The Karate Kid To Be Remade, Miyagi-san Weeps

So, remakes, redos, reboots, reimaginings, retreads, do-overs, mulligans, reworkings, and the raping of back catalogs are all the rage in Hollywood. With all the dignity of a crane kick to the face, Columbia Pictures has announced they are going remake The Karate Kid. It will be a vehicle for Will Smith’s soon-to-be-more-famous son/protogĂ© Jaden.

I don’t have a particular attachment to The Karate Kid, other than enjoying it as a kid and judiciously using ‘wax on, wax off’ and ‘Daniel-san’ over the years, but this kind of news really depresses me. It seems a very needless and random remake. What movie can we remake that stars a little kid? The Karate Kid hasn’t been redone yet, yeah, let’s do that! If there was some big karate renaissance, I could at least understand it. Since Jaden Smith is reportedly a martial arts buff and Will Smith one of the producers, you kind of get the vibe that maybe he told daddy he wants to be the Karate Kid and Big Willie made it happen.

Aside from the general sense of loathing for this project, I’m really miffed that the Variety article states that there is an “eccentric mentor.” I hope that was just the author’s words and not the basis for the character. I don’t think eccentric is the right word for a wisened immigrant with high moral character who wants to teach young men discipline and to believe in themselves.

The Cobra Kai Dojo is not going to be happy about having their legacy crapped on.

4 comments to The Karate Kid To Be Remade, Miyagi-san Weeps

  • I am a bit disappointed as well.

    I just recently reviewed the original Karate Kid 1 and 2 and liked it as it was — a popcorn, entertaining movie that should go down in history as that cheesy 80′s American karate take.

    And in the same way, I really don’t enjoy the fact that just because some soon to be kid-star wants to use a classic film not meant to be remade as his vehicle.

    *ashamed*

  • Furious

    For it’s time, The Karate Kid is really a classic, but once they remade Psycho, nothing is off limits. I get the feeling that someday old fogies will be identified by saying things like “I remember when they first remade that movie.”

  • Adam

    Just curious, but has there ever been a time when the pillaging of previous classics hasn’t been popular? There’s been 3 King Kongs, 4 Sense and Sensibilities, and no less than 16 Wizard or Ozes. Isn’t this how the business of storytelling works?

  • Furious

    Adam-

    Thanks for the comment. No, it’s not a new phenomenon at all and is really just business as usual, but I think it does underscore the business aspect and makes me ask if the point of most movies is to entertain and enlighten or just give you something familiar to pry away your dollars.

    When the source material for a movie is something besides another movie, there will always be different interpretations of the source, and I personally don’t have a huge problem with adaptations of that nature, though I’d always prefer something fresh. With a remake, you’re taking a final product that already exists and repackaging it.

    When the source a movie is another movie, you generally either get a close facsimile of the original wherein the goal is replicating the source or a movie with a few similar elements and a lot of original ideas. The former, like the Psycho remake, seems purposeless and marginalizes the movie as more of an experiment in mimicry (which I suppose can be an art form itself). The latter is not really a remake so much as a new movie with elements familiar to an audience, which makes it feel like a capitalist venture before a work of art.

    To use King Kong as an example, neither the 1976 or 2005 versions made any profound new revelations on the themes of the original. The 1976 version changed the details of the story and reused the characters from the original and the 2005 version was more faithful to the events of the original, both fitting pretty closely with the two remake outcomes I stated above. They really only served to modernize the special effects, for which they both won awards.

    The Karate Kid is not going to be talked about with the greatest movies ever made, but for it’s time it was a pretty good movie, and I think there’s more value in viewing an original piece of art than someone else’s re-creation.

    Unlike a painting or a statue, watching a movie also involves a significant investment in time. I would rather spend that time taking in new ideas and experiences instead of a tweaked version of something I’ve already seen. But maybe that’s just me. I know there are plenty of people that enjoy and even look forward to these remakes.

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