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!
Reader Feedback - 50 Comments
So let me get this straight. You call people out by saying that if we go in trying, and you even put that in italics, saying that we are doing it out of illogical thinking while you are the one with reason here, will dislike it not because of the movie but because we fool ourselves to think that? But then, isn't it kinda ironic that you went in ready to love it? "and it was, as I was expecting, just awesome to see him train and learn from a legend like Jackie Chan" You didn't went in with an open mind either. Open mind means that you are going without too much expectations, and you're ready to either dislike it or like it. Open mind doesn't mean "Go in and try to like it for what it is". You didn't go in with an open mind. I'll try to do that though, even if the talent involved points to a bad movie.
Darunia on Mar 18, 2010
The ONLY reason this kid is the Karate Kid is that this movie is produced by his parents and his father's personal producer James Lassiter.
Jonah on Mar 18, 2010
Change it to Kung Fu Kid or I won't see it. I won't see a movie that tries to use title recognition to get my money.
Bum Love on Mar 18, 2010
Sound like a fun movie. I saw the trailers and I'd watch it.
Quaked2023 on Mar 18, 2010
Glad you enjoyed it, Alex. I admit I wasn't interested at first, but the trailers got me hooked. Thanks 4 explaining the meaning of the Karate title. I guess it makes sense. Anyway, I think this could be a nice surprise. Thanks again for sharing! : )
Daniel-san on Mar 18, 2010
Alex... you should have warned "spoiler alert" when you explained how & why he learned kung fu. Any chance of me seeing this film is officially gone because of the studios attempt to manipulate me with a false title. Also, I think Will Smith should punish his child for his hair style and his bad acting chops... probably got that from his mother.
Brian Thinks Jaden Smith enjoys ruining movies he is in. on Mar 18, 2010
STOP SKIRTING AROUND THE MOST IMPORTANT ANSWER WE ALL WANT TO KNOW, ALEX!!!! um........was "wax on, wax off" in it?
Voice of Reason on Mar 18, 2010
I think this movie is for a new generation of fans who have not seen the originals, just like other remakes i guess. The original 3 movies were very dear to me me growing up, I even played the NES game for Pits' sake. So yes, fans of the original movies are against this kind of stuff because we don't see the point of remaking something that is great. So I'm going to skip it out on principle and because I'm not the target market for this... They could have just change the name to Kung Fu kid and I would have been ok with this.
almartva on Mar 18, 2010
Rob on Mar 18, 2010
The movie is a remake, that's why they're using the same name. It's a remake that is going to be extremely different than the original but at it's heart it's still a remake. Also Karate technically is Kung fu, just adapted and changed over the years by the Japanese. They have the same roots so stop complaining. I personally was excited for this movie the moment I heard about it. I'm a giant fan of the original movies and I'm happy that the story is going to be kept alive for a new generation. The fact that they use the same name doesn't bug me in the slightest. Because I know if they used a different name, Much of the general public wouldn't realize that it's a remake and complain that it was way to similar to the karate kid. Maybe I'm just cynical but people are going to complain about stuff like that no matter what. I know that I plan on seeing this as soon as I can after it comes out.
Joe Ho on Mar 18, 2010
A l e x don't pay any attention to # 1 - he's a troll.
Jake the snake on Mar 18, 2010
A remake of a film that has no problem being understood today just as it did 20 years is probably the dumbest idea ever. I cant believe people are buying this bullshit. Its unnecessary to the highest degree.
Al on Mar 18, 2010
There is no way this is good. Even if it was good it still cannot be. This kid cannot act.
Chev Chelios on Mar 18, 2010
i agree with #14,they should have made this movie more close to the original
Spider94 on Mar 18, 2010
F U * K YOU. Sellout.
smackyou on Mar 18, 2010
Nice i'll be seeing it, looks like fun
Duck on Mar 18, 2010
The original Karate Kid is not an untouchable masterpiece, it more then a little bit corny at points. I guarantee if you showed this movie to a group of kids back to back with the original they'd prefer the new one. Yes, the use of a familiar title is designed to bring in a cretin number of people who love the original but ultimately this is a movie for a young audience who probably have never seen the original and probably wouldn't go out of they're way to do so. They could never outdo the original film for the people who saw it in there formative years but if they made a good movie with elements from the original then mission accomplished as far as I'm concerned. I've read a bunch of reactions to this movies showing at ShoWest and Alex isn't they only one who's saying it doesn't suck so for once how about the fanboys reserve judgement until they actually see the movie.
sideshowRaheem on Mar 18, 2010
Who goes into a movie hating it?
Daniel felts on Mar 18, 2010
I rather sit thru some Gerard Butler shitfest than this and that's pure hell. Got to be the worst movie I wont watch this year.
People's Champ on Mar 18, 2010
Gosh I love comments on this site. IT'S THE SHITTEST MOVIE EVER AND I HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET. How does that even make sense? I sometimes like it when remakes take the same story and twist it a little. I mean at least It's a little bit different. I've come to terms that Hollywood isn't original anymore. Well I'll rephrase that. Hollywood is afraid to be original cause they might lose some lunch money.
