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**Film only review**
The new Karate Kid was my latest dvd rental, I chose it as I loved the old Karate Kid film and was curious to see what the new one was like.
This follows a young boy Dre Parker played by Jaden Smith, and his mum Sherry Parker played by Taraji P. Henson, who move to china to start a new life. Dre meets a girl (Meiying played by Wenwen Han) he likes, but becomes the target of bullies, and like in the original Karate kid he is saved from the bullies ,by a handyman (Mr Han played by Jackie Chan) who goes on to train him for a tournament.
To be honest the basic plot I've outlined is where the similarities end, for a start in this film he is learning Kung Fu, so surely it should be The Kung Fu Kid, it doesn't have quite the same ring about it I admit, but then if this was a chocolate bar the film would be sued under the trade description act as there is no Karate in it. I mean if you bought a fruit and nut bar, you'd be pretty annoyed if it turned out to be plain :)
Anyway moving on from this annoyance, did the film live up to the original?
Well no, to be honest I thought it went on a bit, was slow paced and nearly fell asleep in the middle, although the last can partly be attributed to me getting over a cold :) I felt the acting wasn't that good, even the part played by Jackie Chan, who I normally love, was too serious and boring.
The film centers around Dre and his relationships with his mother, girl friend and kung fu teacher. To be honest he seemed a bit too young for the part, the girl he was friends with looked too old for him and the lad who was bullying him was twice his size and looked older. I didn't really enjoy the side stuff with the girlfriend or even with his mother, it just felt like the scenes were there to pad out the film a bit and add more interest, but for me it just distracted from the main point of the film. Even the fight training scenes lacked something for me, and I just didn't enjoy it. The overall pace of the film was quite slow, and I think the only thing I particularly liked about it was the music was ok.
The final thing to annoy me "wax on wax off" was replaced with him taking a jacket on and off, I mean really??
So in conclusion one to miss, it turns out for once my husband is right in that the original is best.
Starring Will Smith's son Jayden Smith and Jackie Chan this film is a modern remake of the original, 1984 film The Karate Kid.
When Jayden Smith's character, 12 year old Dre Parker, is forced to move abroad to China when his mum is relocated for her job, he finds it hard to fit in, in a new school and in such a strange new place. He meets a girl but gets a hard time from the other boys, not to mention the girl's parents and feels he will never be happy there. Then he befriends his building's handyman, Mr Han, played by Jackie Chan who teaches him karate. They aim to enter him in a famous competition to prove to the boys at his new school that he is not a weakling and that they should leave him alone and at the same time try to prove to the girls parents that he has enough about him to be allowed to be 'friends' with her.
I actually saw this film before I saw the original and really enjoyed it (especially when my dad tried to rein act the famous move at the end.. I won't spoil it) in particular I couldn't look away from the final scenes. It is a surprisingly emotional film in some parts and I loved seeing a bit of China through it, particularly the scene where they are training at/on the Great Wall of China. It is a classic underdog movie and I highly recommend it. It inspired me to watch the original too.
Jayden Smith is so cute you can't help but warm to him and he plays the part brilliantly. He obviously genuinely learnt the skills he needed to portray in this film adding more believability. It seems unnatural for a child to be THAT ripped! Jackie Chans character is sweet and funny. He is easily my favourite character, acting as a sort of really cool but really strict surrogate Granddad. I didn't warm to the character of Dre's mother quite so well, but then maybe we're not supposed to since the story isn't about her in the same way.
I know some people seem to take issue with the film saying 2hrs, 20mins is excessive but I personally didn't think so. There was enough backstory to prevent it from being purely an action film but enough action to keep it moving and I didn't get bored. My Dad and younger brother also watched it and although my Dad didn't think it as good as the original they both enjoyed it which I think shows it's suitable for all ages.
Fun, well acted and funny with a great soundtrack, this is a great remake although as it turned out, I do prefer the original.
'Jacket on, Jacket off, Jacket on..'
All of my friends said that this movie was amazing and it was the best movie ever and that I had to go and see it. Now, don't get me wrong, it's good movie but not as good as everyone says. There doesn't seem to be enough action apart from the end.
It's got a good story and the actor play it well. The music is good and is in the same mood as each scene of the movie. He seems to progress really quickly learning karate which was bad for me. I wanted him to learn it slowly, bit by bit but he just seems to jump to the next level. One moment, he can't kick over his head, the next minute he is doing somersaults and more! It's good and has a very good cinematic ending.
It shows real life contexts where bullies are picking on him and kids playing about. It's very realistic and most of it is possible and could have been a true story. There isn't a lot of slow motion and effects but it's a good movie. There actually isn't a lot of places they could have added effects in. I would have liked a little more action and from what everyone was saying about it, there was tonnes.
It's a good family movie and is suitable for all but for me, it is slightly overrated. Good acting and vocals and a goof film with karate and fighting, a decent storyline but isn't a movie that I can watch over and over without getting bored.
