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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Original V Remake – The Karate Kid (1984)

This is also an entry into the Then and Now Blogathon, with the Then appearing on Realweemidget site

 

Director: John G Avildsen

Writer: Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue, martin Kove, Randee Heller, William Zabka

 

Plot: A martial arts master agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: Karate Kid starts as Daniel (Macchio) moves from New Jersey to California with his mother, he needs to make new friends and it isn’t long before he meets a girl Ali (Shue) from his new school but also grabs the attention of the local bullies and their leader Johnny (Zabka) who knows karate.

When the handy man Mr Miyagi (Morita) of the building sees Daniel’s struggle he comes to his aid showing that he is a martial arts master and agrees to train him ready to face Johnny and the bullies in a karate tournament. Daniel goes through an unusual training routine to prepare him for the fight.

 

Thoughts on Karate Kid

 

Characters – Daniel moves to a new town where knows nobody, he finds himself targeted by the local bullies but with the help of Miyagi he learns karate to get one over the main bully. Miyagi is the karate master that works as a building handyman to cover his personal pain, he does see bright things in Daniel and agrees to train him with unusual methods. Ali is the girl that Daniel falls for at school, she is the ex of the bully, she likes Daniel even though he is from the wrong side of town. Johnny is our bully, he doesn’t like that Daniel will stand up to him and uses his advance karate to point him in his place.

PerformanceRalph Macchio gave us a performance here that made people want to be in a karate movie, he sums up the lost teenage perfectly. Pat Morita is fantastic in his role as the mentor which often gets emulated but never duplicated. Elisabeth Shue is good as the love interest and William Zabka is good as thee bully.

StoryThe story shows how an ill-disciplined student can be turned into a calm fighter ready to defend himself against anyone who challenges him. This shows us that anyone can blossom into something great given the right guidance and self-belief in their own abilities, making it a bench mark for anyone that has been questioning their own skills.

Action/Family/SportThe action plays to a typical 80s musical background being high school level chases and fights. The family side shows us just what you need to be doing within a family when it comes to guiding children. The sport is karate in competition.

SettingsThe settings show us the places 80s high school student would hang out and the trouble they can find themselves in.

Scene of the Movie – Training.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would say the film is slightly too long for the same point message.

Tagline – He taught him the secret to Karate lies in the mind and heart. Not in the hands.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the classic films of all cinema, it is a film that shows character needed to defeat in the right manner.

 

Overall: One of the best sports films of all time.

Rating

 

 

The Warriors’ Gate (2017)

Director: Matthias Hoene

Writer: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Chao, Ni Ni, Dave Bautista, Sienna Guillory, Uriah Shelton, Francis Ng

 

Plot: A teenager is magically transported to China and learns to convert his video game skills into those of a Kung Fu warrior

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Blast

 

Story: The Warriors’ Gate starts as we follow gamer teenager Jack (Shelton) whose single mother Annie (Guillory) is struggling to make ends meet, he is bullied at school but has a Chinese antique shop owner friend that gives him a gift which has passed down through generations of his family.

That gift is a pot which brings out an ancient princess Su Lin (Ni) and Zhoo (Chao), when Su Lin is captured by ancient warriors, Jack is transported to ancient China in search for Su Lin in an adventure with Zhoo to save the princess from Arun (Bautista) and his massive army.

 

Thoughts on The Warriors’ Gate

 

Characters – Jack is the gamer kid, bullied and struggling home life, he is taken to Ancient China where he must learn to fight for himself, stand up for what is right, all to save the princess, while this isn’t the most original character design, it is all that is needed for the leading role. Zhoo is the great warrior that must guide Jack through Ancient China to save Su Lin, his life has been training to be the warrior and this will be his greatest moment. Su Lin in the princess who will become the Empress of China, she loves the new world she enters in America but once captured and returned to Ancient China she is able to be forced to marrying Arun. Arun is the evil ruler that wants to marry Su Lin so he can become Emperor of China. He doesn’t bluff but can be misunderstood by his soldiers. Annie the mother of Jack just trying to give him the best chances in life.

