While this summer has been almost completely devoid of break-hit hits – Just ask “Prince of Persia,” “A-Team” and “Jonah Hex” – Harald Zwart’s “The Karate Kid” remake, starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, has proven to be something of a revelation; earning boffo box-office and garnering high audience-scores across the board. Certainly marketing and brand-name recognition played a role in its success, but you’d have to be a pretty stubborn Ralph Macchio defender to admit that the film doesn’t deliver the necessary goods.
Alas, like all refreshing cinematic surprises, Hollywood is eager to instantly capitalize and thus “The Karate Kid” will most certainly be entering other kung fu tournaments in the not-too-distant future.
Deadline recently reported that Sony is currently meeting with writers to pitch ideas for a follow-up to their profitable $40-million venture. Although story ideas are being kept on the down-low, Zwart told MTV that, assuming he returns (and why wouldn’t he?!), he’d like to steer clear of the 1986 Macchio/Morita follow-up and steer towards more undiscovered cinematic terrain. Or something like that.
Zwart’s actual response was, as follows: “I personally think it’s now so much on its own two feet, given the success, that it would be interesting to see where we could take it without ever thinking about the old ones.”
Although I’m fairly adverse to seeing a second “Karate Kid” due to my unabashed fondness for this new adventure (I’ll go on record saying that, prior to “Toy Story 3,” it was the most entertaining major-studio release of the season) I’d prefer to go out on a rousing high mark as opposed to a cloying recycled one. I’m glad that Zwart wants to avoid replicating the original sequels, which weren’t very good at all, but it’ll be seriously difficult to not fall into the lazy “young champion meets an even tougher opponent, becomes the underdog again, and must train harder to triumph” pattern of the original trilogy, not to mention the voluminous “Rocky” series.
However, I also realize that my complaining is utterly futile and that the inevitable is already well on its way to becoming a reality. Whatever, I suppose I’ll just have to take solace in knowing that we at least got one borderline-great new “Karate Kid” flick out of this whole deal. Anything else is just gravy, baby.
What did you proud IJMers think of “The Karate Kid?” Do you have any desire for more adventures involving Smith’s Dre and Chan’s Mr. Han? Jump-kick over to our comments section and let us know!
. . .
Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.