You know that Karate Kid remake you’ve been dreading? Well, it just got a little closer to actually happening. Looks like international martial arts superstar Jackie Chan is circling the project to take on the iconic and beloved role of Mr. Miyagi, joining the already-cast Jaden Smith as a fill-in for Ralph Macchio (you might know Jaden better as the precocious son of Will Smith).
Wowzers! Obviously there are so many things wrong with this project–from the casting of Jaden Smith (too young!) to the director, one Harald Zwart, the man behind gems like One Night at McCool’s, Agent Cody Banks and the upcoming stinkfest The Pink Panther 2–that it’s hard to keep up. So when you take that into account, the addition of Jackie Chan actually falls somewhere on the lower end of the catastrophe scale. After all, Mr. Chan is an international superstar, meaning The Karate Kid remake is probably already in the black from a financial standpoint. Plus, he has proved himself to be funny/charming before, whcih is crucial to the appeal of Mr. Miyagi.
Still, Mr. Chan seems completely ill-equipped to take on the more emotional aspects of the Mr. Miyagi character. Lest we forget, Mr. Miyagi’s entire family died in an internment camp while he was fighting for the good ol’ U-S-of-A during World War II. Pat Morita had the gravitas to play those scenes because he looked old, broken down, and at the end of his proverbial rope. Mr. Chan-as-Mr. Miyagi will look like, well, Jackie Chan. Whenever he’s on screen we expect to see him to dance up a wall or punch-out a few bad guys while catching a bunch of precious vases to save them from breaking into a million pieces.
And that brings us to our other issue with casting Jackie Chan. While it is true that Mr. Miyagi totally beat up a group of teenagers during the course of the original film (that had to be illegal by the way), the character wasn’t the centerpiece of the action. Daniel-san was! However, when you have Jackie Chan in a movie you better believe that he’s going to be the one doing most of the fighting. We don’t have another casting choice in mind to play Mr. Miyagi, but we do have one suggestion: if they’re really and truly going to make this movie, don’t bother calling it The Karate Kid. Name it something else. It’ll save us a lot of agitation.