It's Time To Stop Griping About The Quality of Jackie Chan's US Roles.

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor
I admit it freely. I was one of the early, vocal doubters of the US remake of The Karate Kid. And having just had the chance to see it, it's time to eat some crow and admit I was wrong. Yes, the title is a complete and total misnomer - the sum total of karate in the film is a less than one minute clip of a Teach Yourself TV show that Jaden Smith's Dre watches - but put that aside. This is a good film. No, this is better than good. And a big part of why is Jackie Chan, who is absolutely fantastic in it. Granted, I have yet to see The Shinjuku Incident or Little Big Soldier but of the Chan canon I have seen - which is A LOT of them - this is easily the richest and most nuanced performance he has ever given. And it'll be a crime if people don't see it or take it seriously because it's a support role in a remake of a 1980's teen drama.

Chan, to be brief, takes to the wise old mentor role like he was born for it and - more than that - when the big emotional moment for his Mr Han comes rolling around, he nails it. He absolutely nails it. Maybe its because his character lets him stop worrying about the quality of his English. More likely it's because it's a character that suits his actual age and stature in life. Even more likely it's that it puts away all the mugging for the camera and takes the man seriously. Less Spy Next Door, Jackie, and more of this. It's what you're built for.

Jaden's perfectly fine, too, by the way. Doesn't quite hit his big emotional moment but delivers a solid acting performance and is actually quite impressive physically. This kid put his work in.

The Karate Kid is going to end up being one of those films people cite on the pro-remake side of the argument. It's a film that takes a successful original, finds a new and genuine voice for it while also respecting the source, and packages it in a way that'll make it a hit with a brand new audience. I took the boy with me tonight and he absolutely loved it.
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