Title: The Karate Kid
Starring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P. Henson, Zhenwei Wang
Director: Harald Zwart
Duration: 140 mins
Released: 15 November 2010
History of the film:
Can Will Smith Jr. make this remake of The Karate Kid as powerful and fun as the original? Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) and Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi) were the perfect 80s team. Larusso was the young kid who moves to California and gets beaten up by the local tough guys, but then learns the ways of Karate, wins the girl and beats the bad guys under the watchful eye and guidance of the sage, Karate Master, Mr Miyagi with his 'wax on, wax off', 'paint the fence' style of teaching. That film easily stands the test of time as any 80s kid knows. It's still very watchable and well loved. It's also available on Blu-ray. It's a true 80s classic along with Gremlins, Indiana Jones, The Goonies and Back to the Future.
The Karate Kid sequels were less satisfying so could this re-imaging/reboot, reinvigorate the franchise and spawn sequels of its own? I think that the answer is yes.
The action is moved from California to China and the Karate Kid is a little younger but the plot is basically the same and there are plenty of moments to watch out for where the dialogue is very similar or even exactly the same. It's different but it's the same. It's a really fun, exciting film, and it's not just for kids either. I really enjoyed it. I'd not rushed to see it at the cinema, preferring to wait to catch it on Blu-ray and although I thought it would be good, in fact I was a little surprised just how much I enjoyed it.
Jaden Smith is getting stronger with every film and naturally more experienced with age, he's most definitely a chip off the old Smith/Pinkett block. His performance is very impressive. He clearly learnt real kung fu and his physical performance is quite outstanding. It knocks the socks of anything from the original film. Sure, Smith may be on wires for some of the moves but it's clear that he's genuinely doing what we are seeing on screen.
As for Jackie Chan, the old master himself, I've never been a fan. I'm not a fan of the whole chop-socky genre. As Mr Han, the maintenance man, who just happens to be a kung fu master he only gets one chance to do his thing but he delivers a knockout performance with a very impressive scene in which he defends himself and Dre (Smith) from a group of young aggressive kung fu thugs. The scene, as is his whole performance is fun, humorous and heartfelt.
The direction is also certainly solid, and although it may lack a few of the flourishes of John G. Avildsen's original film it is still very satisfactory and maybe it has a few of its own. It does not let us down on the montage front either, there's plenty of 'wax on, wax off' muscle-memory style training, all new and improved and inspired by Chan.
The pacing is also good, especially considering the length of the film, indeed there are very few times at all when the action or drama seems to slow down which is an achievement in itself. Who would have thought that a film about karate, a remake no less, would span a full two hours and twenty minutes, let alone, be watchable throughout?
And if it does sag just a touch somewhere in the middle, it truly soars at the end with a climatic wushu tournament and one hell of a killer kung fu move which easily rivals - hell I'm going to say it - outdoes the Larusso's Crane kick. Wow.
The HD image is excellent. The visuals are crisp and clear and the image is sharp. The colours are bold and bright and the skin tones are natural. There is no grain on the image and no burns or tears or other imperfections.
There are a number of special features. A commentary and deleted scenes. They are quite interesting. However the main interesting features on this disc are the featurettes discussing the making of the film where there are conversations between the actors and director and snippets of information from Will Smith. It's interesting to see the thoughts behind the making of the film and why Will Smith was so keen to get this film made and why he wanted his son Jaden to star in it. There is also an engrossing featurette on the action stunts of the movie and how the young star trained and learnt how to do karate. I understand it the features are the same on the DVD but of course not in HD.
The Karate Kid will have you punching the air in delight just like you did when Larusso proved that he was 'the best around' back in the 80s. It takes the original premise, improves on the production values and cranks up the kung fu action to the max.
When I heard this film was being released I was really unsre. I loved the original and didn't want it to be spoilt but I also didn't want to watch new actors do the same film.
I watched the film as was really pleased as the mix of the original story modernisation was just right. The new karate kid is played by Will Smiths son Jayden and the new Mr Miaggi is Jacki Chan.
The story goes that Karate Kid has to move due to his mothers new work. He then meets a girl but starts getting bullied. Jacki Chan helps to train the boy in Karate and he is entered in to a karate tournament. I won't spoil the story by telling you what happens though I am sure you can probably figure it out.
If you loved the original then its a must see in my opinion. If you haven't seen the original get your hands on a copy of that aswell. Why not have a karate kid marathon. Perhaps I have too much time on my hands to even suggest a karate kid marathon.
It would seem that Hollywood is currently experiencing something of an 80's revival with the release of an A-Team movie this year and this remake of the 80's classic Karate Kid. Like most modern remakes though this isn't just a retelling of the original story and whilst the basis of the story remains the same the way it is told is totally different. When I was younger I had really enjoyed the Karate Kid movies and so the idea of a remake not only interested me, but also worried me at the same time. My biggest concern of course was could they do the original justice and even though I have been putting it off, I finally have an answer.
