It might not be "the best around" but The Karate Kid manages to successfully reboot the franchise many of us grew up with.
Remakes can be a tricky thing in the film industry. On one hand you don't want to disappoint the fans who grew up with the original film but on the other hand, you want to make it different enough to attract a new audience. Rarely does it happen where a film successfully captures the best of both sides.
The Karate Kid is an iconic film from the 80's that many of us grew up with, introducing us to characters such as Mr. Miyagi, Daniel LaRusso, and the Cobra Kai. It was only a matter a time before the film would be revisited. Much has changed over the years, and while characters and locations are entirely different, the man storyline is the same.
Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) and his mother have moved to Bejing, leaving their old life behind to start a new job in China. While trying to adjust to his new surroundings, Dre is harassed by the local schoolboys who use their superior kung fu skills to teach him a lesson. That's when Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) comes to the rescue and decides to teach young Parker "true" kung fu. You can pretty much infer from there that Dre will be entered into a martial arts tournament where he will prove himself and duke it out against his rival schoolmates.
Smith and Chan create the same teacher/student relationship we saw with Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. From the nonsensical routine of taking off and putting on a jacket to the father and son figures, everything is reminiscent of the original. The same can be said for a lot of the film. It's the same story, just with a new coat of paint.
The Karate Kid has already garnered some heat because it's actually not about karate but kung fu. Honestly, it's not that big a deal. Regardless of which type of martial arts appears in the film, it looks pretty cool on screen. Besides, it's the story and image that the characters show that is the heart of The Karate Kid. In that regards, it's a much welcomed remake.
It might not be "the best around" but The Karate Kid manages to successfully reboot the franchise many of us grew up with. It's still not as good as the original but I wouldn't be surprised if we see a few sequels in the works. Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan put up a wonderful performance, even if it does get a little cheesy towards the end, and the kung fu action is top notch.