Original v Remake – The Karate Kid (2010)

This is the follow up entry to the Now and Then Blogathon from Thoughts All Sorts.

 

Director: Harald Zwart

Writer: Christopher Murphey (Screenplay) Robert Mark Kamen (Story)

Starring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P Henson, Wenwen Han, Rongguang Yu

 

Plot: Work causes a single mother to move to China with her young son; in his new home, the boy embraces kung fu, taught to him by a master.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Stand Alone Movie

 

Story: The Karate Kid starts as Dre (Smith) and his mother Sherry (Henson) move from Detroit to Beijing, China. While this is a bigger move that the original we follow the same idea, Dre meets a girl Meiying (Han) and grabs the attention of the local bullies led by Cheng (Wang).

When the bully looks like Dre will find himself in trouble he can’t get out of, the handyman Mr Han (Chan) comes to his aid. Mr Han sees the Master training the bullies and gets Dre entered into a tournament leading to him to teach him kung fu before the tournament, this gives Dre the level of discipline he would need in life.

 

Thoughts on The Karate Kid

 

Characters – Dre is our teenager that goes from Detroit to China, he faces a language barrier, needing to make new friends and worst of all bullies. When he gets the chance to learn kung fu, he gains the discipline needed to be w worthy fighter. Mr Han is the handyman that becomes the teacher for Dre, he keeps to himself for the most part but when he sees Dre in looks to pass on his training. Sherry is the over protective mother that moves her son to China. In this film the love interest and bully do seem to have small parts to the bigger picture though.

PerformanceJaden Smith does lack the charisma which we had in the first film to carry the leading role. Jackie Chan is fine in his role working as the mentor but doesn’t bring anything new to the role. Taraji P Henson does a solid job as the mother role.

StoryThe story is boy moves to new town or in this case country where he must learn a new culture as well as discipline when it comes to defending himself, we have the same training idea leading to the same tournament. The differences come from the idea that Sherry moves for a promotion, the love interest does feel awkward as they seem too young and we have kung fu over karate. This doesn’t have the same magical feeling the original film had but could be enjoyed if you haven’t seen the original.

Action/Family/SportThe action does feel weaker than the original, it is a tame couple of chases and then the tournament. I feel it would be hard to get the family to enjoy this because of the running time of nearly 2 and half hours.

SettingsThis is the biggest plus for the film, the setting of China makes the move impossible for Dre to go back on, he must learn the new culture and it does get to look at moments of the spiritual side of the kung fu.

Scene of the Movie – What happened to Mr Han’s family.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is a subtitles moan or a lack there of for moments when the kids are arguing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a remake we didn’t need, it does lose what made the original magical but as a standalone film it can be watched for what it is meant to be.

 

Overall: Remake waste, solo film enjoyment.

Rating

 

 

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1911 Revolution (2011)

Director: Li Zhang, Jackie Chan

Writer: Xiagdong Wang, Baoguang Chen (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Winston Chao, Bingbing Li, Chun Sun, Joan Cheen, Wu Jiang, Jayceee Chan

 

Plot: A historical drama based on the founding of the Republic of China when nationalist forces led by Sun Yat-sen overthrew the Qing Dynasty.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard to Follow

 

Story: 1911 Revolution starts as we start learning the facts of the revolution against the Qing Dynasty, we have Sun Yat-sen (Chao) who is leading the revolution with his loyal soldier Commander Huang Xing (Chan) heading into the battles. As the story unfolds we continue to get pop up information about each battle which does make this hard to follow because instead of letting the story unfold on front of us a lot of details happens off camera with just information filling in the gaps.

 

Thoughts on 1911 Revolution

 

Final ThoughtsI have decided not to do the breakdown like normal here, mostly because this wasn’t a very impressive film. Jackie Chan just doesn’t seem to fit a straight-faced war character, while I have no issues with him doing non-comic roles this is one serious role that doesn’t come off. The war sequences do all look great without being anything special but it is the story telling process I have most issues with. The story is show us a short scene then throw some text up to explain who this new character is and this happens a lot making us wonder what is actually happening.

 

Overall: Very poor storytelling of what could have been an interesting war film.

Rating 1/10

 

 

Owen Wilson Weekend – Shanghai Knights (2003)

knightsDirector: David Dobkin

Writer: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Tom Fisher, Aidan Gillen, Fann Wong, Donnie Yen

 

Plot: When a Chinese rebel murders Chon’s estranged father and escapes to England, Chon and Roy make their way to London with revenge on their minds.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Sequel

 

Story: Shanghai Knights starts when Chon Wang’s (Chan) father is murdered by Lord Rathbone (Gillen) and the imperial seal is stolen and taken to London. Chon Wang must locate Roy (Wilson) and head to London for revenge.

On their adventures in England the pair meet a string of characters including street thieve Charlie Chaplin (Taylor-Johnson) and Artie Doyle (Fisher) who aid them on their adventure against Rathbone and Wu Chan (Yen) as we get a loose run through English history.

