THE KARATE KID
- Popped: 2
- Website: http://www.karatekid-themovie.com/
- Rated: PG
“The Karate Kid” is back and he is little younger and more modern but with a very similar punch. Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) reluctantly relocates with his mother (Taraji P. Henson) from Detroit to China, following her career change. At first Dre seems to make a few new friends and when he begins to feel like a member of the community he has the wind knocked out of him, literally. Dre finds a connection with fellow classmate Mei Ying (Wenwen Han); sadly their cultural differences make a friendship impossible. Fueling the fire is the enemy Dre makes of the class bully, Cheng (Zhenwei Wang).
Becoming tired of being a punching bag Dre decides to take a stand for himself and teach himself karate. When he finds that his training is not paying off and he has no friends he turns to the maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), who is secretly a master of kung fu. Han takes Dre under his wing and teaches him that kung fu is not about defeating your enemy with a punch, but about maturity and respect. As the lessons with Mr. Han intensify we see a new more confident Dre evolve. Dre is entered into a karate tournament where he will face off his bullies one by one.
As the training comes to an end and the competition approaches we see the bond that develops between Dre and Mr. Han, one that will save Mr. Han from a dark place. The new “Karate Kid” has that same old feel, but is no original. Even with its amazing kung fu and superb action there were too many similarities in this remake. It was like watching the original word for word. Any attempt to modernize it failed miserably.
Jaden Smith offered a great performance as the underdog who comes out on top, but the young age of 12 I found it hard to relate to him as a champion. Even more unbelievable was that Dre learned his advanced kung fu so quickly and defeated so many that have been trained since birth. The highlight of the film was the lighthearted performance by Jackie Chan. Something far outside his usual performance that was refreshing and very enjoyable. “The Karate Kid” is lacking originality that could have made it as powerful as the original. Newbie’s to “The Karate Kid” won’t be disappointed, but the 1980’s film lovers might leave the theatre with a slight distaste in their mouths.