Having moved to Beijing because of his mum's work, 12 year old Dre Parker seems to have become the main target for the school bullies. He hates everything about their new life in China and wants to return to America as soon as possible. Having struggled and tried various methods to beat the bullies he finally finds a friend in his building's caretaker Mr Han who after some very tough persuasion agrees to train Dre to enter a Kung Fu tournament in order to stand up to his bullies and show them he isn't the weak new kid for them to pick on.
Blatant Cashing In?
Having to follow on from the legacy of the original Karate Kid was always going to be difficult and whilst director Harald Zwart has put together a decent movie it is nowhere near as good as the original. For starters the fact the film is called the Karate Kid, yet all of the martial arts featured are Kung Fu shows that the name was used purely to cash in on the 1980's hit. It was also far too long and whilst some character development is necessary a run time of 2 hours 20 minutes for a movie like this was just far too much. It didn't have any real pace to the script and at times it got bogged down in elements that weren't really needed.
That's not to say the movie is all bad as other than the length and the blatant cash in on the original's success it actually works really well. The story is full of very clear and concise values and messages for kids that violence doesn't solve life's problems and that patience and thinking are far better solutions. The director makes good use of the popular tourist sites around China with the Forbidden City, The Great Wall of China and the Olympic stadium all featuring at one point or another. Whilst there are criticisms that can be levelled at this film the Kung Fu sequences are well done, the filming locations are spectacular and despite the theme song featuring Justin Beiber even the soundtrack works remarkably well.
Introducing Jaden Smith
Over the years Jaden Smith has been steadily building up an impressive CV of work which included Pursuit of Happiness with his dad Will Smith. There are many assumptions that Jaden is only getting roles based on who his father is but I think his performance in this movie he goes some way to dispelling that theory. He is assured and confident in the role of Dre and gives a very solid performance throughout. I'm not suggesting in any way that his performance is flawless but the way he portrays the character of Dre works really well. He seems to pick up the emotional side of his character well and although his physique doesn't exactly suggest he'll be the most capable of fighter he even manages to convince the further into the film we get.
In the support roles I was quite surprised by how serious Jackie Chan played the role of Mr Han. He has a reputation in this type of family film to play the joker, but other than one fight sequence he is far more composed and serious than other roles and it's a part that really works well for him. You can feel a connection between his character and Dre, which makes the film all the more convincing. If I had one criticism of the casting it would have been with Taraji P. Henson as Dre's mum. I did't really feel like the two of them connected and as such I felt her performance and role, whilst necessary seemed to fade into the background and should perhaps have been more key to the central story.
The rest of the casting worked really well and I was particularly impressed with Wenwen Han and Zhenwei Whang both of whom made their acting debuts in this movie and looked very comfortable on screen.
A Bit Of A Mixed Bag
It would be fair to say that whilst overall this is a decent movie there are a few elements that could have been much better. The runtime for instance is excessive at 2 hours and 20 minutes and whilst building up the back story is important I felt it went a little too far. As a remake there are similarities to the original Karate Kid but enough has been changed about it to let it stand up on its own right. I wouldn't feel right giving this movie 4 or 5 stars on the basis of the blatant cashing in on the previous movie and the length but based on the content and some very impressive performances I do recommend it. It is perhaps one to rent or watch on TV as after seeing it once I probably wouldn't watch it again.
When I saw this out at the cinema I was actually quite interested in it, despite it not really being my usual sort of film. Therefore I added it to my DVD rental list and we finally got round to watching it last night. This is a film only review.
The Karate Kid (2010) is a remake of the 1984 film of the same name. I have not seen this so I cannot comment on likeness or which one is better. However, my partner has seen it and did say that quite a few parts were different.
Dre lives with his mum in Detroit. However, because of a change in her career they are moving to Beijing. When they arrive, Dre's mum is really excited about their new life however Dre is not so happy. When they arrive at their new apartment and a boy his age invites him down to the park Dre thinks perhaps things are looking up and eagerly goes down.
When he is at the park, a beautiful girl catches his eye. He goes over to talk to her and they hit it off straight away, her name is Meiying and she is busy practising for an audition to get into the Beijing Academy of Music. However, their conversation is short lived when a boy comes over and demands that they stop chatting and Meiying starts practising. Cheng is a family friend of Meiying's and very protective. When Dre doesn't leave, he beats him up in front of the whole park leaving him hurt and humiliated.
The following day, Dre begins at his new school. Unfortunately, Cheng and his gang also go to the school and they are not going to make life easy for him. They want to fight and Dre has no chance with there being just him against a whole gang. One day they follow him home and things are turning really nasty when the handyman of the apartments intervenes. After some persuasion, he agrees to teach Dre the art of Kung Fu.
Both me and my partner really enjoyed this film. We both laughed throughout and we both really got into the film, wanting Dre to do well with his Kung Fu.
The character of Dre is played by Jaden Smith who also starred in Will Smith's 'The Pursuit of Happiness'. This was his first leading role and he did it brilliantly. For his age, Smith is such an advanced actor and we really enjoyed watching his performance. From the beginning of the film, I loved the character of Dre. He was a typical young lad and he was both funny and loveable. When Cheng first picked on him in the park I immediately felt really defensive over Dre, although this is near the beginning of the film I felt I knew Dre really well. Smith does a fantastic job of displaying emotions and throughout the film I really knew how Dre was feeling at all times.