CSGabriel on Mar 18, 2010
Great write up Alex! Was a little torn about this but I have to admit the trailer got me interested, I'm NOT a fan of Jayden smith at all. Hated him in The Day the Earth Stood Still, but I do love a good martial arts movie. Lookin forward to seein it.
sam on Mar 18, 2010
#21 Thanks for bringing some "Common Sense" to these idiotic comments some of these FOOLS have been making. I love the orginal Karate Kid films...except for parts 3 & 4 and I am looking forward to what they are going to do with this "remake". I love when the guys on boards like these want to complain about someone's acting. As if any of these dudes know ONE thing about "acting".
JAY on Mar 18, 2010
"Believe it or not, I loved it." Why am I not surprised to hear this from you?
sean on Mar 18, 2010
To make this more modern, it would have been better if he did what most kids do today, nothing. Instead of learning kungfu or karate or some other bullshit, he would have went home after getting beaten up, grabbed a small kitchen knife, found the kid who beat him up and stabbed the shit out of him.
Crapola on Mar 18, 2010
A lot of ou guys are just hating that its a smith production, krate kid 2 & 3 weren't all that great, jaden is working his way up and soon enough do it 20mil big like his dad, I agree with alex, karate kid 1 was cool, but far from a masterpiece!
viewers chioce on Mar 18, 2010
#15. WTF? If you want to see a movie closer to the original, watch the original. So many people have preconceived notions about what they want this film to be, or ideas about how this film is going to be for them. To be brutally honest, I have no time for opinions expressed by the uninformed who have not even seen the move before passing pre-judgement. Either give it a chance, or go and see it with an open mind first.
cinemabandit on Mar 18, 2010
I hate when people assume my complaints are "pre-conceived" One should note I'm not attacking the film at hand, but the decision to re-make a movie that easily stands the test of time (or at least the test of the last few decades) Re-booting it brings nothing to the table.....at all, except for the bling bling. Its not even that I like the Karate Kid films that much, its just that I hate studio money grabs that are completely arbitrary. On a completely different note, i agree with 24.
Al on Mar 18, 2010
#26 This is the problem you have no way of knowing if this new movie brings anything to the table because you haven't seen it. Yes, those of us who watched the movie when it first came out think it stands the test of time but I can tell you that when I showed the movie to my young nephews, who were no older then I was when I saw "The Karate Kid" for the first time, it doesn't exactly connect with todays youth. This movie is obviously made to connect with the kids of 2010 not the kids of 1984. I'm not even saying this things gonna be great but I can see from the trailer that it doesn't appear to be terrible but I'll hold my final judgement till June.
sideshowRaheem on Mar 18, 2010
Oh god! How pathetic is that excuse!? "This remake is made for the new generation who hasn't seen the originals.' You know, I have a great idea - how about we simply re-release the originals in cinemas and then the new generation can lap them up? Studios will save a few pennies to put towards original projects, and maybe even a few charities! No, not a good idea? Oh yeah, we're living in a world populated by adolescent fish who demand shock every two seconds because that is all their attention span can muster. Ah well, the fish keep Matthew Broderick happy. "That's a lot of fish!" There is indeed, Matthew, there is indeed....
Captain Cynical on Mar 18, 2010
#28 Let me ask you a question, when you were a kid how many movies that came out lets say 2 and a half decades before you were born were you really into. Their are classics like "The Wizard of Oz" and maybe "Havey" that can appeal to kids from every generation but films like that are few and far between and a movie like "The Karate Kid" is very much of it's time. When you watch it today it feels like a movie from the 80's, it's not timeless. My point is if the studio put out the original no young kids would be into it and sure you would get some 30 somethings that want to see it on the big screen again but for the most part it would not be a hit and you know that. This is why films get remade, no one is forcing you to go see it if you not interested my the blu-ray and sit at home that fine. What I don't get is how people can crap all over a movie that they haven't seen.
sideshowRaheem on Mar 18, 2010
Sideshow - As a child there were at least 50 films I adored that werent close to my generation. And you didn't understand my point, it has absolutely nothing to do with Karate Kid but the fact that the original stands the test of time (or at least the past few decades) well enough to be understood by this generation. Im not even a huge Karate Kid fan, but Im more or less upset by the notion of the film industry that you dont need inspiration to write a film, but rather look for whats popular to demographics. So again, Im not questioning the final outcome of the film, it could be Citizen fucking Kane for all I know, Im questioning the reasoning behind making a movie again that doesnt need to be remade. Unoriginality is a plague. And before you get all "nothing is technically original" just know, I dont give a shit if the a is taking similar themes, or based off an idea, but the unprecedented amount of remakes/adaptations is simply sickening.