PerformancesUriah Shelton taking the leading role does a good job throughout the film working very well with both Mark Chao and Ni Ni. Mark Chao fills the mentor warrior role to be entertaining and watching the two together is enjoyable. Ni Ni is the entertaining in her role. The big name draw for this film is Dave Bautista who strangely becomes similar to the Chris Pratt role form Guardians of the Galaxy to him needing to explain codes, but does get to enjoy the villainous role.

StoryThe story takes our unsung wimpy teenager that needs to grow up and stand up for himself, to do this he ends up in ancient China where he must learn a new culture to save a princess from evil ruler. While this isn’t the most original concept it does check all the entertainment check points, but the one aspect that is original is having our main character learning moments needed from video games which is why the confusion starts in the first place. If you want an easy to follow story, that is light hearted with plenty of action this is great fun.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action through the film is all purely entertaining with the opening bike chase through the town being a big highlight. The adventure side of the film takes Jack in the new world for an adventure of a lifetime. The fantasy world created explains how the different worlds can meet.

SettingsThe two main worlds show the modern world that Jack lives in works well without being new, the ancient China setting follows the generic ideas of what we expect to see.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the film, there is one easy to see blue screen moment but otherwise things all click when needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Bike Chase, even though it is early in the film, it shows the level of entertainment we are going to get.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not everything is original.

Chances of Sequel: We could have one.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining film that does check the all the marks needed for a generic action film which entertains from start to finish.

 

Overall: Entertaining action movie.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Transporter 3 (2008)

transporter 2Director: Olivier Megaton

Writer: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Statham, Natalya Rudakova, Francois Berleand, Robert Knepper, Jeroen Krabbe, Alex Kobold, David Atrakchi, Yann Sundberg, Eriq Ebouaney

 

Plot: Frank Martin puts the driving gloves on to deliver Valentina, the kidnapped daughter of a Ukranian government official, from Marseilles to Odessa on the Black Sea. En route, he has to contend with thugs who want to intercept Valentina’s safe delivery and not let his personal feelings get in the way of his dangerous objective.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Sequel

 

Story: Transporter 3 starts a Frank (Statham) gets a visit from a fellow Transporter who has given a job to, Frank finds himself having to finish the job as Johnson (Knepper) has a device attached to Frank that stops him going more than 25ft away from the car it is programmed with.

Frank must go on this reluctant mission with Valentina (Rudakova) for company. While Frank tries to find a way out of his situation we get to see the political side of this story where Johnson is pulling strings for something much bigger.

Transporter 3 gives us just what we would expect from the franchise we have all come to know. We get the wild action with have a bad guy with a big agenda that really doesn’t have much to do with Frank only for him to be a small part in the bigger picture but wanting to do the right thing. We don’t get anything new but will be easy to watch for anyone who is a fan of the genre.

 

Actor Review

 

Jason Statham: Frank Miller is still in the Transporter business but this time he is forced into this latest job. He has travel across Europe with Valentina breaking all his rules along the way. Jason is good in this role without doing anything we haven’t become sure he can handle.

Natalya Rudakova: Valentina is the passenger that Frank finds himself with, she is a party animal but just as trapped a him. She has a strange look on life being up and down through each situation making her the opposite to Frank. Natalya make a solid partner in crime for Frank but not enough mystery about her.

Francois Berleand: Tarconi is the inspector friend of Frank who helps from a distance giving us comic relief throughout. Francois is solid in this role without doing too much in this role.

Robert Knepper: Johnson is the American that gives job this to Frank, he shows just how deadly he is with his gun but doesn’t look like he will be fighter. He is also playing a political game. Robert does make for a good villain but a more calculated on for once.

Support Cast: Transporter 3 takes a step back with the supporting cast with most just being henchmen for Frank to fight off.

