Sunday, 20 September 2020
The Karate Kid
Monday, 21 June 2010 15:40

The Karate KidI had absolutely no interest in this film, feeling as I do about most remakes: “Why ruin a good thing?” Hollywood certainly loves the “3 R’s” – Reduce, Ruin, and Recycle. But The Karate Kid is such a feel good story that it’s hard not to come away in a warm and fuzzy mood.

Dre (Jaden Smith) is uprooted from his lifelong home in Detroit when his mother takes a new job in China. She can’t be more annoyingly excited about the change, but he ends up feeling lonely and intimidated in his new surroundings. He becomes victimized and bullied at school and the film does a great job of driving home just how brutal bullying among children can be.

Jaden Smith and Jackie ChanDre befriends Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), an antisocial maintenance man who, it turns out, is an amazing martial artist. He refuses to teach Dre to fight unless it is for the right reasons, so he infuses the lessons with morals while helping him prepare for a tournament against the schools biggest bully.

Probably the biggest difference between this and the original 1984 version was the choice to set it in China instead of the US. A good idea, since it provides endless opportunity for stunning scenery. It also serves the story well to isolate this little boy in a place where nothing feels like home.

So much for Chan does a good job of playing a wise instructor and a loyal friend. He’s always had a kind face that just makes you smile, but he really does a great job at the more emotional scenes as well. Jaden Smith looks a lot like his dad Will, and it seems he is being poised to take over the family legacy as an action star. Let’s hope his ego doesn’t grow faster than he does.

This is a decent film, although why “The Karate Kid” learns Kung Fu is beyond me.


Directed by Harold Zwart, starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.

It is titled The Kung Fu kid for Chinese and Japanese markets. Can’t pull the wool over their eyes!

The film is produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.