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

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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It's Time To Stop Griping About The Quality of Jackie Chan's US Roles.
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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More about The Karate Kid

jkoob13May 31, 2010 10:57 PM

This is great to hear. I was encouraged by the trailers and I'm glad it delivered. Pat Morita was great in the original but watching him fight was a bit of a stretch. Chan on the other hand is beyond credible....I hope this ushers in a new era for him.

Todd BrownMay 31, 2010 10:58 PM

If you don't count the training sequences, Chan's only got one actual fight scene in this, when he saves Jaden from the bullies. And you don't miss it a bit.

jkoob13May 31, 2010 11:16 PM

Chan is my mom's age now so I'm not expecting the younger version of himself to emerge. Sounds like he's accepting that fact and letting himself relax. Whatever is behind Jackie's public persona must fascinating. This man is a huge icon, there is so much more to him than just his physical prowess.

Kurt HalfyardMay 31, 2010 11:53 PM

You know what, I kind of expected this and am very pleased. The trailer was a surprise and I'm glad the film lived up to it. Will be seeing this with the children upon its theatrical release in a couple weeks!

ChevalierAguilaJune 1, 2010 12:13 AM

I'm not complaining about this type of roles for Jackie, i simply don't watch the movies in question.

siulongJune 1, 2010 12:41 AM

The trailer showed a version of Jackie Chan I have been dying to see and I was hoping the film would use that as it's focal point. And it seems like it has. Whereas before I was curious and hopeful, now I am looking forward to it. Thank you for the quick write up preview.

JahsoldierJune 1, 2010 1:30 AM

While I'm glad that Jackie puts in a decent performance, the question remains; is there any logical reason as to why this is called "The Karate Kid"? Regardless of how well the film turns out, the title and the casting of Smith's son (via Jada) will always grate on me. I'm a terribly, cynical person I know :(

Ivan IvkyJune 1, 2010 6:23 AM

I would like to watch this movie but I can't find a good link...is there anyone who could post some link for online watching ?...tnx :)

Grady HendrixJune 1, 2010 7:27 AM

We're screening LITTLE BIG SOLDIER at this year's New York Asian Film Festival and it's an amazing performance - one where Chan finally comes to grips with his age and gives a performance that I think is the best acting he's done in his life. But the biggest challenge I've had is getting press people to watch the movie. No one wants to see the new Jackie Chan film. He's so devalued at this point in the US that it's been a struggle - I've had to beg people to come to the press screening.

Distributors have been reacting the same way from what I can tell.

Here's hoping this year is one that turns it around for him.

Todd BrownJune 1, 2010 8:19 AM

The title is purely a marketing move, no doubt about it. The only karatein the film is a teach yourself TV show that the kid watches before hooking up with Mr Han to learn kung fu. He even corrects his mother at one point when she calls it karate. But don't hate on Jaden. He's perfectly fine as an actor - certainly better than Ralph Macchio ever was - and is actually pretty impressive physically.

gotadventureJune 1, 2010 9:08 AM

Was there really any doubt that if Big Willy Style's was buying a movie for his kid that the production value wouldn't be top notch or that Chan (who honestly admits the US is just one big piggy bank for him) would give up the goods? Haven't not seen the new KK yet, I'm still a hater for this project. But as already menioned Little Big Soldier was tasty (except for reusing the ending from Hero( and Shinjuku Incident really is some of the best work out of the Chan man I've ever seen.

CuttermaranJune 1, 2010 9:36 AM

True, Jackies performance in Little Big Soldier is great.
It makes you cry, if you let it happen.
I was very happy being able to see the movie on the big screen.
Jackie's acting abillities are growing.
But thats not reason enough to love him in any us project he's doing, 'cause the scripts and the action are not that great there.

kungfueurotrashJune 1, 2010 10:07 AM

Look for Jackie Chan at next years Oscar's????

cuckooJune 1, 2010 2:44 PM

Wow, I always respect your opinion Todd so I'll resist the temptation to just write "WTF?"

b33nt12iaJune 2, 2010 1:17 AM

Big Jackie Chan. I've yet to see Shinjuku , but TB, you gotta watch Little Big Soldier. Great Movie.

Todd BrownJune 2, 2010 10:51 AM

First chance I get! I should have a couple cracks at it on the big screen within the next couple months ...

Itto Ogami loses DaigoroJune 2, 2010 11:21 AM

If there was anybody that could stand in for Pat Morita's Mr. Miyagi, there is no one better than Jackie. I always thought when first seeing this it casted kids too young-too tweenish-it should've stayed somewhere around high school age.

zinjoJune 2, 2010 2:08 PM

I'll give it a chance because Chan is in it.

However, I do not support "Re-makes" of GOOD films - EVER!

Especially when there is such a pile of shit out there with great premises that deserve to be remade!

Rhythm-XJune 2, 2010 2:26 PM

"However, I do not support "Re-makes" of GOOD films - EVER"

A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS.

kujoo1June 4, 2010 4:09 PM

Wow, despite the positive comments, you couldn't pay me to see this film. Pretty much all of Jackie Chan's North American films are trash, just like Jet Li's. That being said, nice hearing it's not as disposable has pretty much all his other NA films, and it's something you could take your kids to.

His performance in the Shinjuku Incident was pretty good (movie itself was mostly enjoyable, though it kinda falls apart in the 2nd half).

I've heard nothing but good things about Little Big Solider, and I'll be watching it soon.