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Archive for the ‘Karate Kid; The – 2010’ Category

The Karate Kid (2010) – review

The Karate Kid –¬†viewed 6/15/2010

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Believe me…no one was up in arms more than I when they announced the remake of one of the most beloved 80’s films of all time. How could they do this? This could be the worst idea ever, right?…(insert foot in mouth) wrong. What you have is one of the most charismatic, passionate, honest and uplifting films I have seen this year.

This time around our young protagonist is thrust into the middle of China, because his mother has been uprooted from Detroit to work for a car manufacturer overseas. Daniel-son has now been replaced by Dre Parker (played by Jaden Smith) as a street-wise Detroit kid thrust into a new world and a new land. He attempts to make friends but soon makes enemies in rival classmates, that kick his ass on the basketball court, after he tries to be-friend a young Chinese violinist.

The film goes through the motions for the first half using pretty much the exact same structure and even the same dialogue as the original. It seems a little forced at times especially when young Dre is explaining to his mother how much he hates China. His mother is played by Taraji Henson (best known for her Oscar nominated role in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) and she is the one gigantic mis-cue in the film. She’s terrible, annoying, and beyond watchable as Dre’s pushy, loud mouthed mother.

The film really doesn’t come into it’s own until Dre begins to train with Mr. Han (Jackie Chan, taking over in the role of Mr. Miyagi). This is when the film begins to stand on its own two legs and set itself apart from the original. The dynamic between Mr. Han and Dre Parker is as fresh and visceral as the original connection between Miyagi and Daniel. Jackie Chan, truly puts forth a great performance as a more damaged and torn old man than he first lets on. Young Jaden Smith holds his own as well with some quick wit and some of that Detroit lean guiding him along the way. The training delves deep into the Kung-Fu way of honor and discipline and is really where the film shines.

Newcomer Wenwen Han who plays love interest Meiying adds to the film in a big way as well. She’s got a wonderful backstory as a young violinst trying to get into the most prestigious music school in China. She helps Dre learn the lay of the land, and helps him learn a lot about himself along the way.

The film has some fantastic fight and action sequences. I never thought 12 year-old Chinese kids could kick that much ass, but there are some serious beat-down scenes going on, leading up to one hell of a great climax.

It’s always said, don’t fix what ain’t broken, and “Karate Kid” takes the core of the original film, applies it, and then adds a new fresh take. It is a great family film, a great surprise to me, and a film that should really be checked out.

Grade – B+