‘Karate Kid’ Remake Keeping Title, Taking Jaden Smith to China

Will Smith and Jaden SmithWhen Will Smith announced that his production company would be remaking “The Karate Kid,” he set off waves of speculation about how drastically he would break from Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita’s original story.

Macchio went on record, saying that recreating the figure of Mr. Miyagi with Jackie Chan, let alone the rest of the story, would be a challenge. Smith assured everyone from the beginning that his new film would have “a Chinese adaptation to it,” though, and new details about the script seem to confirm that it will head in a very new direction.

Rumored to be retitled “Kung Fu Kid,” Smith will be keeping the original title, “The Karate Kid,” according to Moviehole. Though the story reportedly has a similar cast of characters to the 1984 version, Smith’s movie looks like it will re-contextualize the entire story with new cultural and possibly even racial undertones.

Jaden Smith, who will be starring in the role previously held by Macchio, will apparently be moving to Beijing with his mother, where he encounters a bully situation similar to Macchio’s in his new locale. Smith’s character will be named Dre instead of Daniel and take lessons from the decidedly un-Japanese martial arts master Mr. Han, played by Jackie Chan.

Director Harald Zwart’s rethought take on 1984’s “Karate Kid” seems to come with several implications due to its transplanted venue, which is a long way from California. Whereas Daniel Larusso and his mother only faced a regional move across the United States in the the first film, the new script written by Chris Murphy appears to integrate language barriers and an international collision of world views into the bully-victim-turned martial artist tale.

What do you think of think of the reported story changes for “The Karate Kid”? Should Smith have stuck with the title instead of changing it to “Kung Fu Kid”? Share your thoughts below?