02 July 2010

The Karate Kid (1984) vs. The Karate Kid (2010)

Last week, I went to the movie theater and saw two flicks: Pixar's "Toy Story 3" and the remake of "The Karate Kid". I'm not going to bother writing a review for "Toy Story 3", since it was actually awesome and I recommend everyone else to see it.

As for "The Karate Kid", it's basically a remake and nothing more. I'm not going to bother writing elaborate analyses here, since there's nothing really special about the film. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't the best film of the year; it was a decent film, and if you haven't see the original 1984 version or were a fan of it, you might actually enjoy the 2010 version.

However, similar the two movies can be, there are differences, with some obvious and some slight. Although the character roles are the same, they all have different names, appearances, personalities and M.Os. Here's a short character list, starting with "role-->original character/remake character":

Underdog hero ---> Daniel LaRusso/Dre Parker
Love interest ---> Ali Mills/Mei Ying
Hero's mother ---> Mrs. LaRusso/Mrs. Parker
Asian handyman---> Keisuke Miyagi/Mr. Han
Arrogant bully---> Johnny Lawrence/Cheng
Evil sensei ---> Sensei John Kreese/Master Li

Also, the main character is a young black boy rather than a high school guido, and he's facing off Chinese kids trained in the Fighting Dragons school of kung fu, rather than fighting blonde SoCal teens trained in the Cobra Kai dojo. What's unfortunate about this is that there are many scenes involving mean-spirited Chinese kids ganging up and beating the little black kid to death. I just can't get comfortable seeing that. Also, instead of the film being set in California, it's now set in Beijing, China. Various details are also changed or updated to fit this time period, such as music and technology. But, the biggest difference is also the biggest gripe: the martial arts. Whereas the original film is accurate in which the characters are practicing various forms of karate, the remake has the characters using different styles of kung fu. Yes, the locale is China and kung fu is commonplace there, but why is the movie still called "The KARATE Kid"? That misnomer bothers me. A lot. It should've been renamed "The Kung Fu Kid", or something similar.

Plot is pretty much the exact same: Single mother and kid move to some far-away place, kid meets girl, assholes treat kid like shit, said assholes beat up kid, old Asian handyman beats up assholes, handyman and kid visit assholes' dojo and the master is an even bigger asshole, they all decide to fight once and for all at a local tournament, kid and handyman train through unconventional methods via montage, kid finds handyman drunk while lamenting about his past, the two bond even closer, they finally enter the tournament, fighting montage leaves the kid and the lead asshole in the final showdown, the asshole cheats and breaks kid's leg as instructed by evil master, kid uses special technique and wins the tournament and the girl, movie ends. It's just now about a black kid in China learning kung fu. Only real difference.

For final review, I give the original a B- whereas I give the remake a C due to it being the same, but without the neat 80s music. Good night.

siggy 2010

Background © BIRD STUDIO/Shueisha/Banpresto