I really enjoyed the plot of the film. I am not a fan of Kung Fu at all and although there is a fair bit of Kung Fu in the film, I didn't feel as if it was all about Kung Fu as there was a couple of sub plots which also took up a great deal of the film including Dre's friendships with Meiying and Mr Han (the handyman).
Jackie Chan as Mr Han was also brilliant. Initially he was quite a closed character who I couldn't quite understand but about halfway through the film we learn more about his life and I can really see why he is doing what he is doing for Dre. I grew really fond of Mr Han and thought he was a brilliant friend to Dre throughout the film when Dre was feeling alone.
The plot flowed really well and I found there was always plenty going on in Dre's life for us as an audience to focus on. I was surprised at how long the film was (140 minutes) but I didn't get bored like I usually do. I think this was actually the perfect length for this film as everything was covered well and there were no questions left unanswered. The ending of the film is done very well. It is quite predictable but there are a number of little twists thrown in that I wasn't expecting and I really enjoyed watching it.
The scenery of the film is amazing. Some of Dre's training takes him to the Great Wall of China which I haven't seen much of before and I found it absolutely breathtaking. My partner obviously did too as he commented he would quite like to visit there!
As you can probably tell from my review, I thought this film was fantastic. I loved the characters and thought the plot followed an interesting story and flowed very well. I'm very glad I watched this and I recommend it to all of you, regardless of whether you have an interest in Kung Fu.
The film was released in 2010.
It stars Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P Henson, Wenwen Han and Zhenwi Wang.
It was directed by Harald Zwart.
It was written by Christopher Murphey (screenplay) and Robert Mark Kamen (story).
It runs for 140 minutes.
It is rated a PG in the UK.
IMDB give it a rating of 6.2/10 (27,000 votes).
Stars Jacky Chan
"Mr. Han: Jacket on! Jacket off. Jacket on! Jacket off. Jacket on! Jacket off.
So the Karate Kid is back, the original seeing bullied Ralph Macchio as the fish out of water in a California high school, janitor Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita) teaching him to stick up for himself with martial arts to get the girl. It's the same again this time around but the location an inversion, the black American single mum moving out to China, Jacky Chan the martial teacher with the mop, 'wax on, wax off', replaced by 'jacket on, jacket off', the real Honk Kong Phooey.
Son of Will Smith, Jaden, is the oppressed ethnic kid for this one and the word karate in the title the only time it appears in the film, janitor Chan a retired and furtive Kung Fu master, the Chinese martial art the star of the movie this rotation. The word 'Karate' was apparently kept in the title as remakes are very lucrative these days, good scripts and new ideas drying up. The brilliant 2008 foreign hit 'Let the Right one In' has already suffered its Hollywood remake. The makers of this one wanted the potential audience in the bag before shooting started by letting them know it was a remake rather than a sequel to cash in on that current trend and so refused to call it the Kung Fu kid, which it is. To put it in context this very average formulaic teen movie grossed an incredibly $354 million dollars to date from just a $40 million budget, making it one of the biggest grossing films in this genre of all time. I suspect the bulk of that budget was on intensive advertising on TV and bus stations to achieve that unlikely feat and a sequel is already on the way because of that. We pretty much see what we are told these days and if the big studios dominate the multiplexes they don't have to make films as good as they used to be.
Jaden Smith ... Dre Parker
Jackie Chan ... Mr. Han
Taraji P. Henson ... Sherry Parker
Wenwen Han ... Meiying
Rongguang Yu ... Master Li
Zhensu Wu ... Meiying's Dad
Zhiheng Wang ... Meiying's Mom
Zhenwei Wang ... Cheng
Sherry Parker (Taraji P. Henson) and her 12-year-old son Dre (Jaden Smith) are starting a new life in China as mom follows her career from Detroit to the Far East. It's not long before Dre gets in trouble and soon bullied by some of his Chinese schoolmates who also attended the local elite Kung Fu gym. They saw him hanging around their pretty cousin Meiying (Wenwen Han) and when Dre stands up for himself it's deemed enough for a good kicking to keep him away from her. But after one beating too many after the school bell rings help comes from an unlikely source, that of his apartment block janitor Mr Han (Jackie Chan)
Han rescues Dre from that hiding with his Hong Kong Phooey defensive Kung Fu skills (well he can't smash kids in the face with his foot) and decides to take the boy under his wing, but Han also having his own issues.
After confronting Master Li (Rongguang Yu), the head of the local (and nasty) Kung Fu school churning out the bullies, its agreed the boys will leave Dre alone if he enters the big Kung Fu tournament coming up so the boys can have it out there. But Dre has no kung fu skills and with only weeks to go he better start practicing as its full contact and the kids from the bad kung fu school are not exactly following the ethos of the martial art, which is to defend and parry your attacker with your blows and so avoid attack, the plan to get your opponent to conceded defeat, something Dre will have to grasp very quickly.
