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The Karate Kid (2010)

A Remake of the 80's original film.

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An Unnecesary Remake But Yet It Proves To Be Very Entertaining!

  • Jun 18, 2010
Rating:
+3
2010’s remake of 1984’s “Karate Kid” has been titled different in different countries. Director Harald Zwart’s film was called ‘The Kung Fu Kid” in China, “The Best Kid” in Japan and South Korea while U.S. audiences are stuck to the original film’s title “The Karate Kid”. My first complaint with the film’s title is that why call a film “Karate Kid” when it is clearly about a teen who learns Kung Fu and yet it is called “Karate Kid”; I thought this was the usual Hollywood garbage and it would be a slap in the face of the Chinese martial arts since the title is so misleading. Chinese Kung Fu is filled with circular movements that are derived from the movements of animals. Japan’s Karate is a more linear art that is meant to finish an opponent with one blow, and to fight numerous opponents. Yet, with Jackie Chan in a the role of Pat Morita, I had hope that the film would give respect to the Chinese martial art and I was not disappointed.

This film is also not related to the DC comics character with the same name. The film’s association with 1984’s original “Karate Kid” is the mere fact that it captures the same premise, same key plot sequences but it has different characters and a different backdrop (this time the film takes place in China). I would say that it is not a remake but more of a re-issue; and thanks to Jackie Chan, he makes the film very credible in a dramatic role. (Yes, in Asia, Chan isn’t just known for his action-comedies, he is a well-respected singer and dramatic actor)

                 Jaden Smith as Dre in "The Karate Kid."

                Jackie Chan as Mr. Han and Jaden Smith as Dre in "The Karate Kid."

11-year old Dre (Jaden Smith) and his mom (Taraji Parker) relocates to China because of the demands of her job. A stranger in a foreign land, and without friends, Dre becomes fond of a sweet Chinese girl named Mei Ying (Wen Wen Han) but this infatuation leads to him being bullied by a young practitioner of Kung Fu named Cheng (Zhenwei Wang). The situation escalates and Dre ends up being defended by Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), the maintenance man in their place of dwelling who is also a kung fu master. Han advises that Dre needs to settle things with Cheng through his sensei, Master Li (Rongguang Yu) but the two soon discovers that he is every bit as hard headed and arrogant as Cheng. Forced to bargain to be allowed to leave without incident, Han agrees to the stipulation that Dre will fight Cheng and his whole gang one-on-one in a Kung Fu tournament. Dre only has little over a month to train under Mr. Han; student must learn from the teacher as the teacher also becomes the student. The two begin to form a strange bond as they meet their antagonists head on to defend their honor…

The charm of the original was the fact that Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) was just so charismatic as the Karate master. Chan matches Morita’s charm in every way possible and proves to be quite convincing as the aging Kung Fu master. Instead of the wax on, wax off, paint the fence and sand the floor type of thing, Mr. Han opts to have Dre train by taking off his jacket, hanging it, putting it on, dropping it, and then hanging it again. It does make a good transition in the script seeing as Dre is a slob and is always leaving his jacket on the floor. Martial arts is a way of life after all, and a practitioner of the art embraces its philosophy as well as its movements; it becomes a way of life. The film does manage to establish a credible relationship between the two and Mr. Han as with Mr. Miyagi in the original also had his demons to face.

                 Jaden Smith as Dre in "The Karate Kid."

                Han Wen Wen as Meiying and Jaden Smith as Dre in "The Karate Kid."

I guess what the original had that this remake didn’t was the fact that it was realistic. Daniel (the original character) was a weakling and didn’t have the savvy to become a very capable fighter in 1 month. Miyagi gave him the tools he needed to face his tormentors; Daniel could never become a warrior, but he was given the quality moves needed and had developed the heart to win over his opponents. This time around, this remake takes a little cartoonish route that requires a large suspension of disbelief; as Dre becomes a capable fighter in a month; displaying the skills and movements that equal his opponents who had been practicing the art for a lot longer time; Dre didn’t feel like an underdog but rather a competitor with almost equal skill--in a month. I had a hard time buying into this, I cannot believe that a student who had no exposure to Kung Fu can pull off a final move that he observed but never really taught. Daniel was a better character than Dre.

The supporting characters were also a little cartoonish. Dre’s mother does have more screen time and develops a relationship with Han which was good. I also liked the fact that the script settles for a theme of friendship between Dre and Mei, rather than the teen love between Daniel and Ali. This was a good change, as the film also pays respect to Chinese culture. The relationship between Han and Dre was developed well, but then, with Jackie Chan, it is easy to have an attachment to his character. However, Smith wasn’t totally convincing and he felt a little too whiny; I can forgive this since he is only 11 years old in the film.

               Jaden Smith as Dre and Taraji P. Henson as Sherry in "The Karate Kid."

