Ralph Macchio is not in this trailer, but I watched it anyways. Come on in!
The Karate Kid
June 11th, 2010
The opening line of the trailer for the remake of the 1984 Karate Kid is one of the most ironic I’ve ever heard. “I feel like we’re on a quest to start a new life.” Mmm… can you feel those irony juices rolling down your chin? It really takes balls to advertise the remake of an already popular film with dialogue about beginning anew.
The big difference between the original and the remake is that this one decidedly more real, gritty and ethnic. They exchanged a white kid from Jersey with a Will Smith child with corn rows. They’ve moved the family’s new home from California to Beijing. And the trainer is no longer an asian actor forcing a fake accent because he was actually born in California and got his start in stand-up as “The Hip Nip” (all true according to imdb.com). He is now an actor born in Hong Kong that can barely speak English and is known for breaking almost every bone in his body doing martial arts. Yup, Jackie Chan.
But let’s take a moment to talk about Jaden Smith in this movie. Or Little Willy Style as I like to call him. I don’t think he’s a bad actor. And as far as kids go, either you have it or you don’t. And I think Little Willy Style has it. Except in the first line he has in trailer. In the scene they arrive at the run down looking “Beverly Hills Luxury Apartment” in Beijing. The mom makes a joke about how they’ve always wanted to live in Beverly Hills, right? Jaden is supposed to say, “Yeah, but I think we were talkin’ ’bout the other one, mom”. What Jayden actually says is “YeahbutIthinkwe’retalkinboutananotheronemom,” while looking off camera like he’s trying make eye contact with the director because he’s tired and hungry and the sun is in his eyes. He may also have to go to the bathroom. Really, director, there wasn’t one other take? And really trailer editor? You guys had to use this one line to introduce an actor that people are already going to hate because of nepotism and because he’s crushing their childhood memories by replacing their beloved Ralph Macchio. Okay, maybe “beloved” is a bit overboard, but at least TRY to give the new kid a shot to be liked damnit.
Next order of business, when Little Willie Style, or Black Ralph Macchio as I like to call him, gets confronted with bad guys and is out of his league, the trainer steps in…and starts beating up the kids. Wait, WHAT?! Yup, Mr. Miyagi (now named Mr. Han because it’s realer, grittier and more ethnic) steps in, grabs a kids wrists and fights back. Hmmm, seems like Black Ralph Macchio can go home. Movie over. This adult who’s already trained in martial arts seems to be taking care of things just fine. Not sure why Black Ralph Macchio or, BRM as I like to call him, needs to be there at all. But there’s probably about an hour and twenty minutes left at that point, so I guess they gotta do something. Make a realer, grittier more ethnic sweep the leg reference or something.
Also, when Mr. Han shows up the text on the screen says “A teacher he never expected.” Really? He never expected that guy from Hong Kong who was amazing at martial arts? I’ll be honest, I absolutely expected that. If some fat irish guy who carried around marionettes everywhere, or like a little old Ukrainian woman who sold oranges out of a cart showed up, sure, I could see him never expecting that. But it’s Jackie Chan, that’s EXACTLY who he should be expecting. Or at least hoping for in a best case scenario.
Now here’s a treat! In this version Mr. Han tells BRM to hang up his jacket, then take it down, then put it back up as training. But remember, Mr. Han is Jackie Chan. Telling him to take his jacket on and to take his jacket off. See where I’m going with this…That’s right, if you have a childlike sense of humor like me you will be delighted in the middle of the trailer when Jackie Chan tells BRM to “Jack it off!!!” Awesome. [1:06 on the official Youtube trailer if you're interested. Which you are.]
After that it’s blah, blah, training montage, blah. There’s a love interest. A chinese girl acting as ethnically stereotypical as possible, playing the violin in order to keep with the tone of the film. We end with a fury of pop culture references as BRP likens them to Yoda and a Jedi while Jackie Chan does an updated bit with a fly and chopsticks. BRM, or The Even Fresher Prince, as I like to call him delivers a one liner his dad would surely proud of to end the trailer; then millions of adults who grew up in the 80′s flock to Facebook to bitch about how their childhood is being ruined. I mean really, who would take the job or rewriting this thing? Whoever it is, has got to be ready to destroy a lot of nostalgia. Oh…I see….apparently it’s Mike Soccio. A guy who I used to be a personal assistant for. He was a nice guy and had a hilarious little, white poofy dog named “Puff Daddy.” So, screw all the haters, GO KARATE KID REMAKE!!!
Mike Betette (aka 4theluvofham and Berry of Fran and Berry) is a writer/improviser/actor living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. He has performed improv across the country with Mission Improvable and on a cruise ship around the world with The Second City. Mike has written for Blackbookmag.com, Superdeluxe.com, CurrentTV's Supernews! and has co-produced two improv game show pilots for CBS starring Craig Ferguson. Mike will also be appearing in the independent, improvised film, "Hitting The Nuts: The True Story of the 2009 Scott County Series of Poker" due out this summer.