Posts Tagged ‘elisabeth shue

26
May
09

Remake Radar: The Karate Kid

karate_kid

Welcome to Remake Radar, where we take on Hollywood’s penchant for remaking films for better or worse (which is most of the time). This month’s movie:

“The Karate Kid” (1984)

Stars Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue, and Martin Kove.

Director: John G. Avildsen

Story: Daniel LaRusso (Macchio) and his mom leave New Jersey for the sun and surf of Reseda, CA. Being Italian and from Jersey, Daniel doesn’t quite fit in. Matters are further complicated when he asks a local girl out and is ganged-up on by others (12 of them) who begin kicking his ass karate-style before being fended off by Mr. Miyagi (Morita). Miyagi then teaches Daniel-son to “wax-on/wax-off” while building up his esteem so he can take on the leader of the gang in a tournament. Gotta love the crane kick.

What do we know now? The remake may or may not be titled “The Kung Fu Kid,” and it’s being produced by Will Smith and stars his son Jaden Smith as the title character. Here’s a rundown from WorstPreviews.com:

Sherry is offered a transfer to China. Considering the US office is about to lay off everyone, it’s really her only choice; especially since nobody else at the office has been offered a transfer. With her young son Dre (Jaden Smith) in tow, the single-mother makes Beijing her new home. Needless to say, not knowing Chinese, and experiencing a bit of culture shock, they both find it a little hard to settle in – – Dre especially.

Like Daniel Larusso in the original film, Dre (who, unlike Larusso, is a skateboarding video-game buff) immediately catches the attention of the local bullies – in particular, Lui Wei Cheng. And before too long, Dre is going home with bruises (he tries to hide a black-eye under a cap by pulling it as far down his face as he can) and whining about wanting to return to the states.

Dre’s enrolled into a strict Beijing Middle School. His first day there is a bit of a shambles – the assistant principal spots his bruises, and assumes he’s been fighting (which, of course, they don’t accept under any circumstances), and he turns up in a school uniform, something he didn’t have to wear that day (there’s only certain days when a uniform is required).

The Mr Myiagi character is actually named Mr. Han (Jackie Chan). He’s the maintenance man of the apartment lock that Sherry and Dre have moved into, and meets the new residents when he’s called over to fix their hot water service. From the bathroom, Han spots Dre practicing martial-arts kicks (unsuccessfully) in front of a video-game, and catches his black eye. Later, of course, he’ll agree to teach him – both martial-arts and the Chinese language (so he can impress his mother by haggling over apples).

The ‘John Kreese’ character – the character played by Martin Kove in the original film – is Li Quan Ha, the owner of the Fighting dragon school of Kung-Fu. One visit to the school – in which Li Quan terrorizes his students (who range from the age of 3 onwards), namely Lui Wei Cheng – and Dre is immediately put off.

Wow. I dunno what to say about this one. ‘Til next time, folks.

 

Sources:

http://www.moviehole.net/200918909-exclusive-whos-who-in-the-karate-kid

http://www.worstpreviews.com/headline.php?id=13336&count=250

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10
Sep
08

Movie Review: Hamlet 2

 

 

Something else that didn’t need a sequel…

 

Starring Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, David Arquette, and Elisabeth Shue. Directed by Andrew Fleming.

 

“Rock me, rock me/ Rock me sexy Jesus…”

 

Maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. Coogan (“Hot Fuzz,” “Tropic Thunder”) stars as failed actor-turned-high school drama teacher Dana Marschz (which no one can pronounce correctly). The effeminate teacher lives in Tucson, AZ where he teaches drama and puts on plays based on popular movies; when the movie starts the senior play is “Erin Brokovich.” He is married to Brie (Keener) who hopes that he’ll quit his teaching job in order to go back to working at Rite Aid so they can have some money and kick-out their current boarder Gary (Arquette). Added to his marital woes is the possibility he may be “shooting blanks.”

 

If that wasn’t enough Mesa HS has cut back on all their art programs leaving only the drama department, which Marschz is soon notified will be cut after the end of the semester. In a desperate attempt to save theatre, he locks himself into his office and creates “Hamlet 2,” a sequel to the original that entails Hamlet going back in time to stop everyone from dying and in the process, forgiving his father. Somehow, Jesus Christ, Albert Einstein, and Satan are all part of the process. When the principal is given the script and all but shuts the production down due to its controversial nature, his drama students decide to take it “off campus,” thus upping the controversy ante. In walks Cricket Feldstein (Amy Poehler), an ACLU rep who will stop at nothing to preserve free speech, or at least sue for it. Lastly is Elisabeth Shue as herself; she works as a nurse because she got tired of all the crap that happens in the world of acting.

 

Lest I forget the music numbers “Raped in the Face,” and “Rock Me Sexy Jesus,” as well as “Maniac” and “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” as sung by the Gay Men’s Choir of Tucson.

 

So, what did I think?

 

When I first saw the trailer I couldn’t get the “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” riff out of my head. It’s damned catchy. And when you see it in the movie, you love it by the end. However, what hurts this movie is the “trailer syndrome”: everything funny about the movie is showcased within the 2-5 min cinematic promo. And the fact that the first half of the movie  d r a g s. Everything seemed to play out for the sake of playing out. Around Act 4/5 of the movie everything picks up and becomes more enjoyable.

 

Outside of the musical numbers there is the core of what the script was written about: a father disapproving of what a son wanted to do with his life and the later reconciliation/forgiveness. That I haven’t seen dealt with before. Coogan does a good job at being the “every artist” with a “denouncing dad” complex. Outside of that, I wished the film was either more dramatic or more comedic.

 

Do I recommend this? Maybe video rental.

 

My grade: C+