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Posts Tagged ‘Jackie Chan’

The trailer to the brand new  The Three Musketeer (in 3D :P) is up. Before I show you guys what I think of the new Musketeers film,I thought it would be cool look back on the film history of the Musketeers. There have been many film versions of the famous Alexandre Dumas story. Lets look at some of them….

1921, Starring Douglas Fairbanks as d’Artagnan.

1933, A contemporary revamp with John Wayne (!!) playing d’Artagnan (now renamed Tom Wayne)

File:Three Musketeers-1933-002.png

1939, a comedic version of the tale starring Don Ameche as d’Artagnan.

1948,  with Gene Kelly as d’Artagnan, and Vincent Price as Richeliu.

1973, with Michael York as d’Artagnan, and Charlton Heston as Richeliu.

Interesting enough, it will take 30 years exactly for the next adaptation to happen…

1993, with Chris O’Donnell as d’Artagnan and Tim Curry as Richeliu.

This was my first exposure to the Musketeer story, a movie that was clearly made in a post Kevin Costner “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” world. Notice how everyone is accent less.  I don’t think it’s a secret that the success of the Costner movie was the main reason this movie was made (down to even getting Prince of Thieves composer Michael Kamen to do the score and to have  Bryan Adams to also contribute a song like he did for Robin Hood.)

2001, with Justin Chambers as d’Artagnan and Stephen Rea as Richeliu.

I remembered that I really wanted to like this one, and the idea of combining the energy of asian action cinema sounded like a great idea. The problem is that they couldn’t pull it off, and instead it feels like a limp attempt at best.

So it’s ten years later, Hollywood decides to try it again. The recent success of the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes movie motivated the reason we’re getting another one, and much like how Disney’s Musketeers film resembles the Costner movie, this film clearly has a Holmes influence.

2011, this time with Logan Lerman as d’Artagnan and Christoph Waltz as Richeliu.

I think it’s safe to say this version will not be a straight adaptation of the book. Personally, I have issues with the director, Paul W.S. Anderson. He’s yet to make a movie that I really enjoyed. The cast seems good, and there are some nice looking fight scenes in this. It being in 3D doesn’t impress me, but it is what’s popular now. (They thankfully didn’t go and call it The 3D Musketeers…)

And that’s the interesting thing about having a new Three Musketeers film. All of these versions of the story are clearly products of their time, and I kinda like that. In a way, I’d argue that there should be a new Musketeers film every 10-20 years. It’s a story that can be told again, and again. Each version of the Three Musketeers will be special for that generations film goers, and I’d say why not. If doing  a new film will keep the memory of this story alive, I see this as good thing.

Now excuse me, I’m going to see if I could start my pitch of a reimagined  Three Musketeers film set in ancient china with Shaolin Monks……or my maybe it should be set in ancient Japan and have it be with samurais… or maybe the future…..or maybe…

UPDATED!

Ah, a friend of mine reminded me about Jackie Chan’s Wheels on Meals, which I guess is the closest  to a Hong Kong Musketeers film…kinda…

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First, check out my old post about the trailer back in December…. ( https://justinquizon12.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/some-thoughts-on-the-karate-kid-remake/)

Did you read it? Great. I still stand by a few things I said in that write-up.

So, no matter what, there’s still going to be one that will bother me till the end…

The title….the god damn title….THERE IS ONE MINUTE OF ACTUAL TALK ABOUT KARATE IN THE WHOLE THING!!! And it’s a  training video! THATS IT! Theres even a scene where Jaden Smiths character is correcting his mom that what he wanted to learn was “Kung Fu” not “Karate” and that there’s a big difference. Ok, if the 12 year child in this film can understand WHY couldn’t the studio?!

The title is a gigantic, idiotic and silly misnomer and it’s only more frustrating for me because I actually enjoyed the film.

……….

Yep. I liked it.

The movie is like a really good cover song. Yes, it has basically all the words, all the beats of the original song, but it spins around enough so that it feels like they’re adding their own voice, their own take on it.

Actually, the fact that the film takes place in China makes it seem like they’re took some elements from The Karate Kid part II, which actually helps the film give it its different spin.

The original film’s story and character relationship were always the strongest things about it. The story of a kid wanting to not be scared and hating his new home, and the father/son/best friend relationship between mentor and student in the original Karate Kid still hold up to this day.

The new film does a good job on those elements as well.

The bully situation is played tough, and since they don’t use the classic ’80s stereotype blonde jerks, the new bullies are played with a more modern, palatable -street-kid-gang-style. It’s not any more realistic, but it is easier to swallow for modern taste.

While I originally poked fun at the idea of the Westerner in a foreign land, it actually helps strengthen the scenes in which Dre’s mom is trying to convince him how good their new life is since it is a new lifestyle.

The best thing they did in the whole film, is that they did not write Jackie Chan’s Mr. Han and Jaden Smith’s Dre as Mr. Miyagi and Daniel. Dre and Mr. Han are completely different characters from the original.

My instincts about  Jackie Chan from the trailer were right. Jackie is fantastic here. He plays Mr. Han with wonderful sadness and pathos.  Han’s a tired, broken down man, not the old friendly and loveable  Miyagi. When Jackie gets to his big emotional scene (their version of the scene in which Miyagi is drunk and talking about his time in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team), he just nails it.

Jaden Smith’s Dre is a good first leading role for him. Jaden never plays it cute, never plays it like he winking at the camera. Dre is written as a likeable kid who’s down to earth, and Jaden pulls that off with charisma to spare (what the hell, is that shit like genetic?).

