Hollywood’s remake machine is leaving no stone unturned. The latest remake coming to theaters this summer is The Karate Kid, a remake of the 1984 original starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. The remake stars Jaden Smith (son of Will & Jada Pinkett Smith) and Jackie Chan. The movie takes place in China. Yes, this new version borrows elements from the original plot, includes modern day martial arts stars and world renown landmarks (Great Wall of China). Only one thing is missing… KARATE!
Chan’s character will teach Smith’s character kung fu. The martial art itself isn’t crucial to the plot as much as it is to the title of the freakin’ movie! When the film was still in production, Chan said in an interview that the “Karate” portion of the title will only be used in the US and the title will be changed to The Kung Fu Kid in Asia. What does that say about the US? That we can’t handle accurate movie titles?
The switch to kung fu in this plot brings one question to mind. Is karate not cool anymore? And if so, why the hell not?
I believe that the awesome karate themed video games of the 1980s helped boost the popularity of karate. The most notable being Data East’s Karate Champ.
With the rising popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting, karate will hopefully make a comeback. True, MMA is most commonly associated w/ jiu-jitsu however there are many successful MMA fighters who have used their foundation in karate to develop their signature style in the octagon. Such fighters are Lyoto Machida (Shotokan Karate), Bas Rutten (Kyokushin Karate) and Chuck Liddell (Koei-Kan Karate), just to name a few.
Who knows… maybe kung fu needs this type of publicity. With kung fu back in the mainstream, we may see some kung fu based pleasures of the 80s. Who wouldn’t wanna see the return of USA Network’s Kung Fu Theater or Kung-Fu Master coming back to arcades?