Friday, 9 August 2013

The Karate Kid (New one) (Smaltz review)

Dir: Harold's Wart
Starring: Jayden Smith
Rating: Top Wok
This is a really nice remake. It walks that fine line of telling the same story but in its own way whilst making it relevant to a new audience. Moving the story to China is a brilliant idea. It makes everything more intense as its a country much of the western world is afraid of and doesn’t really understand. It’s even more intimidating from the perspective of an 11 year old boy.

This is a very understated film, very quiet which is refreshing. The director shows real restraint especially when it comes to the amount violence in what should be a family film. The fight scenes have weight and are quite harsh but they’re never excessive. They only happen when the story requires it, Jackie Chan for example only has one fight scene which is brilliant as you’d expect. It has been criticised for being too long but I like a film that takes the time to visit a shadow theatre and watch a lady balancing on the edge of a mountain whilst a snake copies her movements.

In terms of characters Jaden Smith takes on the lead character well and Jackie Chan gets to do some real acting which is great to see whilst the Chinese scenery is a character in itself. The story is predictable yes but that’s okay, we want the underdog to win anyway. As for how it compares to the original, well I didn’t grow up with The Karate Kid but I have seen it and I did really like it, it’s a proper 1980’s family film. But if you were to show both to someone who hadn’t seen either I think the majority would prefer this new version. It’s subtler, has more of an edge and loses a lot of the 80’s snarling and melodrama.

I would probably give Karate Kid 3 ½ stars or 7/10 but as Narry doesn’t do half measures I’m going to stick my neck out that bit further, and for sheer effort and being brave enough to be a bit different I’m going to award this film…

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