Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Who Played It Best? The Karate Kid

Who Played It Best? The Karate Kid
"Who Played It Best?" will be a weekly poll on my blog. Each Wednesday, I will collect a group of actors known for playing the same character in the movies. You will have the entire week to vote for who you felt played the character the best. I will announce the winner next Wednesday.

Sometimes, I find it puzzling what Hollywood decides to remake and what they don't decide to remake. If I knew I would be a trend-setter in Hollywood, I'd course through the entire history of cinema, find the movies that had some good ideas that were executed poorly, and force the artists to remake those movies. I will never understand the need to remake something that already got it right the first time. "The Karate Kid" is one of the those movies that defined the 1980's, and to call it a great movie seems like a disservice to the movie and to the terms definition. "The Karate Kid" was a movie that did not need to be remade, which may sound like a bias coming from me. I try hard not to put so much of me into these "Who Played It Best?" columns, but sometimes I can't help my feelings. You may already have an idea of where my heart lies on this edition, but lets get into the real thematic meat of the roles, shall we? Who played The Karate Kid best?

My Two Cents
Okay, I will be slightly sympathetic to Jaden Smith for a moment. Too many times in Hollywood, actors in their 20's and sometimes even their 30's, will be cast to play adolescents and teenagers. While I understand that to a degree,(for example, in 2007 with "Superbad," there was no way to legally shoot underage actors performing a sex scene.) there is also something specific lost in the film with that type of casting. I can appreciate the angle taken in the 2010 remake of "The Karate Kid," because, "the kid" was a kid. Smith was around 12 years old at the time, for me that qualifies as a kid. Whereas Ralph Macchino was somewhere in his 20's when he was cast. With that said, Macchino did the better job of bringing the character together. I think Macchino had the superior acting chops, he brought raw emotional beats to the character, he felt energized, he felt dangerous. It was a great example of when actor and character collide, real art can be made. Jaden Smith looked like a miniature Will Smith the entire time, and I find it shockingly sad that it feels like Jaden Smith will grow up to be just like his father. There was nothing fresh or creative that Jaden brought to the role, there was nothing that signaled the film to be remade. It was just remaking the movie with a kid who had a Will Smith personality, nothing really to praise. So for that alone, I give the edge to Macchino.

Which version of the character do you prefer? Let me know by next Wednesday. You can start voting today. You can email me ( or just simply leave a name in my comments section below.

Last week was the epic battle of the men of steel. Who came out victorious?
Christopher Reeve


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