There are three big issues with this that knocks half the dooyoo stars off. The first is the ridiculous length of the thing at 140 minutes for what essentially is a kid's film, plenty of toilet moments for mums with restless kids in the multiplex, nothing really happening for 40 minutes. The second is the lead casting of the very young kids in what is a violent children's movie at times. Jaden Smith is tiny and although his vulnerability up against the big boys is the point of the film, his mum then allows him to enter that full contact tournament where kicks to the head score the most points. He is supposed to be 12! Why Will Smith would want his seemingly fragile son to be involved in that screen image would make an interesting debate. Its just doesn't sit right on the screen guys. The third and most cringing is letting Jaden join fellow infant Justin Bieber to do the theme song.
The 6.2 rating Imdb should have put me off this but it's hard not to like Jacky Chan, and as we all love the original film from our youth so why not once more around the block? But it drags on and as brave little Jaden is in the role the black mum and son in China doesn't work. It's refreshingly set in China and no money spared there but the director does box-tick the tourist locations, like we do whenever a film is set in London so to sell the film to the all-important US audience with those familiar clichés, this one seeing Jaden Smith do his Kung Fu workout on one of the Great Wall towers.
I kinda enjoyed it but that was mostly because of Chan's gentle comic performance but the rest of it was just trying to hit every demographic to draw the biggest audience back home in America. To be honest I can't really tell you what the most suitable audience is for this and as it's so long then why not rent the original on lovefilm.com, the far superior movie...
Imdb.com - 6.2 /10.0 (34, 245 votes)
Rottentomatos.com - 69% approval rating
Metacritic.com - 61% approval rating
I wasn't desperate to see this remake - the original films are always better so I didnt want to watch a classic film being ruined, but my hubby and kids wanted to watch it so we settled down to watch it this weekend. Cue lots of me comparing it to the original!!
Dre Parker (played by the son of Will Smith, Jaden) and his mum move to China from America after Dre's father dies and his mum is offered a new job. For Dre its a whole culture change, and having to adapt to a new school, with the language barriers and no friends.
It isn't long before Dre meets a girl from school who he is very taken with, but the boys from school want him to stay away and Dre finds himself being bullied by kids who are trained in Kung-Fu.
After some pursuasion, maintenance man Mr Han (played by Jackie Chan) agrees to train Dre in Kung-Fu so he can fight at an upcoming competition.
Within the first 15 minutes or so, I began to feel very uncomfortable watching this film. The difference with this remake and the original, is that in the original, we were watching older teenage boys fighting - which isn't something I enjoy, but teenage boys do get into fights! In this remake, they are 12 year old boys, and Jaden Smith isn't exactly well built, he *looks* like a little boy. So watching him being bullied and quite violently punched about, is not easy viewing at all.
Something that worked well throught out was the comedy value. Wether it be quirky one liners, or a well timed funny face, there were quite a few giggles to be had while watching the film.
The setting of the film was incredible, some of the scenic shots were just simply stunning!
The real trouble for me was constantly comapring it to the first film - I have favourite parts that I was hoping would crop up in this, but didnt, although we did pick up on one of those moments that they had kept, but had 'modernised' it to fit in with the storyline for this film.
As remakes go, this certainly isn't the worst I have ever seen, and for a young boy, Jaden Smith's acting was great, and its always good to see Jacke Chan in action! Some of the other acting was somewhat questionable though!
I think if the story and casting had been older boys it would have been a bit easier to watch, I found myself cringing a fair bit and having to turn away as even though I knew it was acting and had been choreographed and no-one was actually getting hurt, it looked realistically like little boys beating each other up.
This films stars Jaden Smith (Will Smith's Son) as Dre Parker a young boy who moves from Detroit to China with his mother. Jackie Chan stars as Mr Han who is the caretaker of the building where Dre lives.
Before Dre even starts his new school he ends up in a fight and then finds himself going to the same school as the bullies. Dre does meet a girl who he likes but as she is chinese the bullies tell him to stay away from her. After school one day Dre gets his own back on the bullies but they chase after him and start to beat him up when luckily Mr Han comes to the rescue and sends the bullies flying with his karate moves. Mr Han agrees to teach Dre karate for an upcoming tournament where he will face his bullies head to head. Dre works hard and slowly begins to learn the skills he needs whilst uncovering a secret of Mr Han's along the way.
I really enjoyed this film. I thought Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan were both excellent in it and very believable in their roles. It is quite a long film though but it didn't seem too long for me and I was not at all bored whilst watching it. The karate scenes in it are great and the moves look realistic. The story is good and kept my attention all the way through. It is not too complicated though so is nice and relaxing to watch as it doesn't have a complicated plot.
I would recommed this film for older children and their parents to watch. The fights might be a little bit scary for younger children but I think teenagers would enjoy this film.
