Flicks: Unnecessary remakes prey on fuzzy childhood memories

John Meo

Hollywood, why hast thou forsaken me? Nevermind, I know why. It’s because you’re all gutless, heartless, brainless automatons.

OK, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” wasn’t awful.

To the contrary, I enjoyed it quite a bit, with its little nods to the game franchise, its more-or-less family-friendly brand of violence and a not-unlikable cast lead by Jake Gyllenhaal at his aw-shucksiest (when he wasn’t heroically vaulting and/or splattering guards and such) and Gemma Megan-Fox-who? Arterton. It went for, and achieved, a very “Pirates of the Caribbean” feel.

That said, good luck with recouping your $200 million budget.

And even with Shrek Forever Regurgitated reigning at the box office, there’s still a nice selection from which to choose.

‘The A-Team’

That brings me, in a roundabout way, to the things you should not see: “The A-Team” and “The Karate Kid.”

The former, I hope it goes without saying, is the — wait for it — reimagining of the 1980s TV series starring George Peppard and Mr. T. It taught a generation to love when a plan comes together, especially when the plan involved a cabbage cannon.

The remake stars Liam Neeson (first Zeus, now Hannibal?), Bradley Cooper (trying to be the new-age Billy Zabka) Quinton Jackson (of MMA fame) and some chump I’ve never heard of and can’t be bothered to do the research.

And this gives birth to a trio of questions: Why? Why? And also, Why?

Were the masses clamoring for this? Was some Hollywood exec so hard up for ideas? (All right, that’s five questions) This is a cheap and pathetic effort to prey on fuzzy memories. The original “The A-Team” was awful; this will be no different.

‘The Karate Kid’

And then we have “The Karate Kid.” The 1984 original was simply the greatest sports/underdog/uncomfortable man-man/boy relationship movie ever made. The villains, sensei Kreese and protégé Johnny Lawrence (the role that made and broke the real Billy Zabka’s career), were a kind of Aryan Palpatine and Darth Vader. And Elizabeth Shue achieving a kind of cuteness few have matched since. This movie had absolutely everything.

It taught a generation to wax on and wax off, always look eye ... well, if you didn’t imitate Mr. Miyagi’s hand rubbing to heal a grievous injury, you are minus one soul.

The long and short here is: Am I the only person on Earth who’s miffed — setting aside this is another unnecessary remake — that “The Karate Kid” takes place in Beijing and the title character learns kung fu? Sure “The Karate Kid” has cache, but is “The Kung Fu Kid” really that much different? Incidentally, there is a 1977 movie listed on IMDB titled “Tie quan xiao zi” and subtitled, “The Kung Fu Kid.” Maybe the licensing was too pricey.

Norwich Bulletin