 The rest of the cast pulls of their roles just as well.  Taraji P. Henson is wonderful as Dre’s mom and Wenwn Han is adorable as the Meiying, the film’s version of Elizabeth Shue’s Alli combined with Tamlyn Tomita’s Kumiko.

As for the actual kung fu scenes, they’re well shot and enjoyable. Nothing too amazing, but fun and solid fights. Hell, the fight scene that I still like to poke fun at (Jackie fighting 11 year olds) is actually a fun Jackie Chan fight scene.

The films far from perfect.

There are a few scenes that I felt were studio notes for the film to make it more…chinese.

The Great Wall of China training, a walk in a Kung Fu monastery, the use of the yinyang symbol in one scene…I just sensed that the studio was like “add more chinese things so that they get that they’re in China”. 

And to go back to the title one more time. The film has some wonderful, very soulful things to say about kung fu, the reason calling it “The Karate Kid” is more maddening because the discussion about Kung Fu is integral to the narrative.

Besides all that, the film works on its characters, which makes it  easier to handle watching the film when the film sometimes just do the original films scenes word for word! Instead, your kinda tricked back into getting excited for the same story beats again.

Now is it better than the original? I can’t say that. The original holds a special place for me. I thankfully didn’t re watch the orignal for a while and I only just saw it again AFTER I watched the remake.  The original still works on me like gangbusters, the new film will never replace it.

So if you want to enjoy the new film, leave the original out of your mind. If you still feel like you want to hate it, then save yourself the headache(and the money) and don’t bother.

It’s soild enough entertainment, and if thats what you want, then you won’t be disapointed.

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First, lets watch the trailer to the original…..

With that on our minds, lets look ahead…

Yesterday Columbia Pictures just dropped the trailer to the remake….

First, let me go AngryAsianMan here….

Karate, is a martial arts that was created and performed…IN JAPAN. It is a JAPANESE martial arts, with some influence in chinese kenpo.

What Jackie Chan does, and what he was taught when he was a little kid….is WUSHU, or KUNG FU, but put simply, CHINESE martial arts.

This remake is set in China.  Looking at how Jackie is training Jaden Smith’s character he is training him in a wushu/kung fu style, NOT KARATE.

So, calling this movie THE KARATE KID is maddening because it is so god damn culturally insensitive.

COME ON HOLLYWOOD! Thanks for saying that ALL Asians are the same that ALL martial arts are the same.

Seriously, Fuck You.

Also, thanks for perpetuating the stereotype that everyone in an Asian country are martial artist, even the jerk 11 year olds who like to pick on the poor westerner.

Also, is it me or is there a fight scene in this movie in which Jackie’s character (named Mr. Han in the remake) takes on 11 year olds?

Yes, it is similar to the scene in the original in which Mr. Miyagi fights the cobra kai at the Halloween party….but those kids were like 16-18, old enough to probably handle themselves in a fight.

Jackie is fighting kids the remake?

Oh, and are they actually training on The Great Wall of China? Might as well right? Westerners know of that Chinese monument, put it in the movie!

I also kinda laughed at the their new take on the “wax on, wax off” training technique, thought I don’t think “Jacket off, Jacket on” is going to catch on in modern pop culture.

So, whats the conflict?

Well I hate to say this but while watching the trailer, I got the feeling that this might be Jackie’s best american performance to date. I love his performance in the trailer. He’s clearly not doing a rip off Pat Morita’s Mr. Miyagi. Jackie  is making the character his own, and I  like what I see.

Granted, it’s just a trailer so we will see how this goes, but I think Jackie is actually going to come out of this movie with some good talk about him.

Same can be said about Jaden Smith. He was quite good in The Pursuit of Happyness, and I’m kinda diggin him in this trailer too. He’s not trying to be cute in this film, and for an 11-year-old, he’s actually got a surprisingly mature looking role in this flick.

The cinematography looks strong too. I like all the shots with the crowds of martial artist practicing, and the training stuff with Jackie and Jaden looks good too.

Listen, we all agree there is no reason to flat-out remake this movie.

Granted, Hollywood has probably ripped it off enough for them to just finally say “Fuck it, well just remake it now.”

Examples of  Karate Kid rip offs?

Sidekicks-Mako taking over the role of Mr. Miyagi in this Chuck Norris guest starring movie.

Never Back Down-New guy gets picked on by arrogant asshole, learns martial arts(MMA for that movie) to defeat asshole in a tournament.

The truth is, I would be more into the idea of this flick if they just called it something else.

Had this been The Kung Fu Kid, or in my opinion a better sounding title would have been The Wushu Kid, I would be a bit more open-minded to it.

Calling it one of those titles means that it acknowledges that it’s a new take on the original, but it will be different enough to maybe stand on its own.

But no, Hollywood fears that audiences need a recognizable name for them to watch a movie.

Heres one more thing before we go….

I remember reading Jackie Chan’s autobiography “I am Jackie Chan: My life in Action” (Yeah, I know, I know, but I was big fan so sue me.)

When Jackie was doing his first press tour, he was doing it for his first American film “Battle Creek Brawl”(1980).

And I remember him saying that whenever an interviewer would ask him how long has he been training in karate he would always correct them, saying what he did was not karate.

I remember him saying he got tired of it very quickly and that he wished America could see the difference.

Well, 29 years later, I guess Jackie’s wishes still haven’t come true and even though at one point  they did almost call it The Kung Fu Kid ( read here for proof on that: http://www.firstshowing.net/2009/03/29/jackie-chans-karate-kid-remake-to-be-called-kung-fu-kid/) the studio went right back to The Karate Kid.

So, no, remaking the movie isn’t my problem, it’s that no matter how hard Asians try to be represented in mainstream American media, Hollywood still can’t give us the respect we ask so simply for.

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