I had the privilege of watching The Karate Kid last night and I was quite blown away. This movie was great. Now, I will start by saying that other than Jackie Chan, I was against this movie when they announced it. First and foremost, the original KK didn't need to be remade. That movie, with all of it's flaws, is a classic and I know I'm not the only one who loves it. Second, to replace Daniel-Son with a mini Will Smith was almost insulting, and I didn't even have anything to do with either films. You take all of the high-school angst and drama and give it to a ten year-old? The fudge ever. However, as time moved on and I saw more trailers and scenes, I started to get more intrigued. This was looking like it could actually shape-up to be a good show.
And I do believe it did. Even though it runs almost two and a half hours, I never felt the drag of it. And Jaden "Will Smith Jr" Smith was actually pretty good. Not a performance that was worthy of the highest praise but good. But Jackie Chan was this movie for me. Just as Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi was the star of the first one (even getting an Oscar nomination for Supporting Actor), Chan as Mr. Han took this one. I have been a Chan Fan for many a year and this may be one of his finest performances (once you see the "drunk anniversary" scene, you will be forced to agree with me). I know the standards have changed over the years, but if Morita can be nominated for his, Chan certainly deserves to be nominated for his. Chan and Smith actually made a really good duo on screen and I loved it.
This is a movie that I was hoping didn't suck and when that's the mind frame, things don't usually turn out for the better. But this one absolutely did. I came outta this movie remembering why I loved the first one so much. Yes it has it's slower parts and yes it has some questionable acting and lines but the feel of this movie and the heart of the story are very much those of the original and I am very grateful that they were able to keep that.
As Vanity Fair says "What’s wrong with a film that, while it doesn’t have a whole lot to say (except there seem to be some real asshole kids walking around Beijing) makes you walk out of the theater in a good mood?"
(on on a side-not, the same VF review says if you have trouble thinking it should be a remake, then call it The Kung-Fu Pre-Teen, since there wasn't actually karate in the movie, which is true)