Al on Mar 18, 2010
Al I'm not against your argument for more originality but it really doesn't work for this movie in particular let me tell you why. This movie is really just remake in title only, the two main characters are a completely different race, none of the character names are the same as the original, it takes place in a completely different country and the story is similar to the original only in the most basic way. What you and other people are upset about is the stupid title. If this movie would have stayed with the production title of "The Kung Fu Kid" many people are openly saying they wouldn't be upset. Yes, the marketing people used the name of a movie that people already knew in order to sell the project better.
sideshowRaheem on Mar 18, 2010
I'm from Australia and it's getting released in some places here as the KUNG FU KID. I guess the international title is going to be KUNG FU KID not sure but must be the US that is getting Karate Kid.
TKaihea on Mar 18, 2010
Yes, in most places it's gonna be titled "The Kung Fu Kid" in America and a few other countries it's "The Karate Kid". That's my main issue people are trashing this movie mostly based on semantics when the only thing that matters is, regardless of the title and money reasons behind the name change, did they make a good movie.
sideshowRaheem on Mar 18, 2010
Wow. After reading this and the review on comming soon im nothing less than schocked. But i just cant give my money to Harald Zwart again. He scared me soooooo bad with the pink panther 2.
movie mike on Mar 18, 2010
Alex I have to agree with #3. I won't be seeing this film because of the title. Why the hell call the film "The Karate Kid" when he is learning Kung Fu? That would be like having a remake of Ghostbusters and having them do dustbusting instead! Plus you say you enjoyed the trailers of this film to begin with, well I for one did not and I didn't just enjoy the first film I loved it.
last son on Mar 18, 2010
I'm actually really looking forward to seeing this. From what I saw in the trailer, I love the use of the Chinese country-side which is so beautiful. It seems that this movie is trying to appeal a little more to the growing interest of fans these days who no longer want to see an 80s teen movie about a kid who is bullied and learns to fight, they want to really be thrown into the world of kung fu. Can't wait to see it. Also, Alex, I'm very pleased to hear that The Last Samurai is one of your all time favorites, as it is mine as well 🙂
Jessguy on Mar 18, 2010
#15 if the movie was close to original then you would say they should've changed the script.....dont comment before watching any movie...
HellBoy on Mar 19, 2010
My coffee entered my lungs as I read this on http://www.comingsoon.net/news/showestnews.php?id=64310 "Also, we'll gladly go on record that Sony has a serious Oscar contender on their hands in many categories with The Karate Kid, including Best Picture, directing, writing, cinematography, James Horner's score, and yes, even Jackie Chan in the supporting actor category!"
David Banner on Mar 19, 2010
Why was my comment where I asked if the audience laughed inappropriately when Chan asks Jade to "jack it off" deleted? It's in the trailer. It's a legit question. If you are too immature to answer it, so be it....but don't become comment nazis.
Bum Love on Mar 19, 2010
#1 you actually dont have a life, that was one of the weirdest observations from someones opinion that I have ever seen. you need to get laid buddy, but if your with a girl and she says she wants to sleep with you, do yourself a favour and dont blurt out things like that. peace
Herezjonny on Mar 19, 2010
Sideshow, I understand what you're saying and I'll try to go in with an open mind, sorry about the rant.
Al on Mar 19, 2010
Did you just say The Last Samurai is one of your all time favs??? WTF... seriously.
Edgar on Mar 20, 2010
Chu talking about? The Last Samurai is a great movie. One of the best movie out there.
EdgarCounter on Mar 20, 2010
Hilarious. And yes, one of the best movies ever.
EdgarCounterSupporter on Mar 21, 2010
the title really bothers me. it's not semantics. it's really a slap in the face for all japanese and chinese people. it's like saying that leprechauns live in scotland. that polish people wear lederhosen. or that alicia keyes is from africa. come on, will smith... you should know better.
makeitright on Mar 23, 2010
They better change the title to "the kid who tried to learn karate but then trained Kung fu who's dad is the guy from the fresh prince of bel-air who produced the movie and got the awesome jackie chan to be in it too" or IM NOT WATCHING IT! to all the people pissing on this movie, Have you watched it? otherwise you're just talking out of your ass
Lando is a system not a man on May 28, 2010
@47 lol i think what you should really say is its a slap in the face for all japanese and chinese people because its its like saying american indians are from india or better yet its like saying learning italian is as easy as english because they both use the same alphabet.
Shyguy on Jun 4, 2010
How the hell can you sit here and call this the worst movie when A. you haven't seen it. B. Early critis are already giving it a positive buzz C. You have no legitimate reasons to even critique the movie other than your antipathy towards Will Smith and his son or the stupid confusion over the title. @49 Seriously, are you guys really that stupid. Or do you just enjoy the the idea of rebellious hatred for something just illogical. It's called The Karate Kid because it's a stigma, they are teasing him as the Karate Kid. From the director: "Zwart: No, in going to China, it had to be kung fu. And we just had to figure out how to make people understand that we know China is kung fu and karate is Japan. And we decided to keep the title because when you see the movie, you'll understand that it is a stigma. They are teasing him by calling him the karate kid. That's why it made total sense to us. In the movie, also the mom who doesn't really know the difference, she says, 'didn't you like that karate class?' And he goes, 'it's not karate mom.' So we all know it's kung fu."
kaypain on Jun 7, 2010
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