Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Karate Kid (remake) and Ip Man movie

I finally had an opportunity to watch the remake of the Karate Kid.  A long time ago I took issue to the title saying Karate when the preview had Jackie Chan talking about Kung Fu.  I also thought Jaden Smith was a little young to portray the main character.

Well, the film never tries to say it's about Karate, and it knows the difference. The title is just that, a title, and an homage to the original story.

I still think Jaden Smith was a bit too young to play the lead character, but all in all, he did pretty well.  That's a pretty talented kid.  It's eerie how much he looks like his dad at times.

The Good?

- The film stayed fairly true to the general story line of the original without being a copycat.
- Jackie Chan is a very talented martial artist and it shows, although the fights were a lot more 'Hollywood' than in the original.
- Jaden Smith was likable and clearly worked hard for the role.

The Not-so-Good?

- The story did not seem as deep.  I felt less connection to the characters than in the original.
- The bad guys were bad, but I never bought the whole 'redemption' or the 'realizing you were wrong' scenes.
- Everyone was too young for the type of fighting/violence that was offered. There is a scene where Jackie Chan is fighting the bad guys, and they're just a bunch of kids.  It just didn't look right.

I fully realize that I'm a little biased towards the original.  That film was a fairly important film of my youth.  To be fair, I'm not sure the youth of today would even enjoy the original.  The thing about the original though, is that it was very real, including the fight scenes, albeit they were mainly point sparring based Karate.

Overall, I didn't mind the film.  It had it's moments.  Mainly I felt it lacked a bit in the character department.  I know it did fairly well in theaters, so it's always possible I'm just getting old...

Now, on to Ip Man.  I watched this movie on a free channel one night.  I didn't expect very much, especially since it's subtitled.  I usually don't enjoy sub titles, with a few notable exceptions.

Anyway, I loved the movie.  Partly because it's great and partly because I expected nothing.

Without giving too much away, it's about Wing Chun Kung Fu, Yip Man (or Ip Man), war, pride, ego, honour, China vs. Japan, Kung Fu vs. Jiu Jitsu, and a whole lot more.  It was very entertaining.  Some of the fighting was over the top, but there was a lot of good martial arts in there too.

A surprise hit.  Donnie Yen is great in the film.  I recommend it.  I've yet to watch part 2.

So there you have it, some lighter fare amidst some heavier posts.



  1. the original was on a few nights ago and i still get drawn in....

  2. about ip man, if i recall correctly, the japanese dude trained in karate, not jiu jitsu. also, personally, i didn't enjoy part 2, was a bit more of the same, with a typical chinese vs. westerner fight at the end... reminded me of fearless (with jet li).

  3. Waldomarek,

    The main Japanese 'dude', the one with a degree of honour that engages in the big fight was using Jiu Jitsu. I'm not saying there may not have been some Karate work, but with the throws, locks and breaks used, it with Jiu Jitsu.

    I agree with you about part 2. Although it continued where the first left off, it lacked the story and quality of the first. I really liked the first and would recommend it wholeheartedly, but not the second. Thanks for the comment.