Comingsoon has the new trailer for the “Karate Kid” remake, which for those who hadn’t heard takes a pretty radical story-deviation from the original: Instead of the titular “kid” (Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada) moving to a new town, he moves to a new COUNTRY – to China, specifically. Beyond that, the main beats look similar with the kid taking shit from bullies and fighting back by learning martial-arts from Mr. Miyagi – played in this version by Jackie Chan. Yes, Jackie Chan.
Trailer looks like about what you’d expect, right down to that awful song that was overused in every sneaker commercial and highlight reel of the last two years, but it’s got my interest for two reasons. Firstly: There looks to be A LOT of location shooting in this, so it’s going to be interesting to learn how much (and what kind) of input the Chinese government had over the portrayal of, well… anything. Secondly: It’s a little shocking to see Jackie Chan seemingly acting his ass off in the role. You’d think this would be the definition of a “paycheck” part, and Chan has been alarmingly candid about how little regard he has for his English language films, but in the footage here he’s playing Miyagi straight and serious with a “patrician hardass” vibe that’s worlds away from the fun-loving regular joe guy he plays in… well, pretty-much everything.
For what it’s worth, Chan learned HIS craft in the infamously-punishing children’s program of the Peking Opera School, meaning he’s had lots of experience with rough-hewn, unforgiving instructors of young students; so maybe that’s where this surprising-looking spin on Miyagi is coming from.
Oh, and just to get started early on what will easily be the most annoying (yet true) bit of fanboy-bitching of the year right off the bat: WHY is it still called “The Karate Kid” when it no longer has any connection to Japan and they clearly AREN’T using Karate? (I imagine that the filmmakers are smart enough to know this but don’t want to lose the title, and furthermore I’d bet that there’ll be a running gag about it on the lines of The Kid calling it “Karate” and having to be corrected.)