              Jaden Smith as Dre in "The Karate Kid."

The fights were nicely executed and I was impressed with the quality of the choreography. Cheng and the other young Chinese fighters were real convincing in pulling off those complex moves. The hits looked like they were actually making contact and the camera work was kept tight with some flashy use of slow motion and clever editing. There were some wire fu included in the fights, but they weren’t that obvious; Chan and company did their work well. Oh, as with the Daniel’s Crane Kick, Dre develops his own signature move; and it was very cool. The cinematography was stellar as the viewer becomes privy to the slums of the country as well as its beauty. The scene when Han and Dre traveled to the temple atop the mountaintop was breathtaking, and there is a very cool scene with a mysterious woman (a Michelle Yeoh look-alike) who entrances a cobra.

So the question remains: Is this film a worthy remake? Well, it is, as it does pay homage to the original and a lot of the key scenes was more or less a tribute. This does render the film a little too predictable so those who loved the original will find this remake very unnecessary. I am one of those people, but despite its flaws, I have to admit the film was very entertaining that it did establish the differences between the Chinese art to the Japanese art, as well as giving reverence to both martial arts systems. The film does make it clear: “It’s not karate”. It does have a lesson to share, while it is not as memorable as the original; it was still quite germane in today’s times.

Recommended Timidly. [3+ Out of 5 Stars]

Hype Level: Anything with Jackie Chan generates a fair amount of Hype. But the film’s quality is better than its hype.







                
 
 
 
3 ½ Stars: An Unnecesary Remake But Yet Proves To Be Very Entertaining! 3 ½ Stars: An Unnecesary Remake But Yet Proves To Be Very Entertaining! 3 ½ Stars: An Unnecesary Remake But Yet Proves To Be Very Entertaining! 3 ½ Stars: An Unnecesary Remake But Yet Proves To Be Very Entertaining!

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June 21, 2010
Another one I want to see bad but a move is killing me right now, ahhhhhhh I hate moving. Great review man.
June 23, 2010
Ha-hah! How far of a move do you have to do?
 
June 19, 2010
I never had any affection for the original so I'm definitely planning on seeing this in the theater. I found certain parts of the original to be laughable. For instance the final fight at the tourney where Daniel stands there wobbling like crazy in his crane stance and it should be obvious to anyone what he plans to do and yet this technique actually works against his opponent? Sorry, not buying it. The only interesting part of the original is that the remake has brought it's star into the limelight again and the guy still looks like he's about 20. Incredible. Anyhoo, can't wait to take the boys to see this when they get back from vacation which is on Sunday. So Monday or Tuesday maybe, depending on what else they've got going on.
June 19, 2010
Yeh, I agree with you on the crane thing but I think that was the point, Daniel was just lucky and was never meant to be a warrior. Part 3 did make fun of the crane thing after all. I think the boys will love this movie. Jaden is pretty charismatic and Chan is still, well....Jackie Chan!
June 20, 2010
He was lucky? That was the whole point of it? He was trained to be lucky? I don;t get it.
June 20, 2010
no, it was luck that he won that competition. The town champ was cocky and out of focus which is why that move worked. also, as Miyagi said said, win or lose you earn respect. he was given the tools to defend himself but never as a warrior.
June 20, 2010
Hmmm. I can think of two filk songs about the magic of that crane stance. I guess they missed the point.
June 21, 2010
ha! also in a competition, you fight under the rules of the tournament--it is not a real fight.
June 21, 2010
The Cobra Kai guys would have been disqualified before they ever got to the finals. Although I do remember a couple of matches where guys were spitting out teeth back home.
June 22, 2010
I know. I can never compete in a competition with a lot of rules. It is a pretty good for sport, but a sensei should always remember to train the students to prevail than just to win. :)
June 22, 2010
There was a guy in Miami who would go oveseas so he could compete in the last-man-standing type of tournament. He'd win 'em too. And he still looks cute to this very day.
 
June 18, 2010
Nice job, Woo. Personally, I'm weary of all Chan films these days I'm afraid, and I say that as an old school Chan-fan. Seems like since the first "Rush Hour" in 1998, his films have been on the decline and remakes don't seem like the way to recover. I'll see this once it hits DVD, but not at the theatre, and mainly because I am curious as to how they reinvent the characters, plot, and the various sequences for modern audiences.
June 19, 2010
Hey, Sean, if you want to see the best of Chan then you'll have to look to Asia. Asian actors never get the respect they deserve here in Hollywood. Tell you the truth, this may be one of the best Chan has ever done in the U.S. Chan steals the show on this one. I may be biased with Chan since I have met the guy in 2002 and he is just so humble and pleasant to be around with.
June 19, 2010
So tell us the story of that meeting.
June 19, 2010
I love his '80s films particularly. He did a few decent American films in the '90s too, but his golden era was defintely the '80s. I love "The Police Story" films, "Heart of the Dragon: The First Mission", and those low-budget action flicks like that where he wopuld actually risk his life for the film. Talk about dedication! By the way, I used to know someone who met him on a film shoot in Canada and she said the same thing about him and that he was very friendly and polite.
June 19, 2010
@QUEENBFLIX, I met Chan briefly first in the TV station I used to work for in 2001 but I talked to him in C-town when he was donating $$ for a school and when he visited a temple. Such a great guy and he simply adores his fans. The guy was 50 then but he looked like my age. I laughed when he said they offered to pay him $ 18 million for The Tuxedo when that was his entire budget in HK.

