I was saddened today to learn of the death of actor and martial artist David Carradine. Carradine, 72, was apparently found dead in a Bangkok hotel where he had been staying while shooting a film.
Initial stories and rumors (suicide, murder, accident) are already flying around the net as one might expect from the passing of such a celebrity. Regardless of details, his passing is a tragedy.
Carradine was one amongst a handful of actors, Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris etc. who really popularized martial arts in the United States. He, of course, is best known as Kwai Chang Caine in the Kung Fu Series. Most recently, fans got to enjoy his acting skills in the Kill Bill franchise.
He was a legend who became a proponent of the martial arts, Eastern medicine, and philosophy. My heart goes out to his family and friends,
Hollywood remakes everything these days. Apparently it’s less risky to bank on the success of something earlier than to create something new. I shuddered when I heard that Hollywood is going to remake The Karate Kid - a movie which requires no remake in my opinion.
Apparently 1984 star Ralph Macchio has mixed feelings but has given a nod to Jaden Smith (Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s son). Jackie Chan is set to play Mr. Miyagi.
Normally I couldn’t care less about what hollywood does. In the end, it’s all business designed to make money. In fact the original Karate Kid spun off three less than stellar sequels (OK #2 was OK), a cartoon series, luchboxes, toys etc. No problem.
I believe, and many agree, that the original movie is an icon of American culture. It fostered a youth interest in martial arts that is still in effect in the US and abroad. It promoted the positive virtues of martial arts in a way that shied away from the violent aspects shown in the movies of the day.
I was personally inspied by the movie and, to this day, if it’s on cable I’ll try to watch it. It helped start me on my lifelong path in the martial arts. So, yes I take it perhaps a little personally when I hear of a remake of a film so close to my heart.
I hope they change the story and go for a whole new “thing”. Jaden is, after all, only 10 so the high school bully thing isn’t going to play so well. I hope that Jackie Chan plays the Miyagi role with respect for what Pat Morita had created. And I hope that perhaps this movie will inspire a new generation to watch the original.