1. The Karate Kid (Sony/Columbia, 3,663 Theaters, 126 Minutes, Rated PG): This week has gotten a lot of chatter because it features two iconic 1980s properties remade for the new millennium. But while some might think this is a cute coincidence, I fear this might only be a harbinger of things to come. This could be the first sign that the studios will be coordinating their remakes so they all fit into theme weekends. And they’ll be able to do that because there will be so many remakes to choose from.
Anyway, this first film is a remake of the classic first Karate Kid film. And, as a fan of the original, I have to say I’m not really all that excited about this one. First off, and this is a minor thing, Jackie Chan says he’s going to teach Jaden Smith Kung Fu in the trailer. Kung Fu is not Karate. They are two different styles of martial arts. It is a small thing, yes, but enough to really annoy me.
Second, Jaden Smith really seems to be forced on me. I feel I am expected to like him because he is the son, and essentially a small version, of Will Smith. Both have the cocky smart-ass attitude, but Will’s is charming because he had decades to build it up. Jaden’s seems kind of obnoxious, to me at least. But I always feel snarky banter fits adults better than children.
Third, this film appears to be a shot-for-shot remake of the original. Sure, the location is now China instead of California and it’s “Jacket on/jacket off” instead of “wax on/wax off,” but all the themes, elements and scenes seem to be exactly duplicated. Instead of seeing a slavish, shot-for-shot remake of the Karate Kid, why wouldn’t I just watch the original instead?
2. The A-Team (Fox, 3,534 Theaters, 117 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Of the two remakes this week, the one I was a bigger fan of the original was The A-Team. It essentially was a live action cartoon, which is probably why the 11-year-old me liked it.
But it was also a vehicle for Mr. T. And as charming as Rampage Jackson might be on the MMA circuit, he’s no Mr. T. However, when you have Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson in your cast, you can count on them to pick up the slack.
While the Karate Kid remake appears to be too slavishly tied to the original, this one seem to be trying to make a break from its inspiration. The trademark black van makes an appearance, only to be destroyed if the trailer is any indication. B.A. still doesn’t like to fly, but it’s not as much of an issue as it was in the series. And Face, instead of being a supporting member of the team, seems to be more of the focus.
Although, that being said, I have to say I am interested to see what they have done. It seems to be as campy as the original, but with the action amped up to unblievable levels. I mean, you have to admire a film that shows the team battling fighter jets in a tank that was tossed out of an airplane. That is sick stuff right there.