Which movie is better – the original Karate Kid (1984) or The New Karate Kid (2010)?
Round 2 – The Old Guy Speaks
Here is the point young fella! You can have your glitzy, risk-free, survey-driven remakes but the point is that a remake is only worthwhile if the original had substance. Where the substance comes from is up for debate but the fact is that Ralph’s (yes it is weird that he was so old when making the films) high-pant wearing, overacting persona captured a moment in the 80’s that is classical. Jaden Smith will not capture the moment of the 2010’s (or whatever we will call it) because
frankly he and the has-been Chan have no substance and have no real currency in the current generation.
If I was sitting in Hollywood instead of Donvale then I perhaps would have paid homage to the original by watching it and smiling with nostalgic satisfaction then I would have got back to work. By work I mean creating something new, meaningful and relevant to the current generation. Perhaps a reinvigoration of the great Ralph Macchio’s career through a well-meaning movie which has him as a great artist painting (using the talents learnt previously) murals on all the walls of the world. Perhaps not!
I guess my frustration is not at Jaden Smith but what he represents. What does he actually represent? Ralph was one of us, a not-so-special guy trying to get somewhere in life in a haphazard way. Jaden Smith is not that dude in any way or shape. Ralph’s imperfect teeth, unusually skinny frame, tip-toeing walk and horrible haircut are what most of us are like in some way. Smith is just way too cool in such a manufactured manner that when he appears on screen I would guess most kids his age would feel rather inadequate! So what does he represent? The elite, the winners, the famous but definitely not us! The message that the remake is trying to sell us is that 80’s was okay to have a dorky guy as a lead but the new generation are unable to deal with this. I think we both know that this is wrong and that Hollywood should not take your generation for granted!
I am beginning to feel a little too melancholy so I will flick on the TV and begin watching the digital channels on TV so that I can get my fill of 80’s sitcoms (Family Ties, Roseanne, Cheers) and wonderful cop shows (Magnum PI, Murder She Wrote). You do realise that TV is not what it used to be!