When work causes a widow and her son to move from America to China, it sparks off a cultural difference that causes young Dre (Jaden Smith) to find himself the subject of bullying at his new school at the hands of Cheng (Zhenwei Wang) and his band of friends. When a retaliation backfires, he is saves by the maintenance man, Mr Han (Jackie Chan), whose superior martial arts skills are enough to ward off Cheng and his friends. This sparks off an unlikely relationship whereby the elder man teaches the young upstart how to defend himself using kung fu.
Most people will have heard of the original Karate Kid film, and even if they haven't seen it, the whole training method is perhaps the biggest talking point. This is one such point that is transferred over to this film, which is very much billed as a modernised remake in many ways. Whereas before we had naive Daniel (Ralph Macchio) being taught by Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita) with various household chores and a Crane Kick, here we have Mr Han showing Dre how to defend himself by dropping and picking up his coat and, well, I won't tell you whether we get a repeat of the Crane Kick. That would be telling, wouldn't it?
To be honest, I was a bit put off by the length of the film, before I watched it. Over 2 hours for a film that is supposed to be for kids is a very long time and something I was very dubious about. As the film started, they didn't waste any time getting Dre and his mum to China, and indeed introducing us to the bullies of the film, as well as Mr Han. What ensues, though, are quite a few periods of dialogue, and a romance for Dre in the form of violinist girl Meiying (Wenwen Han). I felt the romance part dragged quite a bit, and was way overplayed. In the original, the romance part is well woven into the main storyline of underdog competing in a karate contest. Here, it is one similarity that is poorly linked to the actual main story, and I felt it detracted from the film.
Another change is the actual martial art being used. Despite the titular art, the film focuses on kung fu, and while I don't really know the differences between the two, I found it a bit interesting that this distinction was made. It did give the film the chance to visit some temples and beautiful locations where a lot of the theoretical and 'kata' (or kung fu equivalent) elements of the art were being demonstrated, and I felt these parts were an important part of the whole 'moral' side of teaching Dre. This was dealt with throughout, with Mr Han impressing on Dre the importance of trying to avoid a fight if at all possible.
There was an interesting sideline featuring Han's history which I felt was dealt with in a quick, painless and relevant way, and it showed Chan's acting ability, which I feel has always been a positive point in the films he has been involved in. His English and the actual acting have never been the focus, and it has always been the action and even comedy elements that have been endearing and entertaining, but here the comedy is gone and the serious acting takes its place. I was pleasantly surprised, and he has done very well here. Jaden Smith is certainly carving out a career for himself on screen, and give a few more years and we'll see for sure whether this is where his future lies. His parents (Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith) are certainly keeping a close eye on his career, producing this film, and with parents so well known as them, doors will certainly open. I found his performance to be convincing and have liked him in most things. His attitude is certainly right, and boy does he look like his dad when he gets some 'bad ass' attitude scenes to do. Good acting from the two lead roles.
Indeed, these are the two who really focus above the rest, who only get small snippets in the scenes. The support acting is decent, but Harald Zwart's direction definitely focuses on these two, and the backdrop of China and how it affects them. I liked the visuals in the film, and felt they were well used, even if the length of some of the dialogues was a bit lengthy. I can easily see kids being put off by these longer bits, and I can't blame them. There are feel good moments, but their effects are lessened by such gaps between them. The onus on an actor so young is too much, I feel, when the main focus on the film needs to be the action.
Indeed, I know the original story (and therefore this one by default) is all about how you should use a skill such as a martial art for the right reasons, and the morals and ethics come first, with the action providing the lure and feel good factor; but there is a limit to how much you can play on this. I felt the script/screenplay did dwell on these things far too much, and on the sideline romance, without mingling and mixing things enough. It slowed things down and didn't manage to make the appeal live up to the hype. I do recommend watching this film, but take it with a small warning that it may drag in parts. Impressive overall, but forewarned is forearmed - it takes its time.
12 year old Dre (Jaden Smith) is forced to move to China when his mother's job is moved from Detroit to Beijing. Straightaway, Dre makes an enemy in Cheng (Zhenwei Wang) when he starts talking to Meiying (Wenwen Han). Dre is regularly getting bullied by Cheng and has no way to defend himself. The only person he can turn to is Mr Han (Jackie Chan), the maintenance man.
Directed by Harald Zwart (The Pink Panther 2) and written by Christopher Murphey.
I remember watching the Karate Kid movies when I was younger but I can't remember much about them at all, wax on wax off and Mr Miyagi is about all that sticks in my mind. So I wanted to see the 2010 version but I didn't have massive expectations about it.
First thing to note about The Karate Kid is the excessive length, 2 hrs 20 minutes is too long for the content of the film. There was a lot of nothing, some might say the nothing was necessary for character development, I say cut it down a bit and make it more action packed. You don't get to see Jaden Smith doing any real kung fu until the championships at the end, 2 hrs waiting to see some kung fu goddamnit. I know, it was trying to say kung fu is peaceful and not about throwing punches but I would have liked more action.
