Tiny Children Fighting

Wednesday July 28th 2010

I like seeing movies at Sony’s Central London screening room, because they have a lovely bar, comfortable seats and a waiting room full of ridiculous Terminator memorabilia. Maybe that’s why, about a month ago, I went there to see the new Karate Kid remake: a movie I have almost no interest in.

The short story is: The Karate Kid is basically exactly as you’d expect. Every aspect of the production is amazingly predictable, from the vaguely ‘Oriental’ hip-hop music that soundtracks every fighting montage, to the flimsy romance subplot, to the ‘hilarious’ moment when Mr. Miyagi Han swats the fly instead of catching it inside the chopsticks.

The casting is even less surprising:

None of the above makes it a particularly bad film, but it does all feel a bit cynical. Even the well-worn ‘redemption through martial arts’ storyline isn’t enough to sustain the film’s attention, so we’re also treated to:

  • an alienated child in a foreign land
  • a mysterious man with a painful secret
  • a romance between two 12-year-olds
  • a young musical prodigy with pushy parents
  • a bully with an unexplained grudge

… most of which are dispensed with in the last 20 minutes by having the problem issues simply go away.

In fact, there’s only one area in which the film doesn’t appear to be pandering to its perceived audience of impatient 10-year-olds, and that’s its runtime. You might want to sit down before the following reveal:

And they don’t even say ‘wax on wax off’.