So last night, I happened across Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master 2 on one of the cable movie channels. Watching him in the intense warehouse fight at the end of the film reminded me just how far he has fallen from his heyday as one of the greatest martial arts actors of all time. His American film output has never been all that great, and the last several – The Tuxedo, The Medallion, Rush Hour 3, The Forbidden Kingdom – have been downright terrible.
For his sake, I hope that the upcoming remake of The Karate Kid, in which he plays the martial arts mentor to Jaden Smith, will be the role to reverse his fortunes. But I’m having a hard time nurturing that hope. I have no problem with the story being reworked so that Smith plays a boy who relocates to China due to his mother’s work. Slow to learn the local language, he gets beaten up by a local bully. Chan plays a maintenace man who offers to teach Smith’s character Chinese and kung fu. Those of you who know a bit about martial arts are probably already asking yourself- “China? But isn’t karate a Japanese martial art?” Well, you’d be right. But when have facts ever stopped Hollywood before?
Also, the film is being directed by Pink Panther 2 helmer Harald Zwart, so it’s really hard to keep the hope strong for the film.
The first four pictures from the production have now been released and in them we see Jackie training Smith on the Great Wall, Jackie sporting a rather weedy looking mustache and Smith apparently saving a girl from a savage attack from a water fountain. Click on them below for bigger versions.
The Karate Kid is set to hit theaters next summer.