@Orlok, his best movies always come from Asia. Right now, he is just working to keep his employees employed in HK. He uses stuntmen now to double for him; he did say that his bones had gotten brittle. Btw, I saw you emailed me, I will respond once I get back in the city. For some reason I can't open yahoo mail in  this laptop.
June 19, 2010
Did you get my e-mail with questions? I'm trying to make my decision today and I'm searching various buyer guides online, but not finding much in the way of help based on which manufacturers are best and which ones suck. This is what I'm thinking along the lines of so far... ITO Katana Hideyoshi.
June 19, 2010
For your budget, that seems pretty good. Hideyoshi is a good name. Just remember you need to make adjustments and 'ping' needle the handle before you practice. That is a pretty good price. Don't rush, shop around. As long as you pick hand-forged then you're ok. My favorite sword is from Japan cost my bro a lot of money. (can cut through a feather) I cannot open my email with this laptop for some reason. I'll send you some links...I have a hangover too. Btw, Jonah Hex is reviewed and posted....
June 19, 2010
btw, make sure you also get a wooden sword (or kendo stick) if you're taking classes....
June 19, 2010
Did you check out the pics and the product info? I was really impressed and the price seems decent. I've been looking around for the past few days and I have a whole list of different websites I've checked, different catalogs that I have been through, and stuff, but finding reviews or feedback about the products isn't so easy. Do you have any blades from ITO Katana? They seem to make nice swords, but they're only available through this one distributor and the distributor has a mixed history when it comes to customer satisfaction. So, I'm a little worried.
June 19, 2010
Nope, no classes around here for armed martial arts. I'm pretty adept with weapons like this and am mainly self-taught, so I should be good. I did check out some training supplies, but that and the sword would be beyond my budget right now. Another sword I was considering was ITO Katana's Kiyomori Model 457.
 
June 18, 2010
Though this movie has Woopak "recommended timidly" seal on it and I'm weary to see it because I loved the original, I think I'm going to have to see it because it has a cute kid in it! Great review, Woo!
June 19, 2010
LOL! Somehow I had a feeling you would say that. You know that's Will Smith's son right? (I think)
 
June 18, 2010
I have such nostalgic affection for the original, I'd dismissed this out of hand ; ) glad to know there are some bright spots in it. I was curious how Jaden Smith would do too. great breakdown as always, thx!
June 19, 2010
Hi, well, if you're a fan of the original then you may just want to rent this one. It doesn't do anything to expand on its premise and while Chan was real good, I wouldn't highly recommend it. I think coldsteel7 liked it a tad more than I did. Thanks!
 
June 18, 2010
I think I will have to put the original on my rental list. I was a little young when I saw it, so I don't remember all that much. As for the new one, my brother is visiting next month so maybe I can talk him in to seeing this with me. ...Although I think I'll miss "wax on wax off" lol.
June 19, 2010
you don't like "paint the fence" or 'side to side' LOL!
 
June 18, 2010
This is an excellent review of the Karate Kid. I very much enjoyed your insight on the entire Karate Kid history. The detail you provide is just incredible. You have a wonderful style with your review. I'll be taking my daughter (age 7) to this movie and I'm sure she will enjoy it. Keep up the great work! Thank you!
June 19, 2010
Albert, comments like yours just make me warm and fuzzy all over. I am pretty sure you will have fun watching it with your daughter. Thank you!
July 09, 2010
We went to the Karate Kid. Here's what Kamalei said:
"Dad, I loved it!"
I enjoyed it as well.
This was a great movie for kids of all ages.
July 10, 2010
glad you enjoyed it. It is a pretty good family movie. BTW, thanks for joing our movie hype community!
 
June 18, 2010
Thoroughly enjoyed your take on this flick as you are obviously one of the "go to" guys for movies on Lunch. Loved the photos you employed as well. I loved the original and was not inclined to go see the remake but you have convinced me that it is at least worth a look when it comes out on DVD.
June 19, 2010
coldsteel gave this movie a decent rating too so all is not lost. I hope you do see it so we can compare notes.
 
