I am deeply attached to the old Karate Kid movie. I have watched it many times. I can recite non-pivotal scenes from memory. So that’s my starting point.
The new movie is … great! Better? I don’t know. The fighting at the tournament is MUCH better in the new movie. And the Mr Miyagi (old) / Mr Han (new) character is given a little more depth and flaws in this version, which makes him better. Jackie Chan also gets to show off his classic trick of fighting off baddies using unusual weapons (a windbreaker, in this case). Jaden Smith is less annoying and cuter than Ralph M. And there’s even a visual allusion to Back to the Future (tell me if you catch it).
I watched the old movie a few months ago, and I’m glad I did. There are subtle homages to it all through the new movie: a line here and there, either exactly the same or just tweaked a bit. And an occasional exact frame replica.
All in all, I had a great time.