Karate? R U Kidding?

It’s been a while since I have actually written a blog post.  Work and other obligations have kept me sufficiently distracted.  But as the semester ends I find myself with a bit more free time and had a notion to fling out some thoughts that have been stewwing in my head for the past few days.

This week sees the international release of The Karate Kid, which is getting an international title of The Kung-Fu Kid, since it takes place in China and features Jackie Chan.  There have been plenty of blogs out there already firing off about the racial overtones of the film and the fact that the title is so blatantly cashing in on the old movie franchise.  This latter aspect is rather cheap and very Hollywood by design.  In some ways it can be seen as insulting.  It is kinda like remaking Shaolin Soccer but instead of soccer they play Rugby or American football, all while keeping the title the same.  If you have never trained in or studied a martial art it probably won’t make much difference, but then again they say that ignorance is bliss.

I won’t comment on the first part with regard to any racial overtones until I can actually see the film for myself.  And this is the thing that has me steamed, because Hong Kong, former home of Jackie Chan, is not due to have the film for months.  A release date is not even listed for us over on IMDB, although Kozo over at LHKF assures me that it is sometime in late July.  This is a Hollywood film and not completely a Jackie Chan vehicle, so maybe he does not have the clout to fix international release dates, but while Hong Kong (and China) get passed by, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and South Korea, are all screening the film NOW!

This is not a new trend either.  Jackie’s last Chinese production Little Big Soldier was released in Hong Kong long after releases in other areas.  His last Hollywood venture The Spy Next Door, never even got screen time here.  Kevin mentioned in a recent podcast that Jackie’s former office in Kowloon Tong has already moved North to the ‘greener’ (or would that be redder) pastures of the Mainland.

Don’t get me wrong, I know full well that movies are first and foremost a business.  I don’t begrudge Jackie for going where the $$$ is.  But Jackie used to boast that he kept doing local productions because he felt an obligation to the Hong Kong crews and the people in the industry that he employed.  Now it seems he doesn’t even feel obligated to release his movies here, the place that originally made him famous.  Perhaps this is all tied up in the piracy of the region which is still rampant.  Perhaps he feels that the Chinese people of Hong Kong and China don’t respect media properties.  Of course, one could argue that they are just trying to go where the money is too.

It was in the midst of this building frustration that I came across the latest Funny or Die video starring Ralph Macchio, the former Karate Kid himself.  It certainly took my mind of the new film.

(Note: this is rather adult and perhaps NSFW).