Okay. Please read these following lines carefully, I’m not stuttering and I don’t mince words. In the words of American History X, always end with a quote someone already said it better than you..
So in the regards of the new Karate Kid? To quote Jack Black from High Fidelity, ” Its really…(Covers his eyes in shame)Its really fucking good…”
Now here’s some truths about one of the only decent reboots in the history of reboots, the movie was originally supposed to be called The Kung Fu Kid because strangely enough, there is no Karate in this movie! Mr. Mayagi has been replaced with Mr. Han (A sullen and sad Jackie Chan), Daniel San has been replaced with 12 year old Dre (Jaden Smith, acting with so much the same mannerisms as his father that you’d think it was Will at 12 years old) and California is now China.
So to base this foundation, Dre has just moved to China because his mother’s job demands so, and he isn’t happy. Taking a shine to the hottest 14 year old Chinese girl on the playground he gets his ass handed to him 5 minutes into the film by an EVIL young boy named Cheng and his band of Kung Fu bandits. Having no one to aid him, Dre gets a begrudging Mr. Han to train him. While this film mirrors scenes from the original, like Han bringing Dre to the enemies Dojo and getting him involved in the tournament it has its own charismatic vibe to it.
The movie has some major issues in run time, it takes about 45 minutes to get itself off the ground and only then does it finally start to grow on you. Jackie Chan FINALLY getting a role that shows you he can act and not just deliver comedic fighting lines, doesn’t have nearly the appeal that Pat Morita brought to Mr. Mayagi but he does have his own sad, wisdom that is terrific in its own way. The scene where Mayagi was drunk and mourning the loss of his wife was done in a sad/cool way where Chan during the first hour of the film is sanding and repairing a beat up car, only to destroy it with a sledge hammer on the anniversary of his wife and sons death. They were in a car wreck and every year he rebuilds and destroys it on the ay they died. Now THATS depth to the character I like!
The training montage goes on for a very long time, but its both cool and well done, Jaden with either wire work, training is extremely believable in this role. His acting is so much like Will Smith’s that it gets almost comical. His line delivery and facial expressions mirror them so much its eery.
There is the “Sweep the Leg” scene as well as the “Disqualify yourself fight” by the sensai who looks like ex Illinois senator Rod Blagojevich with his CRAZY forehead hair! And the tournament has some seriously impressive fighting.
The movie as a reboot is very satisfying, just a little long. If you are a huge fan of the original movie, you will get the references and notice all the scenes that are homages to the first movie’s most famous parts. Everyone does a terrific job, but now I need to wonder to myself…If they create a franchise out of this, will they begin the sequel with the EVIL Kung Fu teacher beating the shit out of a bunch of 12 year olds in the parking lot ala’ Karate Kid 2? If so, I am SO there.
Sorry to say it true believers, and pure skeptics, but, final prognosis? The movie was pretty damn good. ONE drawback? The song “The Best Around” was not in the final tournament scene, much to my chagrin…Woulda been a great throwback.