Thursday, July 15, 2010

Watching Karate Kid 2010 and Thinking Quest

The remake is a good film in its own right. It is a sequel to a 1984 movie with the same name. More of a remake than a sequel. It is a translation from the US to modern China where the Karate Kid learns Kung Fu, but he had been flirting with Karate before arriving in China. It is also a Jackie Chan film, and any reference to Jackie reminds me of Maria Tran's project "Quest for Jackie Chan."
The movie has a robust script, showing China at her best. Gorgeous scenes of ancient and modern form a backdrop to the story. Numerous issues are dealt with appropriately, including authoritarianism, bullying and inappropriate child relationships, but nothing is allowed to spin out of control and dominate the story. In many ways, the scenes match with the original, but back stories are different, the protagonists are younger and authority figures are mainly good. Even the most stupid adult has got a good excuse. The love interest is a good girl, but she knows how to let her hair down and dance naughty, but ultimately she forms a good relationship with the Kid and supports him, with the knowledge and guidance of her parents.
Jackie Chan plays a supporting role in this. His job is good, but not starring, as Mr Miyagi was in the original. Jaden Smith stars in this, and he allows the audience to project well onto his character. The original had a car and a set piece to allow the kid to learn Karate. That move wasn't Kung Fu, so another move is chosen, but fits well with the story. The car is still there too, and forms an important back drop. The most impressive part of this film, for me, is the walk up the stairs of the ancient Kung Fu academy .. a coming of age, spiritually. The film doesn't end in a Karate Crane, but a fascinating Cobra. I commend this as a family movie, although I am still uncomfortable with fighting as a means of success.

Which reminds me of The Quest for Jackie Chan. Maria has done a brilliant job with gaining community support for this ubiquitous figure. As the movie is clean cut, great family entertainment, so too is the Quest an excellent focal point for the community.
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