Jumat, 11 Juni 2010

Wax On, Wax Off, Wax On …:‘The Karate Kid’ Is Back—Again.

Hollywood has always been green-friendly, but now it’s one of the world’s biggest recyclers. The latest example: The Karate Kid. (Wait—there’s also The A-Team. Is it 1984 again?)

That was the year the first Karate Kid movie came out, and it quickly became a national sensation. The original wasn’t just cotton-candy action. It was a skillful Rocky-eqsue sports story; the late Pat Morita landed an Oscar nomination for playing Mr. Miyagi, teacher of karate and all things in life (it would have been cooler had he won). Naturally, this meant that the studio did karate kicks until it had squeezed every penny out of the formula. There were three more sequels, including The Next Karate Kid, starring an unknown Hilary Swank. It flopped, by the way, because there’s nothing more boring for grade-school boys than watching a girl fight.

Of all the franchises Hollywood has been sifting through, another Karate Kid hardly seems like a must-do. But based on the cheers and applause from the test screening I attended, we have a promising new contender in the ring (or on the mat … actually). He’s the 11-year-old actor Jaden Smith. That name might ring a bell, because his dad, Will, has opened a film or two, and the pair appeared together (quite convincingly) in The Pursuit of Happyness. The older Smith got the Oscar nomination, but Jaden actually pulled off the bigger coup. Portraying a young boy without a home, his performance was so subtle, it made the story real. He does the same to this overinflated (nearly 2.5 hours) Karate Kid remake, which follows the equation of the first film, as its lanky protagonist learns how to channel his rage into his sport (the teacher this time is Jackie Chan).

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