Monday, March 21, 2011

Finally Watched The New Karate Kid...

This past weekend, I finally broke down and watched the "re-imagining" of The Karate Kid. Despite all the hype and publicity surrounding the film (not to mention the ringing endorsements from my friends), I couldn't bring myself to be interested. I was sure that no matter what, they wouldn't be able to capture that ephemeral magic of the original. For some reason, though, I was able to get past my issues and watch the film.

The first thing that stood out the new movie was the respect for the Chinese culture that was evident throughout the film. Despite the nostalgic appeal of the original, there was a lack of knowledge about and respect for the culture they were showcasing. By taking the main characters out of the US and immersing them in the Chinese culture, they changed the emotional focus of the film. It expanded the "fish out of water" experience of main character, exacerbating his sense of alienation which adds whole new levels of gravitas to the moment when he integrates into the world around him.

Much to my surprise, the movie was able to recapture that relationship between the mentor and student, old and young, surrogate father and adopted son that is the core element of the original. I also like the comedic aspects of the film. They were integrated into the narrative of the movie in a much more effective way.

I can't say that this movie is better than the original. I can say it's more culturally aware than the original, and that it's an excellent re-telling of the Karate Kid story. I hate to say this, but my friends were right. In the end, this is a good movie.


  1. In my best The Simpson's "Nelson" voice I say:


    Told ya, dude. I wasn't going to disavow our friendship if you said this movie sucked. Okay, maybe not that extreme . . . but let's just say it's a good thing you liked it.

    As a China buff, of course, you know this movie resonated with me a lot more than most people. The original KK is so high up on my list, though, that this re-imagining had a long ways to go in order to win my affection. But it did. It really did!

  2. Despite all the positive feedback and your resounding endorsement (which does speak volumes for the film), I couldn't bring myself to watch it. I was convinced they wouldn't do it right. I mean for crying out loud, the original was about JAPAN, not China!!

    But I finally got over my fears and it turns out the film was great. I totally love it when I'm wrong! It's interesting though, cause some of the behind-the-scenes stuff implied that there might be a sequel in the works. I wonder how that story would work. Dre's return to the US?