1984’s version of The Karate Kid is legendary. So legendary that Youtube decided to create the incredible spinoff series, Cobra Kai, and then sell off the rights to Netflix, which brings me to this week’s topic for No Skill November.
Remakes are a slippery slope. If not done correctly, they can be terrible. And that’s precisely what the 2010 remake of the Karate Kid is. HORRIBLE! Now, I must admit that I’m an eighties baby, so there’s no way I can be unbiased about The Karate Kid. For starters, The Original Karate Kid was so magical a remake shouldn’t have even been considered. I mean, there’s no better Karate teacher than Mr. Miyagi. Case Closed. Debating the fact would be wholly unnecessary and a total waste of time. But Will Smith just had to go and insert his kid into a movie that couldn’t possibly be improved, so here we are.
So Jaden Smith plays Dre Parker, the knockoff version of Daniel LaRusso. As the movie starts, Dre and his mother are moving to China. And, since it’s a remake and can’t get its own storylines, it doesn’t take long to figure out that the maintenance man, Mr. Han, is the generic Mr. Miyagi. Now I usually don’t have anything against Jackie Chan, but Mr. Han is a pathetic attempt at recreating the all-out magic Miyagi’s perfect character displayed. Anyway, Dre is a cocky little brat, so it doesn’t take long for him to start getting bullied by the local group of thugs. And guess what? Dre starts getting bullied over a girl, EXACTLY how Daniel LaRusso’s troubles began with Johnny Lawrence. If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that you don’t just come into a new town and move in on another guy’s tail.
Ok, so this next part burns me up. At least Mr. Miyagi was beating the crap out of teenage boys that were driving around in cars. Dre Parker is a twelve-year-old boy, which means he’s probably getting bullied by other twelve-year-old boys. As Dre is getting that ass beat by these twelve or thirteen-year-old boys, Mr. Han comes to the rescue. And proceeds to lay the smackdown on these little kids. Is Mr. Han even aware that Dre has brought this recent beatdown on by his own stupid actions? Dre had already gotten his ass kicked by Cheng, the ring leader of the local thugs, but he had to poke the bear. As Cheng was displaying his martial arts skills to the other thugs, Dre just had to go and soak him down by dumping what I assume to be shit water all or piss all over him. So, if you mess with the bull, you get the horns. Dre deserved the punches to the face Cheng was about to deliver when Mr. Han showed up to beat the crap out of babies.
Alright, what happens next is something that’s been bothering me for years, and I can’t for the life of me get over it. Mr. Han starts talking to Dre about Kung Fu. Not KARATE, like the name of the movie. So why in the sam hell does this movie have to call itself the Karate Kid? If Mr. Han prefers to call his fighting style Kung Fu, shouldn’t it be called the Kung Fu kid? I mean, Goodfellas is about gangsters, not FBI agents looking to make a big bust. It’s about Gangsters, which is what Goodfellas are. And this movie is about a kid that learns Kung Fu from a generic Mr. Miyagi. I don’t even think they mention Karate in this movie.
And I love these teachers in these movies. The kid wants to learn kung fu because, you know, he’s been getting his ass thoroughly beaten since moving to China. And during the middle of one of the previously mentioned ass beatings in Mr. Han comes to beat some ass. But for reasons beyond an average person’s comprehension, Mr. Han resists training the little brat. According to Mr. Han, he needs a better reason. Well, that’s easy for Han to say since he already knows how to defend himself.
Ok, so since this movie can’t write its own storylines, you probably know what’s coming next. Mr. Han brings Dre to Cheng’s Dojo. But upon discovering how much of an asshole Cheng’s teacher is, it doesn’t take Mr. Han long to realize the guys unreasonable. Han tries to make a break for it, but Master Li stops him and wants things settled on the Karate mat, which is only fair. Han bails Dre out by agreeing for Dre to face Cheng in the upcoming Karate tournament. Sound familiar??
So the training begins. Mr. Han tells Dre to pick up his jacket and hang it up. Then, he instructs Dre to take it down. Next, he tells him to put it on, then take it off and throw it on the ground. Hang it up, take it down, put it on. Over and over and over and over again. These training tactics went on for days. If learning Karate or Kung Fu were this easy, I’d be the master of disaster at both by now. Anyway, Han’s training doesn’t compare to Miyagi’s wax on wax off style and should be disregarded entirely if you encounter actual danger in your life. The next 45 minutes of the movie are irrelevant and add nothing new to the overall plot. It’s just a bunch of sappy Mr. Han getting to know Dre’s mom and Dre being all ga ga over the girl that got him into all of this trouble in the first place crap. We’ve seen all of this before, in a much shorter and much better version called the Karate Kid, starring Daniel LaRusso.
Ok, so we FINALLY get to the tournament. Gee oh, Gee, I wonder who squares off in the final match? As if Dre would lose an opening-round matchup and thereby never face the demons of Cheng kicking his ass in front of the girl they both love. Now that would’ve been the twist this movie needed. Instead, we get the EXACT tactics that were implemented against Daniel LaRusso. One of Li’s OTHER students tries crippling Dre to the point where he can’t finish the tournament. Then, Dre has a heart to heart with Mr. Han and decides that he can, in fact, win this tournament. KABOOM! Mr. Han somehow gives Dre the confidence he needs to face Cheng by doing the fiery cup thing. So, Dre and Cheng have a back and forth match, with Dre being less believably hurt than Daniel LaRusso was. I mean, come on here. Dre goes limping out there and then performs gymnastics-type moves throughout this matchup with Cheng, whos been training REAL Kung Fu for years upon years. It gets worse. With Li’s encouragement, Cheng goes full Johnny Lawrence and decides to attack Dre’s injury. But the damage inflicted upon Dre doesn’t matter because he proceeds to pull off the most ridiculous move of all time, especially when you consider that the most intense part of his training was putting his jacket on and taking it off over and over again. Dre performs some backflip jump and lands a kick directly on Cheng’s chin. BOOM! Match over. Dre wins, and this movie sucks balls.
In the aftermath, Li squares off against Han, which is like a rip off of Miyagi facing John Kreese in The Karate Kid II opening.
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, check out more No Skill November Posts below. And be sure to check our EFY Cinema Category for more crazy movie posts. Have a great day!