October 26, 2016
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Where can “Karate Kid” remake go for a sequel?

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Did the remade “Karate Kid,” with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan filling roles made famous by Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita, paint itself into a corner when it comes to a sequel?

The thought crossed my mind twice while watching Sony’s enjoyable remake, which remains atop the domestic box office (at least until “Toy Story 3” likely knocks it from its perch this weekend). Changes made by screenwriter Christopher Murphey and director Harald Zwart worked in the context of this story, but might have limited where a sequel could go.

For starters, the action shifted overseas to China. Now, we all know that the original “Karate Kid” waited until part two to explore a foreign land. Does that mean a potential sequel could have Dre (Smith) returning home to the United States with Mr. Han (Chan) in tow? Sure, so long as they come up with a legitimate reason for the duo to make the trip.

Which brings me to the second point: motivation for a second story. In the original “Karate Kid,” Morita’s solemn Miyagi revealed that the root of his sadness traced back to an event that took place in his home village of Okinawa. It made sense for Macchio’s Daniel to return home with Miyagi and right what had been wronged.

Chan has a deeper, more serious issue weighing down his heart in the remake, however. Stop reading if you’ve yet to see the new “Karate Kid” and want to avoid SPOILERS.

Ready? He’s mourning the loss of his wife and child, who died in a car crash. So they can not be explored in a sequel … at least, not in a traditional manner.

By making that decision, did Murphey limit when Zwart can go in a sequel? We shall see. To no one’s surprise, word is spreading that a sequel to the remake has been proposed. With the massive opening weekend at the box office, that’s to be expected. Now I just want to find out where these characters will go from here, because the mold established by the original trilogy has been broken.

Then again, that’s probably a good thing. Now we can hope for something original.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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