Monday, June 28, 2010
The Karate Kid (2010)
By Reymundo Salao
The original Karate Kid movie which was such a hit in the 1980s was more of a teen flick; or rather one of the earliest teen flicks that appealed to all demographics because of its action content and teen romance element as well. But that concept is actually very common today. In order to make good resurrection of the Karate Kid concept, it is inevitable to make alterations and to take the concept to the higher level. And this new Karate Kid movie achieves that with flying colors. Among the pop category movies I’ve seen this year so far, I would have to say that this was one of the (if not THE) best.
The treatment of the new Karate Kid movie only required few major alterations apart from the original movie, and the rest was re-using the original concept. The pattern of events on this new movie and the old movie seems to be completely the same. You have the bullied kid, the cruel bullies, the unlikely handyman who comes to rescue the bullied kid and is revealed to be actually a martial arts master, the use of unlikely and unconventional methods in teaching martial arts, and the events leading up to the big martial arts tournament.
Personally, I think it was a wise choice to have the main central kid character much younger than the teenage Karate Kid that appears in the original, because this version becomes much more refreshing, and avoids the teen movie Twilight stigma it could possibly have if it were to have an older main character. It is easy for audiences to relate and sympathize with a more emotionally frail protagonist, one who will do feel the sense of alienation of living in a foreign land.
This movie really is a boy’s tale; it tells how it is living as a kid who has to deal with bullies, the conflict of having to face them, and the conflict of finding the courage to stand up to them. It really goes into the mind of a kid and how he deals with his insecurities, his problems, and the things he has to overcome in his young life.
The original Karate Kid movie was actually nothing more than an American version of the many kung-fu movies (among them include Jackie Chan movies like Snake in the Eagles Shadow) about a kid learning martial arts from an unlikely teacher employing unlikely manners of training. It sort of goes around full circle as the movie employs Jackie Chan himself the Martial Arts icon who has starred in those Hong Kong movies where this concept originally drew inspiration from. It is actually a really good thing that Chan is given a much more serious role in this movie; over the years Hollywood has just turned Chan into a cartoony caricature of him, disregarding Chan's capacity for powerful acting, the way he exhibits in Hongkong movies. But in this Karate Kid movie, we see a glimpse of a more serious Jackie Chan, an emotionally traumatized character actually who finds peace via the friendship with Dre (Jaden Smith). For a child actor, Jaden has overflowingly impressive potential. His acting is effortlessly sincere throughout the movie.