A few years ago, Sony Pictures made a movie that I’ve never seen. They called it The Karate Kid even though it is set in China, where Kung Fu is the martial art most studied. Moreover, it was (according to all reports) practically a shot-for-shot, scene by scene remake of the original. The original was and is one of my favorite movies of all time. The issue with the remake is that they just made the same movie, and if I wanted to see that story, I’d always put in the original movie.
That being said, here’s how a true Karate Kid film would win over fans like myself, who have no interest in watching a remake of our favorite movie. First thing to remember here is this: if the movie is set in China, use the prominent Chinese Martial Art: Kung Fu. And call it The Kung Fu Kid. But if you’re calling it The Karate Kid and it’s still set in China, then use that as your strength.
Put Daniel LaRusso in the film as the teacher for the new kid. The kid should have a similar backstory to LaRusso, being a fish out of water. If it’s set in China, then the one problem to solve is how to get LaRusso over there. Perhaps that is solved by making a simple change to the story, and having the kid be LaRusso’s own son.
And here’s where it builds up: in a land where everyone else is learning Kung Fu, LaRusso trains his son in Karate.
As he’s teaching Karate to his son, things begin to escalate similarly to the original film, and the son begins to get frustrated that he’s not learning Kung Fu. At this time, LaRusso reveals that everything else his son has been doing has been part of the practice of Kung Fu. See, LaRusso had been a black belt in Karate and decided to learn other martial arts, and also knew Kung Fu. It’d be a mirror of the scene in which Miyagi shows LaRusso that he’d been training him the whole time.
Next comes the tournament, as father watches son participate. Whether he wins the last fight in the tournament or not, he earns the respect and friendship (!) of the guy that bullied him.
Instead of ending at the end of the tournament, it ends with a shot of LaRusso teaching Karate to a class of students that includes his son, and the other kids. The message being that Karate and Kung Fu can be complementary.
What are your thoughts? Would this work as a true sequel?