I have seen the new preview for the remake of Karate Kid starring Jackie Chan and Will Smith’s kid. I am embarrassed to say that I got kind of fired up. Maybe I am a sucker for a franchise that went strong for three movies (I am ignoring you Hilary Swank). My cousins and I used to put on our combat pads and crane kick the shit out of each other all over the early 90s. Every time a friend of mine is about to embark on a difficult mission, I tell him to “sweep the leg”.
There are some things about the new movie that look promising. There is a feeling that they are going to pay homage to the original, but will try to update it, which is what I think needs to happen.
The story of the new film was obvious. Some kid is a total puss and he uses the help of an old karate master to learn how to crane kick the shit out of the assholes that are making his life a living hell. In the original, Daniel-san was an Italian kid getting his ass beat all over the San Fernando Valley. Cobra Kai was an evil dojo of Aryans that were training to kill the Russians. They were menacing, like a Children of the Corn meets 1980s Reseda, California. It was a good enemy, but it doesn’t apply to today’s landscape. To truly piss off and freak out the American audience, the remake would need a new enemy.
In the 1980s, every movie was about fighting the Russians. That was the way to get it done. Top Gun? Tom Cruise, there are Russian MIGs getting super shady. Rub some oil on Vil Kilmer’s chest and then get up there and take these guys down. Rocky IV? Hey Stallone, the Russians have engineered a super boxer who loves to roid and he just killed your homeboy Apollo. Red Dawn? Come on!
Karate Kid (the new one) has updated Cobra Kai. They have decided to take an African American kid, move him into communist China, have him get picked on by kids who know karate, and have Jackie Chan teach him to fight back. I feel like this is a metaphor for what Obama’s economic battle with China will eventually become. The filmmakers know Americans are freaked out that our economy is hurting and China’s seems to be booming. Obama couldn’t bring the Olympics to Chicago. China just had them. America is freaking out. Hollywood’s reaction? Send Will Smith’s son to China with Jackie Chan and have him crane kick the shit out of everyone.
Looking at the trailer, at one point the kid is training on the Great Wall of China which is awesome. You need to train on cool shit if you expect to beat the enemy. My real hope for the film is that they slow play that scene. The temptation is to go balls to the wall on all the song choices. Let me just say, if they do not use a song like the following, they are missing an opportunity to crane kick the shit out of our ears:
That is what I am talking about. You with me?