December 22, 2009

"Karate Kid" Remake Trailer Lacks Cobra Kai

Here's the trailer for the upcoming The Karate Kid remake (thankfully no longer using the rumored Kung-Fu Kid title.) This doesn't work for me for a lot of reasons. FIrst of all, the title character, played by Will Smith's son Jaden, seems to have way too much swagger. In the original, the awkward nerdiness of Ralph Macchio - and the confidence he found through karate - played a major role in the story. But more importantly, the evil Cobra Kai, the rival dojo that wanted nothing more then to humiliate and destroy the "Karate Kid" seem to be totally absent in this story. The Cobra Kai are a massive part of the appeal of the original film particularly the over-the-top acting of the amazingly coifed Martin Kove, who played their Sensei and the arch enemy of Pat Morita's Mr. Miyagi. The fact that this was a movie about high school kids in a karate tournament and he played his character like a Rambo villain was an essential part of the 80's cheese factor that give this movie it's re-watchability. And it wasn't just him, the mindless drones that made up his army of karate students/soliders of death were classic. At one point, during the big finale of the film, right before the epic crane kick, one of them yells out "Get him a body bag!" which is my favorite unintentionally comedic moment in 80's cinema. This flick, without the Cobra Kai, is like remaking Porky's and leaving out the shower scene. I get the feeling there won't even be a "sweep the leg" order in this version. I'm gonna pass.