Variety reports that Jackie Chan has joined the cast of the upcoming “Karate Kid” remake/reboot/return/recall/re-whatever. The project, titled “Kung Fu Kid,” is an update of the Ralph Macchio/Pat Morita-led 80s classic set in modern-day Beijing. Already confirmed to be stepping into the youthful starring role once occupied by Macchio is Jaden Smith, son of Hollywood stars Will and Jada Pinkett. Chan will play Morita’s wizened sensei, who teaches his pupil the ancient art of self-defense through everyday activities.
“Kung Fu Kid” is a joint Hollywood/China Film Group venture. The Chan news comes by way of an interview that CFG spokesman Weng Li gave to The Associated Press. The “Kid” shoot got underway on Saturday, kicking off with a traditional Chinese ceremony. The senior Smith, who is producing, along with Chan, director Harold Zwart (“The Pink Panther 2”) and others removed pieces of red cloth from a covered camera.
I’m feeling a little bit unsure about this project. Okay, more than a little bit. “The Karate Kid” is a classic in many ways and to many people. It makes a certain amount of business sense to raise the spectres of Macchio and Morita for “Kung Fu Kid,” but I can’t imagine I’m alone in being a fan of the original who is turned off by such an apparently blatant effort to curry fan favor. I’d much prefer to see this movie as a work inspired by “The Karate Kid,” which is what it sounds like anyway.
What do you think? Is Chan a good stand-in for Morita? Are you more interested in this project because of its “remake” status, or less interested? Were you a fan of the original “Karate Kid”?