“The Karate Kid” (2010) A Retelling Worth Cheering For

Genres: Action/Adventure, Remake and Sports
Running Time: 2 hr. 6 min.
Release Date: June 11th, 2010 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG for bullying, martial arts action violence and some mild language.
Distributors: Sony Pictures Releasing

Director: Harald Zwart
JJ Rating: B+

See It Again: Most likely I could.
Own It: Yes.
Recommend it to: Parents to take their kids. The kids will enjoy it as will the parents and that’s a win/win.


Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) is upset that he has to move to China with his mother Sherry (Taraji P. Henson), who has to go for job relocation. A bully makes a mess of Dre’s life and makes him want to leave the entire country. That is until he realizes that Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) is more than just a maintenance man. Dre ends up getting to learn Kung-Fu in order to win a completion he was pushed into. The Karate Kid.

Surprising that Racebending didn’t have a problem that the main character in this remake of The Karate Kid is black instead of white like the original. Let me go into detail on how much that mattered that the main character changed from white to black….oh wait, it didn’t matter. As far is which movie was better…I’m leaning on The Karate Kid 2010 wasn’t a remake as much as it was a retelling of an unexpectedly awesome movie of the 80’s.

Jaden Smith is being unfairly attacked by some of the most stupidest people and those would be the ones that complain about movies on forums. These people complain about how boring Hollywood is. Well, they’d have a point if they actually bothered with Hollywood. It’s like someone saying Hondas suck, but they never set foot in a Honda or looked under the hood. They’re just basing it on how they look on the outside without getting their hands dirty. The film made a ton of money and won the weekend, so Jaden did a good job, right? I think so. I think he did a good enough job. He doesn’t need to be a perfect little actor. He’s acting like a child so his child like self might leak into the character, but it works and people should accept it and shut up.

Jaden and Han Wen Wen (who played Meiying the love interest) had good chemistry. Her smile would arrive in a scene and it was like a sunrise, so charming. I believe Zhao Yi who played Zuhang was fantastic as the bully. His angry eyes (gearing up for Toy Story 3) burned a hole into Jaden every moment he glared in his direction. His icy cold hatred rocked and made the movie that much more fun. Jackie Chan did awesomely as the maintenance man/kung fu teacher. This is one of his best performances. He got to be emotional and I’ve never seen him reach so deep down, even though I did see it coming. Henson is one of those actresses that just takes on a character and no one has to worry if she will do well, because it’s a given she will. She is so good that it’s hard to forget she’s an actress, it comes naturally to her.

The Karate Kid is going to be as classic as the original and could only be such because the original surprised so many. No matter if it makes more money, it has a lot to owe to those that came before. I felt the time drag a bit, but overall the fun is what I remembered and the last 15 minutes with the tournament held my attention without me checking my cell phone.

A favorite scene is when Han takes Dre to a temple and there they are performing versions (I’m assuming) of Kung-Fu. It instantly reminded me of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” because of their movements. I saw water bending, air bending, fire bending and a bit of earth bending. It was awesome to see that the creators did sample from actual movements as I knew they had…but to see it made me get excited for the film. Oh, and the cinematography stole by breath. I always wanted to go to China and though many things scare me, seeing how beautiful it is makes me want to go even more. And...and...and the running joke with his jacket, not as tiring as actually hearing a mother say it to you--it worked perfectly.

The sad thing that I’ll always remember when I see The Karate Kid is that I lost my Ipod at the theater. I am upset, but AMC was very helpful and the manager called me back and spoke with me and said that they would keep an eye out, but I know it’s practically hopeless. I’ll be filing a police report as well. Even though it was a dark day because of the loss of a 3 year old Ipod (special meaning), I still enjoyed the film. On a silly note, the title is really cheesy, but it works very well. It’s like those cheesy Western names like Billy The Kid. It’s funny how something that would sound cheesy under any other circumstances works so well for something that has become a classic.

The Karate Kid is worth seeing with your kids because they’ll enjoy it and cheer for Dre to win just like my audience did and many of my friend’s audiences did. It is an odd feeling to sit in a theater and hear cheering. So rare does that happen that when it does it’s welcomed and exciting, I didn’t cheer, but to hear others was neat. Speaking of Dre winning, the way he does it happened to be very subtle. That wasn’t something they just foreshadowed in a pushy way. It was shown, but not focused on. The way they handled that made me like the film more.

Go see it, but don’t compare too much to the old or you’ll lose out in the fun of the new. Don’t be the whinny granny that says, “In my day it was better, ‘cause….” And then wag your wrinkled finger and wave your mothball smelling arms around explaining why. Give new things a chance and you’ll stay younger longer and don’t back websites like Racebending.com because fun should exist, it shouldn’t be killed because things aren’t done as you wished them to have been done. I view The Karate Kid as a retelling that did a good job despite the changes they did via race and location and I also view it as a small taste of what’s to come with The Last Airbender. I. Can’t. Wait. MIDNIGHT!

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