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Summer movies heating up with redos


Hollywood is putting on the heat by rolling out top-notch movies guaranteed to keep you cool in the theaters this summer. Apparently, it is the season of remakes. Filmmakers are re-doing movies they grew up loving, but this time putting their own spin on them.

The much anticipated “The Karate Kid” starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan hits the screen Friday.  This 1980’s re-make promises to have the same thrills, spills, and chills as the original.

Set in Beijing, moviegoers will get to enjoy the luscious scenery of ancient China while  Chan puts Smith through some mind-blowing workouts.
Standing up to a bully is one thing, but when you’re in a foreign land, and you can’t speak the language, bullying raises itself to another level.
Twelve-year-old Dre Parker could’ve been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother’s latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying–and the feeling is mutual –but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre’s feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng.

In the land of Kung Fu, Dre knows only a little karate, and Cheng puts “the karate kid” on the floor with ease. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man Mr. Han, who is secretly a master of Kung Fu. As Han teaches Dre that Kung Fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life.

Ironically, Dre’s mom, played by Taraji P. Henson, is facing the same “bully” problem on her new job. Will a swift kick handle her situation, too?
“The Karate Kid” opens in theaters Friday.

The “A-Team” is also back. Television’s favorite butt-kicking bad boys hit the big screen with fast action, danger and lots of big explosions.

America’s favorite “take no prisoner” dad (“Taken”) Liam Neeson stars as Hannibal, the brains of the operation. He just loves it when a plan comes together. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is B.A. Baracus, the role that made Mr. T a household name. Sharlto Copley is Murdock and Patrick Wilson is Lynch.

“The A-Team” are Iraq War veterans looking to clear their name with the U.S. military, which suspects the four men of committing a crime, but they were actually framed. Not only did the military double-cross the Team, but they put them in prison . . .  like a prison can hold them. Now, it’s payback time and the A-Team is out for blood. Someone’s gonna pay.

“The A-Team” opens in theaters Friday.

“Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema” is not a re-make, but a hard-hitting, fascinating film from South Africa that begs to be seen. It’s the story of Lucky Kunene; you’ll find yourself rooting for the bad guy.

Inspired by a true story, “Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema” is an unflinching look at the crime, corruption and the transgressions of those looking to survive in the most crime-infested district of Johannesburg.

Starting off with simple smash and grabs, and petty crime, Lucky Kunene quickly graduates to more aggressive heists such as armed robbery and carjacking. Soon, he realizes he needs a bigger score to fulfill his goals of making it big, and escaping from the slums, to live in a dream house by the sea. Kunene hatches an elaborate and violent plan to make his fortune– hijacking buildings from landlords of Johannesburg tenements by winning the favor of the tenants and then holding their rent hostage from the landowners.

His high-profile real estate acquisitions attract the attention of the local police force, who have no qualms about using unprovoked brutality to bring him down. His trouble with the law, coupled with an escalating war with a local drug lord, creates a tense standoff: Both sides are closing in, and Kunene must stay one step ahead or his empire, and his life, will come crashing down.

“Gangster’s Paradise” stars Rapaulana Seiphemo (Tsotsi), Robert Hobbs (District 9), Kenneth Nkosi (District 9), Eugene Khumbanyiwa (District 9), and Louise Saint-Claire (District 9). In theaters Friday.

Gail can be reached at gail@hollywoodbychoice.