A remake of the classic '80s movie, The Karate Kid, is something that, when announced, was met with the same groans and "Please no!" responses (from most folks out there) similar to about every other dreaded remake. The fact that they reportedly changed the name to Kung Fu Kid, as well as the storyline that was reported being a bit on the cheesy side, didn't exactly help matters.
Today we get the news that the title of this remake has officially been changed to Kung Fu Kid.
Admittedly it makes sense since it's Kung Fu our lead learns and not Karate as in the original. Playing the lead is Will Smith's son, Jayden, as a kid (would you have guessed it?) who moves to China with his mum, gets bullied at school, and eventually ends up learning Kung Fu from Mr. Han (Jackie Chan, playing the remake's equivalent of Mr. Miyagi). I've said it before - it's not the absolute worst idea in the world, but couldn't they have conjured something a bit better?
The Harald Zwart (Pink Panther 2) directed martial arts remake actually started filming this weekend in Beijing (heck, at least they're shooting the camera's in the right location...), where the story it will take place in modern day. The shooting schedule of the film is set to last for three months, and to celebrate the start of production, a traditional Chinese ceremony was held on Saturday.
Jayden Smith was there at the ceremony with his father, Will, mother, Jada Pinkett, and sister, Willow. In a video shot of the ceremony put online at Sina.com, Will Smith, Chan, and Zwart, "symbolically removed a piece of red cloth covering a movie camera, after which Smith gave Chan a hug." If you want to take a look at the ten-minute video of the ceremony, you can head here.
Even if the title change from The Karate Kid to Kung Fu Kid does distance the remake to the '80s original, I still fear it will soil the reputation of it. I fully realize that if the remake sucks, we've still got the original, but as I have said on a number of occasions, today's audiences might automatically think of this remake whenever "The Karate Kid" gets mentioned. It's happened numerous times with all the remakes of classic horror movies (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of Wax, The Amityville Horror, on and on...), where most likely today's (young) audiences will not even be aware there was one before these relentless 21st century rehashes.
I suppose that's what the title change is for, but will the same happen with Kung Fu Kid? I believe it just might...
What do you think of this remake now officially being retitled Kung Fu Kid? Do you think there's a chance it may turn out to be any good?
As stated, Kung Fu Kid started production last weekend in Beijing, but it doesn't have a release date set as of yet. The film is directed by Harald Zwart, and written by Steven Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness).