Review of the new Karate Kid

new karate kid poster

Okay, last week I watched the entire Karate Kid collection in preparation for the new movie. Now I’ve seen the new movie. How is it?

Let’s look at what I liked and disliked.

I’m not sure if this is a like or dislike, but it’s surprising how much this new movie lifts from the original movie. I mean the situations, the scenes and the dialogue are oftentimes directly lifted from the original Karate Kid. I’m not surprised since, like I said last week, the original Karate Kid was a nearly perfect movie with nary a scene or line of dialogue wasted. I’m probably 50-50 on whether this movie worked. It was entertaining, but again, it really added nothing new as the story and much of the dialogue is exactly the same, so I have to ask, why bother?

Han and Dre

Secondly, Jackie Chan as Mr Han makes this movie. Totally worth seeing it for him. Unfortunately he really only gets one fight scene, but that’s not what his character is about anyway. His one fight scene is the scene where he fights off the bullies.  It’s amazing.  At first you wonder, how is this going to look with Han beating up a bunch of 12 year olds?  But it comes off great.  Han doesn’t actually throw any punches, he uses all defensive moves then uses the punches and kicks of the bullies against themselves.  It’s seriously amazing and Chan, as usual is awesome.

Also, the kid that plays the “Johnny” character, Cheng.  That kid is terrifying. And his Kung Fu is unbelievable. He could parlay this role into becoming the next Jet Li. Hell, even if he parlays it into being the next William Zabka, then that would be awesome. Like become the “go to” bully for movies in the 2010s. That kid is fast and is visually amazing when fighting.  I hope we see more of him.

Han and Dre

The settings in this movie were beautiful as it was filmed on location all over China. So it was cool seeing Han and Dre have workouts on the Great Wall of China.  You also get great shots of Olympic center and downtown Beijing.

What didn’t I like. Well, like I said, I was surprised how much this movie directly lifted from the original. When Dre goes to check out the karate dojo and the teacher is yelling about weakness and mercy (just like Kreese), then the students bow and you see Cheng’s head just above everyone else and he spots Dre. It mirrors exactly the scene where Daniel is sitting in the Cobra Kai dojo for the first time and sees Johnny just as everyone bows (one of my favorite scenes by the way). Also, a lot of Han’s dialogue is directly lifted from Miyagi. I was mouthing the words as the movie went on. I’m probably landing on the side of not liking the similarities because since this movie copied so much of the original, I’m again forced to wonder why you would watch this movie as opposed to the nearly perfect original?  I don’t see a reason to watch this movie over the original.

And Jaden Smith?  He’s okay.  To be perfectly fair, Ralph Macchio was not my favorite part of the original movies.  It was always Pat Morita’s Miyagi character and Zabka’s Johnny Lawrence that I found fascinating.  So the fact that Smith’s Dre was not my favorite doesn’t necessarily mean he wasn’t good.  For me, he did okay, but you can tell his Kung Fu was not up to snuff because whenever he fought the camera all of a sudden got tourette’s and started shaking and moving all over the place making it hard to see what the hell was going on. And there wasn’t a “Crane Kick” in this movie.  You know, the Karate Kid finishing move.  I didn’t expect the “Crane kick” exactly, but something similar.  Instead we get some weird “snake charmer” move.  And when he wins the tournament, Dre pulls out some ridiculous Mortal Kombat type fatality move that comes completely out of left field.  You never saw him practice this move and it looks ridiculous and fake.  Like part CGI, part wire work.  TERRIBLE.

Seems the more I talk about this movie the less I like it.

I also prefered the leads being in high school as opposed to 12 years old.  But what’re you gonna do?  I’ll tell you what you are going to do, you’ll pop in the original Karate Kid DVD and watch that movie.  It’s superior in nearly every way and you’ll get 98% of the same story that’s in this new remake.

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6 Responses to “Review of the new Karate Kid”

  1. I might still check it out sometime, just for the novelty. Fortunately, I haven’t seen the original so many times that I know the lines verbatim. 🙂

  2. I honestly don’t think I want to ever watch this.

  3. I’ll still check it out for Jackie Chan. That moustache he’s sporting is pretty cool.

  4. I was wondering about this one. The orginal was really good.
    Thanks for the review.

  5. i still remember that movie when i was a kid..
    a superhero kid fight adult villain..
    that was so heroic..
    love it..

  6. I guess the problem I have with it is the fact that the movie is called THE KARATE KID and they are learning GODDAMN KUNG FU. Also, whether intended or not, there seems to be the “racist ethnic clash” scenario that wasn’t present in the original and yet seems to be necessary in just about any movie these days.

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