When the action was happening it was pretty good, I don't know kung fu or anything so I'm not an expert but it looked good to me. I would have liked to see Jackie Chan do more fighting...I would have liked anyone to do more fighting. Seeing Jaden Smith get his butt whupped a couple of times wasn't particularly nice, I don't mind seeing adults get beat up but not cute kids.
The story is alright, you know how it is going to end pretty much from the start but it is an enjoyable film nonetheless. China provides a great setting for some of the training scenes.
Jaden Smith is the star of the film, if you didn't know already, he is the son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, who are both producers on the film. They seem to be handling Jaden's career very closely which is probably the right move given how badly the careers of many a child actor have ended. Jaden isn't exactly a brilliant talent but he's not awful either, he handles the emotional scenes quite well and his personality comes out throughout the movie. I just kept thinking how much he looks like Will Smith, he even does the same facial expressions. I think we'll have to wait a few more years to see if he is going to make it in the film industry or not. Will Smith isn't the most talented of actors yet he is arguably the biggest movie star in the world.
I love Jackie Chan. I love the crappy cheesy movies he does so I didn't know what to expect from a serious Chan. He pulled off what is quite an emotive role pretty well, especially for someone who doesn't speak English very well. The dynamic between Smith and Chan was totally believable and was at the heart of the movie. The Karate Kid isn't about the fighting, it's much more emotional and heartfelt than that.
The rest of the cast is good but is essentially there just to support the two main characters, Taraji P. Henson is just the right side of annoying to be entertaining in the role of Dre's mother.
I was surprised at how much The Karate Kid went for the emotional side of the story, I did expect them to make a 100% action film and totally dumb it down. While I would have liked it to have a bit more action in it, I respect the message and values the filmmakers are attempting to get through to the audience. Sadly it dragged a bit at times but was still an enjoyable film. I'd give it 3.5 stars, but as I can't I will be nice and round it up to 4 stars.
Jaden Smith - Dre Parker
Jackie Chan - Mr Han
Taraji P. Henson - Sherry Parker
Wenwen Han - Meiying
Rongguang Yu - Master Li
Zhenwei Wang - Cheng
Runtime: 140 mins
Also posted on ciao under the username shabbating.
Who decides what film is a classic? When you see the Mark Kermodes of this world, or just about anyone on that Newsnight Review show, talk about classics, you always get the likes of "Citizen Kane" or the Trois Couleurs trilogy banged on about. But why not kung fu films? Because the Common Joe "gets" it? Becuase the Common Joe likes it?
Who is there who hasn't at least heard of the Karate Kid? The "wax on, wax off", the student-sensei relationship, Daniel-san, Mr Miyagi? Haven't they all passed into our common consciousness and parlance in the same way snippets from Shakespeare have?
The original, I maintain, is a classic, no matter how many sniffy critics scoff at the very idea. And while a remake by definition lacks originality, this new version carries enough warmth and drama to make it largely a success.
Deciding to put a great big stirring spoon into the racial melting pot, the story begins with 12 year old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith, Will Smith's son) following his widowed mother Sherry (Taraji P. Henson) from Detroit to Beijing, where the car company she works for has transferred her. Dre is initially reluctant to learn Chinese, and feels the culture clash acutely and painfully, when the local bullies beat him up kung fu stylee for speaking to schoolgirl violinist Mei Ying (Wen Wen Han), on whom he has developed a crush.
Hiding his bruises, Dre goes to his new school only to find that his tormentors are also pupils there. His attempts at retaliation go awry and, cornered by the gang, he ends up being rescued by the shambling maintenance man from his rental apartments, Mr Han (Jackie Chan), who dazzles and thwarts his younger opponents with superior martial arts skill. Learning of the difficulties Dre has got himself into, Mr Han goes with him to the kung fu school that the gang attend, to settle the matter by discussion. The teacher is in no mood to avoid conflict, however, and the pair agree that Dre will fight out his differences with members of the kung fu school by entering the forthcoming tournament.
So far, so familiar. But what makes this remake interesting is the differences. Most obviously, this is about kung fu, and not karate. But also, we're given insights into Chinese culture (though, perhaps wisely, not its politics), the philosophical bases behind kung fu (including some hints at the concept of qi) and new takes on training by repetitive exercise. As the martial art is best conveyed on a one-to-one basis, we share with Dre all the teacher's attention, which includes a visit to a far off temple. You will only see a little martial arts action from Jackie Chan, but his acting more than makes up for that, in particular when the secrets of his own past are revealed.
Chan's understated role leaves the way clear for Jaden Smith to take the limelight, and he does so with aplomb. Whatever you may think about his dad - like he could use a good smack in the mouth - the son won't fail to melt your heart, whether as a brave little soldier or lost little boy. He has charisma beyond his years, completely steals the show and, dare I say it, is a worthy successor to Ralph Macchio. Watching him act his heart out alongside Jackie Chan makes the two hours twenty fly by.
