ralph Maccio. Then, the remake looked retarded even though I’m a big fan of Jackie Chan. I just saw the trailer recently, and thought it was awesome. Kung Fu Kid is gonna dominate this summer.

  24. “there’s a whole new generation out there that will love this movie. The Karate kid generation needs to grow up!” – Ann

    It’s not that people need to “grow up”, it’s that the production company needs to use a fitting title for the movie. There is no karate in this movie, nor is it intended to show anything other than Chinese culture.

    At this rate, Hollywood will make a movie about a Mexican family trying to jump the US border and title it “Coming To America”, or perhaps they will do a movie based on the fall of Saigon and call it “Big Trouble In Little China”, because Vietnam is ‘close enough’ to be China, right?

    The truly sad thing is that the parent company is Sony Entertainment. I would have thought that a Japanese company would shy away from portraying Japanese karate with Chinese wushu Kung fu.

    Recast movies if you will, but don’t take original stories and run them through a Mad Lib machine in order to generate a ‘new’ script.

    • Very well said…

  25. I don’t think you can, in good conscience, name a movie, “The Karate Kid,” if the whole movie is about KUNG FU. It’s ridiculous.

  26. It looks to me like this could have been called anything else other than “The karate kid.” and been billed as a spiritual successor to the original movie.I think that would have been the better choice.But of course Hollywood’s plan is to make people as ignorant as possible,so lots of kids will see ‘The Karate Kid.” and leave thinking that Kung-fu and karate are the same thing.

  27. AMEN to the last four comments. We should all boycott it.

  28. This movie is an utter insult to the Asian community. “The Karate Kid”???? Are you kidding me? Gung Fu is Chinese and the movie is set in China. What a laughable premise for a movie titled after a cult classic.

    Why don’t they remake to movie “Roots” and cast Tom Cruise as Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton) and call it a day…….Karate Kid indeed……..

  29. I agree with the last few comments. You cannot call a Kung-Fu practitioner a Karate Kid or vice verse. Both Japan and China have a proud and rich heritage with their own style of martial arts. Karate and Kung-Fu are very different and to have a movie called the Karate Kid be about Kung-Fu is an insult to the core of Okinawa and I am sure that for the Chinese, their proud history of Kung-Fu being branded Karate is equally insulting. I’m surprised Jackie Chan doesn’t kick the director’s /\$$ in some dark alley

    Yes, it’s a remake or rework of an older film, but the title should be more carefully thought about. This sort of rework, like U-571 where American submariners capture and decode the Germanan Enigma machine in WW2, where in reality it was the British who captured it and broke the codes, is insulting American arrogance, self-importance and lack of consideration or respect for others in the extreme and it really has to stop.

    I shall not pay to see this movie after seeing the trailer is about Kung Fu when the name mentions Karate. I am British, but I respect the Chinese and Japanese enough not to support this insult to both of their cultures by American ignorance and apathy while chasing $$$$$.