I saw a commercial the other day for The Karate Kid. No, not the one with Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio. The one with Jackie Chan and Will Smith's kid. The remake.
Photo by Jasin Boland for Sony PicturesOh, hadn't you heard? They're remaking the 1984 classic. Which probably leaves you with the same question I always have when I see that a great film is being redone: Why?
Despite being 26 years old, the original Karate Kid stands on its own and is still fun to watch, as I just did a couple of months ago. It's no Citizen Kane, of course, just a nice story and a favorite of many people my age.
Perhaps Hollywood didn't get the memo. Things that are not broken do not require fixing. The Mona Lisa doesn't need blond hair, a bleached white smile, and augmented breasts. If filmmakers actually improved these movies, it would be one thing, but they don't. At best, they make them different. Not better. Different. At worst, they ruin them by replacing the things that make good movies good -- story, character development, thematic depth -- with lights and noise and speed.
The new Karate Kid has exactly what you would expect from a remake: more fighting; bigger and louder action; canned, promo-ready lines; predictable cutesy moments; and music cues that tell you exactly how you should be feeling.
Pre-fabbed, pre-packaged, ready for quick and easy consumption. And forgotten after 26 minutes, much less 26 years.
It's not just The Karate Kid, either. Check out these other upcoming remakes of movies I loved as a kid. Remakes I won't be watching.
1) The Warriors
The late-'70s action classic gets an update from Tony Scott (Enemy Of The State, Man On Fire), except leather and brass knuckles and fistfights are replaced by colors and drive-bys and Tec-9s, I assume. No thanks. Gangs are no longer a curiosity, just a menace.
2) Clash Of The Titans
Yes, the effects in this 1981 favorite were always pretty lame, but that's what gave the movie its charm. Boatloads of CGI will make sure that doesn't happen in the remake. Pass.
A great example of why you can't just lift a great movie from another era and plop it into the present day and expect the same results. Blake Edwards' 10 is a snapshot of the times in which it was created, a time when casual sex and obsession and even corn-rows were new and scandalous. Those days are long gone.
4) Sunset Blvd.
Please. I shudder to think what this film -- one of the greatest ever made -- might become in the hands of someone like M. Night Shyamalan or Brett Ratner. May the ghost of Billy Wilder and Gloria Swanson haunt the nightmares of whoever green-lit this.
5) Red Dawn
A rare case in which an update can improve upon the original, which -- I'm sorry, but it's true -- sucked. And sucking is what made it likable. Remove the schlock, and you've got a standard, forgettable action pic. And I don't think a Russian invasion is anything we have to worry about now.
What's the worst movie remake you've ever seen?