The Karate Kid had two beginnings — the 1984 Ralph Macchio film series that started a legacy and Cobra Kai which now carries that legacy forward with honor and respect. Everything in between was a poor attempt at taking a bite out of a juggernaut in the hopes of touching greatness. When Academy Award winner Will Smith attempted the same, Ralph Macchio was left more confused than sad or taken aback.
Ralph Macchio Recalls Will Smith’s The Karate Kid Remake
Nearly 26 years after 1984’s The Karate Kid movie that starred the trio Pat Morita, Ralph Macchio, and William Zabka, Will Smith lent his producing skills to a remake of the memorable trilogy with another origin story starring his son, Jaden Christopher Smith, and Jackie Chan. Although this was not the first time an extension of the franchise occurred, 2010’s The Karate Kid was the first (and the only) film that did not include any of the stars from the original trilogy.
When news broke about the remake, the general population was excited, anticipatory, enthusiastic, and expectant of how the then-venerated Will Smith planned to revive the lost treasure. But sadly, Macchio had a different take. He was neither informed about the remake beforehand nor did he learn about it in his own time, rather a reporter pounced upon him with the information on the street asking how he felt about the news. The Cobra Kai star claimed:
“[I] was hoping there would be more original content coming out of Hollywood soon… [but] wished everyone good luck and success and thought it was cool to know the story still had great relevance.”
As is the case with most tabloids, his comments were sensationalized and dramatized which led to a rather embarrassing encounter over a call from Will Smith 2 days later.
Ralph Macchio’s Reservations About The Karate Kid‘s Legacy
It is not easy to maintain a reputation for a film’s legacy that has survived greatness and then been subjected to multiple spin-offs, remakes, and sequels for commercial profit. This is the treatment that The Karate Kid was experiencing upon its successful trilogy run. What the industry perhaps understood but failed to respect was that the film was successful due to its elements of originality and its commonplace yet unique and relatable themes. The ideas for remakes lacked that.
During his encounter with Will Smith over the call, Macchio politely explained his sentiments to The Pursuit of Happyness star, when he was asked to play whatever role he deemed fit for the remake.
“I just said, ‘You know what, I’m going to stand back, be a fan and see what you guys come up with.’ I think the legacy stands on its own, and I didn’t have any great desire to fit a square peg in a round hole, if you will. I just didn’t know enough about it and what they wanted to do for me to really participate. They reimagined it and made a film that turned out to be quite successful and fairly well-crafted. It did well, but only in my view, it enhanced the legacy of the original.”
Ralph Macchio later explained that besides being “caught off guard” by the reporter back when the news came out, he was faced with a dilemma that saw his struggle moving beyond the teenage kid persona in film after nearly 3 decades but not really coming to terms with the fact that the industry was ready to move on. In his words, even though his film came out 26 years ago, Macchio’s thoughts were directed toward — “why are they rushing everything?” — when the remake was announced.
The Karate Kid is available for streaming on Prime Video and Cobra Kai is currently streaming on Netflix.
Source: Fox News