Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

I wonder if our parents felt as strongly when subjected to Tiffany’s “I Saw Him Standing There”

To go all codgery for a moment: Karate Kid remake?


I am generally open-minded about all sorts of movies, and most of the time, reinventions and reboots don’t bug me, good or bad.This one, though, has me feeling extremely “Blee-effing-ARGH.”

Oh, well. At the very least, it gives me a reason to remind people that scriptwriter Robert Mark Kamen’s opening of the original remains iconic 26 years later, and that kids today are watching and enjoying and quoting from that version, which says an awful lot.

EDIT: added May 31 –

Upon further review while mowing the lawn yesterday, I concede a minor error in the inclusion of Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in this category, since it’s really an interpretation of the original book and not based on the 1971 Willy Wonka movie.

In fact, I’d feel a lot less cranky about this new Karate Kid movie if, similarly, it was based on some sort of original source material from which the 1984 version was also drawn – but it’s not. And what my irritation comes down to in light of that, I think, is the usage of the title. (Put that way, yes, it does make me sound a little irrational, and that wouldn’t be an entirely off-base assessment.)

Because here’s the thing: If you want to make a misfit/mentor coming-of-age movie, go ahead – it’s a generic enough storyline that anyone can tackle it. Don’t call it The Karate Kid, though. Consider the way Love Don’t Cost A Thing was a pull-no-punches remake of Can’t Buy Me Love, for instance: I’m OK with that. Same story, two different movies, and both get their own identity.

Call this Jackie Chan movie Kung-Fu Urchin or Martial-Arts Manly Makover or something, and honestly, I’d care a whole lot less. My feeling though, is that Hollywood knows a movie like that – without the benefit of the original’s title – would probably strike people as much more of a Three Ninjas or Wendy Wu, Homecoming Warrior than the marketable summer star-maker they’re clearly hoping the new Karate Kid becomes. (Me, I’m hoping it goes the way of Gus Van Sant’s Psycho, but then again, I’m bitter that way.)

And it may be a fine movie. It may even be a great movie, even if its makers didn’t have the faith enough in their own craft to let it stand on its own. But it’s still not The Karate Kid.

May 30, 2010 - Posted by | 1980s, eighties, Film, writing | , ,


  1. My eight-year-old kiddo is SUPER excited about this movie, and I am equally excited to take him to it as a “school’s out” treat in a couple of weeks. Sometimes you just gotta set aside your crotchety old man mindset and roll with it. I do love the original as a classic of the ’80s, but I have no problem with this remake in concept and am looking forward to watching it with my kiddo. (Sure, the movie might end up being a leg-sweep to the forebrain in execution, but I’m not going to discount the *idea* of the movie out of hand.)

    Stop yelling at those kids on your lawn, and let ’em have their fun!

    Comment by AB | May 30, 2010 | Reply

    • Has he seen the original?

      Comment by jrbooth | May 30, 2010 | Reply

      • Nope. Nor has he shown any desire to see it, so I’m not going to force the issue. This version can be *his* version to enjoy.

        Comment by AB | May 30, 2010

  2. Regardless of how scary your attachment to the original Karate Kid movie and venom towards the remake you’ve never seen is, which is the more egregious crime against your childhood: a remake of a 20+ year old movie (a la Karate Kid) or a sequel to a 20+ year old movie (like Wall Street)?

    Comment by AB | May 31, 2010 | Reply

    • Hey, now: I never went the “crime against my childhood” route because a) I don’t think that’s the case here, and b) you know I think that’s a lousy argument all around anyway. I simply think The Karate Kid is a good enough movie that it doesn’t need a bastardized remake to find a modern audience.

      Wall Street? Can’t say – never saw it.

      Comment by jrbooth | May 31, 2010 | Reply

      • “Wall Street? Can’t say – never saw it.”

        Ha. Let’s be honest, you “never saw” the remake of Karate Kid and that hasn’t stopped you from having an opinion.

        Regardless, my “which is worse” question is not geared to a specific movie, I merely gave an example of each. So, which is worse: a remake of a 20+ year old movie or a sequel to a 20+ year old movie? Answer the question, Claire.

        Comment by AB | May 31, 2010

  3. Fair enough: I’ll take the bait and say remakes are worse.

    For example – Take Indy IV: The movie’s existence does not in any way harm the awesomeness of Raiders. Now, imagine the release of an all-new Raiders of the Lost Ark starring Owen Wilson and Kristen Bell as Indy and Marion in a race to find the Ark’s home in the Tunguskan wilderness with their wacky pet orangutan in tow. Call it what you want, but that movie isn’t going to be Raiders of the Lost Ark, and it’s unfair to the original creation to position it as such.

    Out of curiosity – and this is meant sincerely as well as in the spirit of the debate – what it is it about the new Karate Kid that has your kid so excited? Because my question stands: Why does this have to be a new “Karate Kid” movie to have appeal? I stand by my assertion that it’s because without the name, they’ve got no marketing muscle to push this movie, and that says a lot about how they apparently feel about the product itself.

    Comment by jrbooth | May 31, 2010 | Reply

  4. Finally took the kiddo to see the Karate Kid remake. Here are my thoughts on it…

    Comment by AB | June 28, 2010 | Reply

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