Shanghai Knights is a huge improvement on the original mainly because it gets to poke good fun at the vintage English style of living where we get to see historical characters for the time including a reference to Jack the Ripper. We get to see the building chemistry between Chan and Wilson which again works perfectly. The original had plenty of nods towards classic westerns this has plenty of nods towards the silent movies. We also get the first showdown on film between Chan and Donnie Yen which for the fans of the genre is something they would have been waiting for.

 

Overall: Plain old enjoyable odd couple action comedy.

Rating82

 

 

Owen Wilson Weekend – Shanghai Noon (2000)

noonDirector: Tom Dey

Writer: Miles Millar, Alfred Gough (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu, Brandon Merrill, Roger Yuan, Xander Berkeley, Jason Connery, Walton Goggins

 

Plot: A Chinese man who travels to the Wild West to rescue a kidnapped princess. After teaming up with a train robber, the unlikely duo takes on a Chinese traitor and his corrupt boss.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Odd Couple Comedy

 

Story: Shanghai Noon starts as we Princess Pei Pei (Liu) not wanting to marrying her father’s choice for her and runs away to America only to become kidnapped, the Emperor sends his selected Imperial Guards to bring her back including Chon Wang (Chan).

On the travels in America Chon Wang finds his Uncle killed by the outlaws led by Roy O’Bannon (Wilson), but when he gets double crossed the two have to form the unlikeliest of partnerships to save Princess Pei Pei and become a hero of the western world.

Shanghai Noon came out at the perfect time when Jackie Chan was first making his impact on the action comedy scene. Changing up the partner from Chris Tucker to Owen Wilson works because we get the wise talker but in a different laid back attitude. The action is what you expect and the historical references work if you understand the western genre. This is a fun watch but does end up coming off slightly longer than it needs to be.

 

Overall: Great odd couple comedy that hits all the marks.

Rating80

 

 

Police Story: Lockdown (2016)

Police Story: Lockdown (on DVD & Blu-Ray Monday 25th July 2016 and for download from Monday 18th July 2016)

 poloce

Director: Ding Sheng

Writer: Alex Jia (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Ye Liu, Tian Jing, Tao Yin, Yiwei Liu, Wei Na, Xiaoou Zhou, Rongguang Yu

 

Plot: A man looking for the release of a long-time prisoner takes a police officer, his daughter, and a group of strangers hostage.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hugely Enjoyable

 

Story: Police Story: Lockdown starts as we meet the down on his luck cop Zhong Wen (Chan) who is trying to reconnect with his daughter Miao Miao (Jing) who he finds working in a Wu Bar which is filled with party lifestyle crowd. When the true motives of the owner of the club Wu Jiang (Liu) come through Zhong find himself locked in the club as one of the hostages

Trapped inside the club Zhong must escape and navigate the halls of the clubs to save his daughter and the hostages from Wu and his men who are trying to get a prisoner released from prison.

Police Story: Lockdown gives us an action film that brings Jackie Chan back to the franchise that made him an international star only this time returning as a different character. This works because we get a fresh character that is an experienced cop and the story actually plays out very much like a slightly heavy twist filled Die Hard. The twists keep the final outcome of this film look very strong as we question the motives of the villain throughout the film and by the end we could actually side with him while still knowing what he is doing is wrong. This is one of the best spins on the action crime genre in recent years.

 

Actor Review

 

Jackie Chan: Zhong Wen is the experienced cop returning for this latest instalment of the Police Story saga as a new character. This time he just wants to rebuild his relationship with his daughter only to find himself locked inside a club held hostage with a man who wants a prisoner released. Zhong must use all of his experience to talk through the situation while also using his combat skills when needed. Jackie is great in this role showing he can handle the acting side of a story as wel as the action.

Ye Liu: Wu Jiang is the owner of the club and soon has his own plans to take people hostage so he can get a prisoner released. He is happy to negotiate with Zhong trading stories as well as honouring what need to be honoured. Ye makes for a great villain that does have complex side to him.

Tian Jing: Miao Miao is the daughter of Zhong who has been distant from him for years and doesn’t want anything to do with him until he is the only one who can save them from the situation they find themselves in. Tian is good but is kind of just a damsel in distress.

Support Cast: Police Story: Lockdown has a supporting cast that are mostly the hostages, the fellow gun men and the police outside. The cast all do a good job without having anyone overly memorable.

Director Review: Ding ShengDing gives us a hostage film that is filled with twists along the way.

 

Action: Police Story: Lockdown has well-constructed action sequences that all come off great without just using mindless action.

Crime: Police Story: Lockdown puts us into the middle of a hostage situation where we have to see how it all unfolds for our hero.

Settings: Police Story: Lockdown keeps most of the story inside the club with only flashbacks being outside the main area. The setting works for where the story goes very well.
Special Effects
: Police Story: Lockdown has small moments that turn to the special effects which all work for when needed.

Suggestion: Police Story: Lockdown is one for all the action fans to enjoy because it feels like a modern Die Hard we all could enjoy. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Villains motives.

Worst Part: There is a slight slow spell in the middle.

Action Scene Of The Film: Fight for a hostage.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Bloopers

Similar Too: Die Hard

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

Overall: One of the freshest action thrillers in recent years.

Ratingcard