As if in response to the wild outcry against remakes, the filmmakers behind The Karate Kid re-up have decided to freshen up the story by taking it an old direction.
Sure, the premise of an outsider, lonely boy in a new town learning martial arts from a wizened figure in order to defeat bullies will still be in tact, but most of the other story details promise to steal from other cliches instead of directly from the original film. We checked out some plot details from Movie Hole, and we’re ready to play comparison.
Instead of Reseda, California, the new film will be set in…China! Normally, movie franchises wait until the second or third film to place their characters in an Asian setting, but this movie is going for the gusto by heading there early. The culture shock of moving from Jersey to The San Fernando Valley has nothing on not being able to speak Chinese. Although, it does raise an important question that I’ll get to later.*
- Instead of being a total loser with no interests, Dre (the Daniel Laruso character) will be…totally into video games and skateboarding! A young kid who rides around on a skateboard playing on a PSP? Innovative!
- Instead of being a wise apartment handyman, Mr. Han (the Mr. Miyagi character) will be…a wise apartment handyman! So clearly this is actually a story point that they kept in, but it’s also an awesome cliche. Double points.
- Instead of being a cruel, vindictive martial arts school owner, Li Quan Ha (the John Creese character (sweep the leg Johnny!)) will be…a cruel, vindictive martial arts school owner who’s Chinese!
- Also, all the main character and all the bullies will be, like, ten years old or something.
A few differences, but perhaps I oversold this thing as being stereotypically innovative. It sounds like the same old story told in a different setting with different actors. If you held out a shadow of hope that this movie would be something more than a rehash of a successful film from your youth, this should wax those hopes right off.
*So Dre and his mother move to China, and he experiences major culture shock and an inability to fit in because of the language. Does that mean that a bulk of the film will be subtitled with the characters speaking Chinese? Or will they give up on that mid-way through and just have every speak English to make it easier for all involved?
What do you think?