Karate Kid remake hopes and fears

John Kreese of Cobra Kai says ‘Sweep the leg - no mercy’, and Hazel says ‘Karate Kid/Kung Fu Kid remake — why bother?’

Karate Kid

There’s been a fair bit of speculation about the remake of The Karate Kid. It’s one of those situations where my heart says, ‘Please, Sir. Can I have some more?’ but my head says, ‘I’d rather have rusty nails shoved into my eyeballs, thanks!’

I think I’m just suffering from an overdose of remakes/re-imaginings/reboots and sequels. There are wonderful exceptions. Look no further than Star Trek, Dark Knight and other examples for excellence, but on the whole, I wonder how many of the remakes really have any kind of re-watch appeal.

I’m even more confused now about The Karate Kid, having just heard that one of my favourite martial artists, Jackie Chan, is going to be taking over from Pat Morita in the Mr Miyagi-type role. Can anyone else do the classic ‘wax on, wax off’ speech so well? I’m struggling to understand how Mr Miyagi, who was Japanese and taught karate, can suddenly become Chinese and the ‘kid’ will not be learning karate but kung fu. So, The Karate Kid will now be ‘The Kung Fu Kid’. The film has been transplanted to China and filming has already begun.

Jackie is an absolute legend and I adore most of his Hong Kong movies (except Gorgeous – what the hell was he thinking with that one?) but he hasn’t had too much luck in Western cinema. Just look at Rush Hour 3 and say no more.

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I do hope that this production, which is helmed by Will Smith, fares better and the new ‘kid’ will be Will Smith’s son , Jaden. Jaden is starting to build up an impressive CV including Pursuit of Happiness (opposite his Dad). Just don’t talk to me about the tripe otherwise known as The Day The Earth Stood Still

Daniel-san was played by Ralph Macchio in the original film and it’s nice to see he will also be back on our screens soon in Ugly Betty. Up to this point I think my favourite Macchio performance is in My Cousin Vinny. That film was the first time we really got to see Ralph Macchio’s comedy acting chops. I hope he has a cameo in the Karate Kid/Kung Fu Kid remake.

When the original film came out, lots of kids, including me, insisted we wanted to learn karate and parents all over the world had to take their precious children to dodgy dojos. As a kid, one of my favourite t-shirt’s was my Cobra Kai t-shirt, which I wore whenever it wasn’t in the wash! I saw one recently at a convention and I must admit I was very tempted to get one in an adult size and I probably will next time I see it!

I appreciate that I probably sound insane defending a movie most people probably can’t stand or could not care less about and even I will admit it is corny and stupid. but Karate Kid Part 1 was still great. It was like watching an 80s John Hughes movie crossed with an underdog movie with a bit of martial arts thrown in.

I’m feeling very nostalgic towards this film and this is what I hope the remake includes:

Here are my top 5 wants for the film:

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1. Lots of classic quotes from the original film including the’ wax on, wax off’ speech.

2. A martial arts face-off against the Cobra Kai and a really entertaining bad guy /sensei like John Kreese in the original.  He’s got to come out with loads of memorable ‘no mercy!’ lines.

3. The new ‘kid’ must wear a tenugui on his head at some point in the film. Yes, I know it’s Japanese, but it will add to the nostalgia. I’d also love the see them include You’re The Best Around theme song but I appreciate that isn’t going to happen as it’s got to be one of the most naff 80s rock tracks out there!

4. Most important of all, because it’s Jackie and they seem to have completely rewritten the movie anyway, we MUST have lots and lots of Jackie Chan doing kung fu.

5. I’m hoping it will follow the same formula as other remakes and reboots and have plenty of cameos from the original cast.

Here are my top 5 quotes I’d like to see in the film:

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1. Daniel: Wouldn’t a fly swatter be easier? Miyagi: Man who catches fly with a chopstick can accomplish anything. Daniel: Ever catch one? Miyagi: No, not yet.

2. Cobra Kai: Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy, Sir.

3. Miyagi: Karate came from China, sixteenth century, called te ‘hand’. Hundred years later, Miyagi ancestors bring to Okinawa, called karate, ‘empty hand’. Daniel: I thought it came from Buddhist temples and stuff like that. Miyagi: You watch too much TV.

4. Tommy: Get him a body bag! Yeah!

5. Miyagi: Wax on, wax off.

The remake is going to be a very different film to the original which is almost 25 years old and having watched it again I have to admit it has dated badly. I’ll probably see the new version for nostalgia and out of loyalty to Jackie. At least Jackie is back on his home turf so he can show the Western production a thing or two about martial arts fight scenes on camera.

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I still can’t decide whether to see the film or not and I’ve got Joe Esposito playing as my head (Cobra Kai) and my heart (Miyagi Do Karate) are having their very own All Valley Karate Championship final round – two tickets for admission or rusty nails, anyone?  

Karate Kid – Joe Esposito – You’re The Best