June 18, 2010
Nice review, William! I'm always excited to read your thoughts on a film with a lot of hype. I've been hearing a lot of good things about it, and I will probably eventually watch it...but I'm in no rush. :)
June 19, 2010
(hugs) so....I am waiting on a movie review for you :)
June 19, 2010
LOL! Yeah, I know. I'm doling out book reviews first cause the books are due back at the library. I just finished almost all the ones for my community. I have two to write for Sean's, one more for mine, and then it's time for the movie reviews again. I'm too slow! There needs to be ten of me or something!
June 19, 2010
can I be your ghost writer? I'd love to be writing behind a very pretty and pleasant face :P he-heh. (just kidding)
June 19, 2010
LOL! You're so goofy! (slaps you) Anyway, I will reward your patience with some great movie reviews once I get Night World and Coraline reviews finished. I need to return those two books ASAP since they are overdue. I just finished Peony in Love, but I have more time to review it since I don't think it's due this upcoming week...darn me and my slowness!
 
1
More The Karate Kid (2010) reviews
review by . January 03, 2011
Having not seen the original Karate Kid for many years, the content, story and overall feel of the original is simply lost in the annals of time as a result of my terrible memory. So with that, I'll say that my review will be written as if the original Karate Kid movie had never been made and this was an entirely original piece. For me to try and make a comparison would create a review based on false ideas and comparisons, which is not what I want my reviews to be.    The film …
review by . June 12, 2010
An Homage To The Classic Karate Kid?
Many of us grew up watching The Karate Kid and I fall into that category. It has many beloved characters in Daniel Larusso, Mr. Myiagi, and the infamous Cobra Kai dojo and their students and  their merciless instructor. So why remake this classic? What's in it for those who grew up with the original and those who are seeing this reboot for the first time?      Before the Karate Kid purists get mad that things were changed it's important to remembered what actually …
review by . June 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
"The Karate Kid" is very much a worthy counterpart to the 1984 film on which it's based, not only in terms of story, but also in terms of quality; the excitement, humor, warmth, and themes of friendship, maturity, and overcoming adversity have been left intact, and better still, there's no sense that any of it has been cheapened or simplified to the sake of appealing to a mass audience. The only exception, and I'm really just nitpicking here, is a glorious but contrived aerial shot of martial arts …
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Entertaining & quite clearly a movie made for the western audience. Proven formula of the underdog emerges victor. However, for someone who has lived and/or is familiar with the landscape of China, it is most unsettling to see how a scene jump from one locale to another that's thousands of miles away! Reminded me of what they did with scenes from Mission Impossible III where Tom Cruise ran from Xitang (a watertown about an hour drive from Shanghai) to Shanghai!!! Truly quite impossible ;-) Beijing …
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I liked this i was worried about watching this cause i didn't like the first karate kid got to love the kick at the end.
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I feel sorry for Jackie Chan thinking back to the films he worked so hard on to where his career is now. At least the money's good. Can we have another Rush Hour please?
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I loved the new version because it offered a new take on the remake. Very awesome :P
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
No Ralph Macchio or Larry B Scott? What the Hell? How rude...
Quick Tip by . March 17, 2010
posted in Movie Trailers
Hanging a jacket on a coat hanger and taking it off isn't the same as painting a fence. Macchio got things done!
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Poster art for "The Karate Kid."


The Karate Kid, known as The Kung Fu Dream in China and Best Kid in Japan and South Korea, is a 2010 martial artsremakeof the 1984 film of the same name. Directed by Harald Zwart, produced by Willand Jada Pinkett Smith, the remake stars Jackie Chanand Jaden Smith.
Principal photographyfor the film took place in Beijing, China; filming began around July 2009 and ended on October 16, 2009. The Karate Kid was released theatrically in the United Stateson June 11, 2010 and Singaporea day earlier on June 10, 2010.
The plot concerns a 12-year-old boy from Detroit who moves to China with his mother and runs afoul of the neighborhood bully. He makes an unlikely ally in the form of his aging maintenance man, Mr. Han, a kung fu master who teaches him the secrets to self-defense.
12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) and his mother, Sherry (Taraji P. Henson), arrive in Beijing from West Detroit to start a new life. Dre develops a crush on a young violinist, Mei Ying (Wen Wen Han), who reciprocates his attention, but Cheng (Zhenwei Wang), a kung fu  prodigy whose family is close to Mei Ying's, attempts to keep them apart by beating Dre, and later harassing and humiliating him in and around school. During a particularly brutal beating by Cheng and his friends, the enigmatic maintenance man of Dre's building, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), comes to Dre's aid, revealing himself as a kung fu master who adeptly dispatches Dre's tormentors.
 
After Han mends Dre's ...
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Details

Director: Harald Zwart
Genre: Family
Release Date: June 11, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 140 Min
Studio: Columbia Pictures
First to Review
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