I loved Karate Kid when it came out in the early 1980’s. I was a bit too old to fall in love with Ralph “Daniel-San” Macchio, but he was charming enough to make me wanna be 17 again. The movie was absolutely adorable in its naive and delicate way.
That’s the reason I’ve hesitated to see the remake, despite the fact that my all time favorite hero Jackie Chan is co-starring. But eventually curiosity took over, because after all the films where Jackie Chan played the role as the student I had to see what he would make of the role as teacher. I mean, let’s face it – this may be a remake – but for those of us who saw Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow when it was released it’s obvious that John G. Avildsen (director of Karate Kid) got his inspiration from Hong Kong cinema in the first place…
Well, now I’ve seen the remake. And I am surprised at how much I actually liked it. Of course this whole project is mainly a big-budget audition reel for Jaden Smith’s career – but who cares? Young Jaden is a sweet boy, surprisingly talented, and the movie is beautifully filmed with some terrific scenography. It also has a sense of moral core in it that I appreciate. And for those who grew up without Daniel-San and Mr Miyagi it will definitely be a great experience, because the screen writer has been pleasantly true to the original. And for the rest of us – wellm the update of the story is actually very refreshing and makes it even better than the original!
However, being a passionate fan of Jackie Chan I was of course more interested in his appearance than in Jaden Smith’s. And as he has always fulfilled my expectations over the years, he fulfills them this time as well. Getting more and more simplified and truthful in his performances as the years go by, the role as the humble and slightly sad maintenance man who takes the bullied kid under his wings is perfect for him. He radiates in this role, and it’s a great joy to see that he finally got the opportunity to do such a fine role in an American movie.
In many ways Jackie even surpasses his predecessor, Pat Morita; his performance in the scene of the drunken confession of his painful personal loss touched my heart even more than Pat Morita’s performance all those years ago. But he also gets to do certain things his own way – like the famous fly catching. It’s a superb scene that has Jackie Chan’s special comedy design written all over it!
Over the years I’ve constantly pointed out that Jackie Chan is just as much an actor as he is an action hero. Karate Kid is one of those movie that prove me right. So take my advice: don’t miss out on this one!
- Jackie Chan Talks Bullying, Karate Kid (shoppingblog.com)
- You: Charismatic Chan makes ‘Karate Kid’ role his own (search.japantimes.co.jp)
- Alex Scoble: We went to see The Karate Kid tonight, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. Very good remake of the original with less cheese and better acting throughout. Fight scenes were fairly well choreographed, but the editing was not very good. On th (friendfeed.com)