Director Review: Olivier MegatonOliver showed here he can handle the basic action side of any story but this never tests us like you would like after the improvement second time out.

 

Action: Transporter 3 very simple action which is designed to show how good Jason is at fighting or driving.

Crime: Transporter 3 gives us another crime story where Frank working for criminals finds himself on the wrong side of the law.

Thriller: Transporter 3 doesn’t keep us on edge because by now we know Frank is always going to make it.

Settings: Transporter 3 keeps Frank on the move which shows the use of setting is almost gone from this franchise.
Special Effects
: Transporter 3 doesn’t really use the effects well when needed with most just being wild driving.

Suggestion: Transporter 3 is one for the action fans to watch I do think they will enjoy but never really get tested. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Statham fighting.

Worst Part: Nothing really new here.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Tagline: This time, the rules are the same. Except one.

 

Overall: Standard sequel that shows this was turning into the bog standard franchise idea.

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Franchise Weekend – The Transporter 2 (2005)

castnig card

 

Plot: Mercenary Frank Martin, who specializes moving goods of all kinds, surfaces again this time in Miami, Florida when he’s implicated in the kidnapping of the young son of a powerful USA official.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bigger and Bolder

 

Story: The Transporter 2 starts with Frank Martin (Statham) working as a driver for a rich family driving their kid Jack (Clay) to and from school. Things take a turn when Gianni (Gassman) and Lola (Nauta) kidnap him but us Frank to take him. Frank uses his skills to get Jack back while the Billings Audrey (Valletta) and Jefferson (Modine) are working with the FBI agent Stappleton (David).

We know something bigger is going on and have to watch to see just how big this story really is but this time Frank take no persuasion to take on the criminals he has found himself crossing with.

The Transporter 2 brings the story back to America where we have a low key role for Frank early on. We don’t have any real connection to the first film apart from the inspector adding comic relief through the story. the crime is good because we need to have something for Frank to actually fight for but in the end the kidnapping almost gets forgotten while we watch Frank solve the real crime. This is something that all action fans will enjoy.

 

Actor Review

 

Jason Statham: Frank Martin is taking it easy helping out a friend with an easy job being a personal driver for a wealthy family. When their child gets taken he becomes a one man wrecking crew as he searches for the truth behind the kidnapping. Jason shows how much he has improved in the action genre in this role.

Alessandro Gassman: Gianni Chellini is the man behind the kidnapping of the child, he has his own plan to follow with money being hi motivation. I feel this is a huge improvement on the villain side because we actually see just how dangerous this man can be. Alessandro is good as a villain filled with menace throughout.

Amber Valletta: Audrey Billings is the mother of the child taken, she likes how Frank handle himself and caring for Jack. Amber is solid in this role but we never see enough clash between her and the villains.

Kate Nauta: Lola is the sexy bodyguard hit woman for Gianni who enjoys nothing more than hurting people, she flaunts her body at every single opportunity. Kate is good in this role taken the role as sexy hitwoman to all new levels.

Support Cast: The Transporter 2 has a bigger supporting cast that all help on both sides of the battle with more thugs for Frank to take out.

Director Review: Louis LeterrierLouis gives us an action film that is filled with more than the original.

 

Action: The Transporter 2 has plenty of action going on from start to finish which all is over the top and fun.

Crime: The Transporter 2 gives us a kidnapping covered up as something bigger for the crime side of the story.

Thriller: The Transporter 2 keeps us on edge from start to finish waiting to see who will make it out of this alive.

Settings: The Transporter 2 brings us to America for this story which showed more familiar settings for the audience.
Special Effects
: The Transporter 2 has solid effects until the plane scene which is best not to talk about.

Suggestion: The Transporter 2 is one for all the action fans out there to enjoy. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Statham shows just how far he came.

Worst Part: Those plane shots from outside.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $32 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

Tagline:  The Best In The Business Is Back In The Game.

 

Overall: Improved sequel that is just as non-stop as before.

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