TF Film Review: The Karate Kid (2010)

I recently saw the 2010 re-make of the Karate Kid and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. Admittedly I had low expectations as the original is one of my all-time favourite films and didn’t want to see the usual bad re-make. Perhaps the reason it was better than I thought was that it stayed true to the original in many ways with the main changes being the location (China rather than California) and of course kung-fu replacing karate as the martial arts skill. Why its even called the Karate kid I don’t know!
I was surprised by how much I liked the Jackie Chan ‘Mr Han’ character (a chance for him to actually act for once!) and indeed the remake but its just not as powerful as the original. Will Smith’s son Jaden may only be 12 but he was charismatic and cool in the lead role. Incredible to see a boy of that age with muscles!
The chemistry between the two heroes in the original can’t be beaten and that film has had a lasting impact on many lives. It may not be in those top movie lists but its known by so many people. I can’t imagine the new one being remembered too far into the future although I did hear they were going to make another one. Not sure if it will follow the original part 2 as close as this one.
Given that the new one’s main character is so young the girl interest in the film is not so necessary and as much as I like Asian girls (not 12 year old ones though!) the Elisabeth Shue character is one I still look at and think as being very pretty which certainly can’t be said about most 80’s film actresses!
To be fair to the new film, Smith’s portrayal of ‘Dre’ is probably actually more convincing than Ralph Macchio’s ‘Daniel’ who, as much as I liked, didn’t really make me believe that he had become a karate expert. Though fearsome, the protagonists don’t play as much a part in the film as the ‘Cobra Kai’s’ (and particularly their leader Kreese) in the original which may be due to Smith featuring in almost every single scene if not them all!
Overall, this updated version of the Karate Kid was quite satisfying and very likeable and hopefully over time it will stand on its own feet without being compared to the original which of course is quite ironic as that’s exactly what I have done here!

Star Wars Shop In Tokyo!

A couple of months ago I found out about a Star Wars shop in Koenji which is a station nine minutes from Shinjuku. Despite living in Tokyo I didn’t know about this place and in fact found out about it on the American Star Wars podcast known as ‘The ForceCast’. When I went first went there it was closed but as I finished work very early on a Saturday last month I thought I’d try again and I wasn’t disappointed. Located on the second floor at the end of a shopping street ‘Star Case’ is not much to look at from the outside with just a window displaying old and slightly yellowing full-size cardboard characters.
It’s a small shop inside but is absolutely packed with Star Wars related stuff with the majority of it being figures which isn’t something I want to get into. More of interest were the weirder items which have come out over the years such as a BMX, a video-game machine, curtains, posters, vintage soap, badges, cards, stickers, Pepsi-related products and so many more things which have carried the Star Wars logo over the last 33 years. I didn’t bother asking the owner if I could take photo’s in the shop as I had heard that this was not allowed. Needless to say, I bought a load more tat to add to my growing collection.
How to get there:
Take the sobu line to Koenji station. Leave by the North Exit. Across the road in the top left corner is a 7-11 and a shopping street. Head for this and walk down the shopping street all the way to the end. Turn left and at the end of that lane you will see ‘Star Case’ on the second floor. It is open from 1-7pm everyday except Tuesday’s.