Old Guy vs. Young Guy – The Original Karate Kid (1984) vs. The New Karate Kid (2010)

Which movie is better – the original Karate Kid (1984) or The New Karate Kid (2010)?

Round 1 – The Young Guy Speaks

Whenever I see Jaden Smith on the TV, on the news, or hear him in Justin Bieber’s ‘Never Say Never’ as it is pumped over and over again on the radio is Will Smith. The second thing I think of is the Karate Kid, the new one of course.

It may not be the best movie, but it is a good modernized improvement of the 1984 Karate Kid. You should remember Old Guy that this is a remake, and therefore, it is supposed to be like the original. You act as though this is supposed to be a completely different movie. It’s quite easy to tell that many scenes are based of those in the original. However, in this movie, a lot of them are somewhat better in terms of how epic they are. Like the chase scene which leads to Jackie Chan saving Jaden. By calling this movie tacky, you’re calling the original tacky, and I doubt you think that right?

At the same time however, you have to expect it to be different. You can’t have a remake exactly the same as the original. In this case especially, you need to change some things up, make them attract the same and different audiences. An example that you gave was the cheesy montage music. ‘You’re the Best’ is replicated in this movie by ‘Highest Ground’ by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. This song is perfect for the montage as it gives then modern feel to the montage as well as fits perfectly with the situation, as the song is about reaching the ‘Highest Ground’, which in this case, is the final fight. It is used in the same corny way, both songs representing success and to keep trying harder, but you aren’t going to use retro 80s pop in the modern version.

Although this movie may not have as big of an impact as the first Karate Kid, it still has a few philosophical lessons here and there and being set in China, you can’t help but expect them. My favourite is when Chan, playing the role of Mr Miyagi in this movie, tells Jaden he sees only with his eyes, and that is why he is easy to fool.

As for the ending shot, this time it is of both the teacher and the student, as they revel in their victory and walk off. This is a lot more suitable than just the wise teacher giving the camera a stare, as it shows both of the main characters, who both played a part in the epic scene that just occurred.

Corny is the one word that pops up over and over again when it comes to the Karate Kid. Which one you may ask? To which I will answer: Both.

I think this Karate Kid is just as corny as the original, but this is less 80s corny and more modern, 2010 corny. Actually cornier! I think they captured the ‘damn badness’ of the original perfectly. Corny lines, corny romance (which Jaden and his girlfriend is way too young to experience in this movie anyway, in my opinion) and of course, who could forget the corny ending where Jaden manages to perform a ‘takes-a-lifetime-to-perfect’ move and flips to win the fight? I think having a glossier film suits the modern age a lot better. I doubt people would have liked it if it was the 1980’s all over again. I repeat, this is a remake. They probably kept the corniness in to give the adults a ride back to corny 80’s movie lane, but they glossed it up to appeal to the new audience of today.

I think this ‘precious monster’ of yours, Old Guy, suits the modern version quite well. Ralph Macchio brought out all that cheesy 80s style well but this is the twenty-first century, where we have twenty-first century styles. The dreadlocks are an example, showing the image of what kids look like these days.

Jaden Smith definitely appeals to a younger audience by being younger than eighteen. He especially appeals to the female audience, considering Jaden is so ‘cute’, bringing a lot more sympathy for the sad scenes where Jaden feels all sad and angry. This movie is a lot more emotional as well. Ralph Macchio was in his early twenties when he made the first Karate Kid. Surprising I know for how young he actually looked, even in the third Karate Kid which was made in 1989! He was 28 and he still looked like an 18 year old!

On to Pat Morita versus Jackie Chan. For this, I believe Jackie Chan was a good modern equivalent of the legendary Pat Morita. Sure, it was more obvious he was the master, but Chan is better, if not just as good as Marita in the comedy. Same goes for Jaden. I think this movie has a lot more comedy. One of my favourite scenes was the twist on the ‘catching the fly with the chop sticks’ where he tries to do it, only to hit the fly with a flyswatter instead. This is really good to lighten the mood and make it more enjoyable. But back to Chan, who else are you going to get to play a Kung Fu master these days? Jackie Chan is well known and I think he was right to play this role.

You’ve made some good points Old Guy, I must admit, but what about the story? A lot more stuff makes sense in this. The subtle training of the Kung Fu for example. All Ralph was learning was how to clean, paint a fence and get the chips out of a floorboard. Do you see him implement that later? No. However, with Jaden’s jacket on, jacket off etc., he actually learns to put his coat on the coatrack, like he should and he actually uses one of these moves in the tournament.

I’ve spoken for a while now, so I think it’s about time the young guy wakes the old guy up for his next argument, but before I do remember this. This new Karate kid is a heart-warming story, showing that you should stand up for yourself and ‘Never Say Never’, as the movie’s theme song suggests, and to keep on trying and never back down. This film actually sends a bit more of a message and is as good if not better than the original.


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