Wednesday, July 7, 2010
THE KARATE KID
The power has been going on and off all day, a day when temperatures were over 100 degrees and the heat index made it feel even hotter.
I found ways to cool off, including the gym, and then this evening my twelve-year-old decided we should go see the new remake of THE KARATE KID—in China it's known as THE KUNG FU KID which makes more sense.
I went because he wanted to, but had little interest, even though I knew Jackie Chan was in it and who can resist Jackie Chan? Most reviews I'd read were critical. But after seeing it I wonder how those critics' hearts work.
I found it engaging and thoroughly entertaining, but also moving. Of course it's a formulaic plot, most are, and it's a remake which many critics say is not as good as the original. I think it's easily as good and probably better, or at least more universal.
And it's kind of cool to be present at the dawn of a dynasty, because as much as Jaden Smith looks and even acts like his famous father Will, he definitely more than holds his own in this flick. A star is definitely born here.
As much as I would have loved to not have liked him or this movie and seen it as nepotism and privilege and elitism at work etc. Jaden won me over pretty quickly and by the end I was a fan. And the complaints that Jackie Chan doesn't have enough action scenes are silly. It's not a Jackie Chan movie.
I noticed Jaden got top billing over Chan in the opening credits, which initially got my back up, but again, I was won over not just by Jaden's cinematic appeal but by his achievement. He obviously worked almost as hard or maybe more so than the character he plays has to in the movie. And Chan brings so much to the character of the disenchanted disillusioned brokenhearted teacher—or "master—it elevated that cliched role to unforgettable.
I left the theater more than satisfied, I left it happy, even despite the overwhelming heat that hit us when we exited back into the night air, arriving home just in time for the power to go out totally. No more on and off, just off.
But it's a few hours later, past midnight, and the power just came back on and we got to spend some quality time with our new upstairs neighbors getting to now each other while sitting on the front steps because it was too hot in our apartments. Just like neighbors on my street when I was growing up would spend the night on steps and stoops during a heat wave because back then we didn't have air conditioners and we all suffered together. As a kid I found it exciting and festive, everyone seeming more friendly and more candid in the dark of the middle of the night.
But, I'm grateful the one little air conditioner we have is on again and the fan blowing the cool air from my little guy's room down the hall in the direction of mine is spinning again and , knock on wood, hopefully they will continue to through the night.