ShoWest: Alex's Initial Reaction to Jaden Smith's Karate Kid
by Alex Billington
March 18, 2010
Believe it or not, I loved it. Yep, Sony decided to show their upcoming remake of The Karate Kid starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan to the exhibitor crowd at ShoWest in Las Vegas yesterday. And damnit, I loved it, even though it is a remake of one of everyone's favorites. Before I go any further, yes I've seen the original Karate Kid, and I love the original, but it's a campy 80's classic. This isn't a review since the version we saw was an early cut with a temp score, but this new Karate Kid is a wonderful contemporary homage to the original. It's an entertaining modern version of the same story, but set in an entirely different country.
Hopefully you've all seen the trailers for this by now, which got me pretty excited to begin with. Although I wasn't that impressed with Will Smith's son Jaden in The Pursuit of Happyness, he really steps it up here, not only in terms of acting, but it terms of physical prowess and martial arts skills. This kid can kick some serious ass and it was, as I was expecting, just awesome to see him train and learn from a legend like Jackie Chan. He's no Pat Morita, but Chan is a legend in his own right and he delivers a very strong and emotional performance that I haven't seen from him in years. The chemistry between Chan and Smith is just fantastic.
I don't know what else to say besides that I honestly just loved it. It was a bit long, which you may hear some complaints about from other folks who saw the movie, but I didn't think that was a big issue at all. I expect most people will go see this trying to hate it, and if that's the case, then they're obviously going to dislike it. But if you go in with an open mind, hoping to be entertained by a great movie with wonderful performances, you might enjoy as much as I did. I'll admit I was a little swayed by the use of some of The Last Samurai's score (at least I think that's what it was), since it's one of my all-time faves, but no one will hear that music in the final version. It's not entirely flawless, but I still loved the movie through and through, simple as that.
I hope those of you who are fans of the original can give this movie a chance to be great on its own. Don't try to hate it right off the bat, let it build and progress as its own movie, and you will certainly enjoy it as well!