There’s a movie whose arrival is imminent that you may have heard of called The Karate Kid. It features an elderly man who happens to be a secret martial arts master who teaches a young punk transplanted far from home how to protect himself from big bad bullies at school who aren’t really down with him — and especially with him getting all smitten with a pretty young classmate. Life lessons ensue, a cross-generational friendship is forged, skills get honed, and it all ends up at a competition where the kid kicks ass.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. Who hasn’t seen the wonderful original from 1984 with Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio (or its sequels — yes even that last silly one with Hilary Swank).
But here’s the thing, and by “thing” I mean Idiocy That Pisses Me Off. This version of the film should not be called The Karate Kid. It should be called The Kung Fu Kid since it takes place in China where that is the indigenous martial art — and indeed according to the film’s summary on IMDB is what the elderly gent (played this time by Jackie Chan) teaches the punk (played by Wil Smith’s kid Jaden).
But everyone who made the movie seemed less intent on basic factual truth in titling and instead more desperately intent on greedily making bank by piggybacking on the franchise, which at a quarter century in age is old enough to engender nostalgia in those 30-somethings who were kids and teens during its originally release. Sure, the filmmakers could argue that they didn’t want any confusion/connection between this film and the far more recent Kung Fu Panda, but that’s just a buncha silly sauce. You want silly? I’ll argue that there should be a statute of limitations invoked prohibiting remakes of any kind — properly titled or not — from being made for a minimum of 40 years after the original’s theatrical release.
But since that day will never come, and nothing’s sacred, I’ve decided instead to offer up the following list of films the studios should consider remaking (or in some cases re-remaking) under their original titles while also brainlessly changing crucial elements — the more the better:
Waterworld — The earth is covered by water sand. The remaining people travel the oceans deserts, in search of survival led over endless dunes by a uselessly gilled guy called Mariner for no reason.
Lawrence of Arabia — T.E. Lawrence Balthazar blazes his way to glory in the Arabian desert post-Katrina New Orleans.
Gone With The Wind — The epic tale of a woman’s life before, during and after the Civil War Woodstock, which she didn’t attend but said she did.
Goodfellas — The lowly, violent blue-collar side of New York’s Elvis Presley’s Italian Memphis mafia.
Nightmare on Elm Street — On Elm Street Maple Drive, a group of teens aging boy band members are tormented in their dreams during lunch by a clawed six-fingered killer nursing home janitor named Freddy Krueger Skippy Gunderson.
Jaws — A shark marmot makes a resort coal-mining town its private public feeding breeding grounds.
Towering Inferno — A skyscraper jumbo jet catches fire lands safely due to poor wiring an uneventful flight and competent pilots.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! — Three wild women congressmen in fast cars on Segways take time off from stripping in clubs budget negotiations to go on a murder tax-and-spend rampage.
3:10 To Yuma — A rancher agrees to hold a captured outlaw who’s awaiting the 4:25 train to go to court in Yuma Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
The Matrix — A computer phonebook hacker deliveryman learns about ignores the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against the controllers of it.
Citizen Kane — Following the death of an aged publishing tycoon astronomer, reporters colleagues scramble to discover hide the meaning proper spelling of his final utterance, “Beetlegeuse.” Or is it “Beetlejuice?” Or is it “Beetleguese?” “Beetlegoose,” maybe? No, Beetlegeese!”
Memento — A man, suffering from unaware of his short-term memory loss, uses notes smoke signals and tattoos disappearing ink to hunt for never find the man he thinks killed his wife his wallet, which is in his back pocket the whole fucking time.
Or as told in the film’s unique reverse timeline:
To hunt for never find the man he thinks killed his wife his wallet, which is in his back pocket the whole fucking time, a man uses notes smoke signals and tattoos disappearing ink while suffering from unaware of his short term memory loss.
It’s A Wonderful Life — An angel out-of-work Angels Stadium groundskeeper prevents a compassionate heartless but despairingly frustrated and sociopathically fraudulent mortgage company executive from seeing what how much better everything would have been if he never existed.
The Man Who Knew Too Much — An American doctor idiot savant vacationing in Morocco accidentally stumbles onto an assassination plot.
The Poseidon Adventure — A group of passengers chefs struggle to survive serve dinner when their ocean liner Gordon Ramsay capsizes berates them at sea Ocean, a new eatery having its soft-open in Culver City with rumors that food writer Jonathon Gold is coming.
Plenty more where those come from, but I’d better quit while I’m behind.
Or make your own Madlib style:
Armageddon: When a giant asteroid [adjective] [noun] the size of Texas [celebrity’s name; possessive] [thing or things] is discovered headed for Earth [place], hope for survival rests on the success of a misfit [adjective] team of deep-core drillers [specialized group of people or animals] sent to space [place] on a suicide mission [adjective] [noun] to nuke [verb] it.