This weekend’s box office saw two new versions of old films: The Karate Kid, with Jaden Smith & Jackie Chan, and The A-Team, with Liam Neeson, which took first and second places in opening weekend box office, respectively. Karate Kid was one of my favorite films as a child and, while I was more a fan of The A-Team TV show (and my A-Team lunchbox), I was familiar with the original film version of this show. While all art is relative, my feelings are mixed about these two new films.
Karate Kid: I really liked Jaden Smith in the film The Pursuit of Happyness; he’s got every opportunity to open doors for himself, and I look forward to a long career from him. However, the original Karate Kid was a good movie, and sort of stood alone for its time. That’s why I don’t understand why they’d want to remake that film now. I didn’t like any of the three sequels to the original Karate Kid, and I don’t understand what would prompt anyone to remake this film when the original is still so fresh in our minds (it’s the DVD aisle end-cap at Target for crying out loud!). That, and Jackie Chan should have original material written for him.
The A-Team: As much as I don’t understand why they would want to do a remake of Karate Kid, I think a remake of The A-Team is a great idea. The A-Team was serialized in its television incarnation; the story is simple enough to be able to flow from generation to generation with a fresh timelessness, much like James Bond is or a Top Gun remake would be. Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper are fine choices to fill the roles of Peppard and Benedict, and the casting directors did something smart by replacing the Mr. T character with an unknown newcomer, Quinton Jackson. Jackie Chan should probably not have been brought in to fill the shoes of Pat Morita, and casting was wise not to try to replace Mr. T.
The A-Team and Karate Kid remakes have done alright so far in their first weekend of box office, but I don’t know if remakes of 1980s films are really the answer to the question Hollywood is floating (“What will make money?”), unless remakes are the only feed they’re giving us.