So do we get a Crane Kick finish? Well, that would be telling. Suffice to say, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to come away from this suitably warmed, even if you're fond of the original. I'd particularly recommend this to Dads who've got a contact weekend coming up with kids they don't live with any more. Beneath the surface, there's issues regarding single parents and absent father figures that the film touches on, which may provoke some thoughtful discussion. This gets a full five stars from me, though, because as remakes go, there's sufficient homage to the original with enough novelty to make it both interesting and entertaining. As they used to say in an unrelated TV series:
The 2010 remake of The Karate Kid was not a film I was desperate to see. But my youngest daughter was already bored, just a few days into her school holidays and See Film First were offering free tickets - so I got some and went off to the preview this morning with hubby and daughter.
I had seen Jackie Chan being interviewed on the last Jonathan Ross show and he had increased my interest in the film, so I was looking forward to seeing it, but not expecting very much.
I remember watching the original Karate Kid film back in 1984 when Ralph Macchio was seen as being the Next Big Thing. It was an enjoyable bit of fluff, but hardly a great classic. I was surprised to see Ralph is still working, as I don't think I've ever seen him in anything else. He'll be 50 next year! That makes me feel old.
This year's version stars 12-year-old Jaden Smith in the lead role of Dre Parker. He is Will Smith's son and both his Dad and his Mum (Jada Pinkett Smith) are producers of this movie. This is not to suggest he got the role through those connections though, as he is very talented and his first acting role was back in 2003!
The story begins with young Dre and his mother Sherry (played by Taraji P. Henson) leaving their home in Detroit, USA to move to the People's Republic of China where Sherry's work has relocated. They move into an apartment in Beijing and Dre begins school there.
However, he has annoyed a young Chinese boy called Cheng (Zhenwei Wang) by befriending a pretty Chinese girl Meiying (Wenwen Han) who is a talented violinist. Cheng and his gang begin to bully and intimidate Dre, who learns they are a member of an elite Kung Fu team, masterminded by their ruthless leader Master Li (Rongguang Yu) who demands his team offer their enemies "no mercy".
Dre is set upon by the bullies, but saved by the maintenance man Mr. Han (played by the legendary Jackie Chan, who is now 56) who despite his job and his outward appearance is an expert in Kung Fu. He offers to teach his skills to young Dre, so he can stand up to Cheng and his gang. Mr. Han is against Master Li's violent methods of teaching martial arts, instead emphasising respect and the peace associated with Kung Fu.
This is a good moral message to get across in the film. The lesson is that you can stand up to your bullies, without resorting to cheating tactics and extreme violence. Mr. Han teaches Dre that he can become strong and powerful by focusing and practising, instead of wishing to inflict physical harm on his opponent.
This sounds like I've given away a lot of the plot, but there's plenty more, this is only the first part. It is an easy enough story to follow and it is rather predictable to adults, who will recognise the Cinderella type formula, but it doesn't detract too much and the film was surprisingly enjoyable. It is a long film at two hours twenty minutes, but it held my interest throughout and certainly didn't seem overly long, though my husband felt it dragged in parts.
All the performances were very good. Jaden Smith is excellent and seems to have an authenticity in his acting that his father seems to lack at times. He is cute and a charismatic performer and you have to admire the character's resilience. Jackie Chan was outstanding and just as good at the serious emotional bits as the action stunts he is famous for. I also felt Taraji P. Henson was very believable as Dre's mother, her warmth coming over very well.
The Chinese actors were convincing too, particularly Wenwen Han and Zhenwei Wang, who were both in their first ever film. Hopefully they will be able to get an acting career, as they definitely have potential.
The martial arts sections were filmed well, though sometimes it seemed a bit too fast to follow. It was also interesting to see Beijing and some of the beautiful sights of China, such as the Great Wall. The part of the film where Dre and Mr. Han visit the Wudang Mountains is fascinating, as all the experts are practising their martial arts and the scenery around the area is stunning.
The soundtrack was good too and enhanced the film. It is a well-balanced mix of a variety of genres, including modern pop songs such as Lady Gaga and Flo Rida alongside the gentle classical music from the violinist.
The film has many emotional parts, but it is essentially a feel-good movie with a witty and funny script. It will not be remembered forever as a classic, but it was much better than I expected. It will appeal to most children and many adults and the three of us all came out of the cinema smiling.
When Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) moves with his single mother from Detroit to China in order for them to make a fresh start he feels like a fish out of water and soon falls victim to the school bullies. Dre is befriended by an odd handyman called Mr Han ( Jackie Chan) who keeps a car in his livingroom and is a man of few word and when the bullying gets out of control Mr Han steps in and they discover that the boys were following the lead of their Kung Fu teacher who has taught them to be violent bullies. The only way to make the bullies back down is for Dre to agree to fight them in the ring and so Mr Han takes the youngster under his wing and teaches the boy some moves but can he beat the evil Cheng (Zhenwei Wang) on the big day.
I am one of the few people who has not seen the original Karate Kid movie so watched this 2010 version of the film with nothing to compare it to and found the movie was surprisingly good. As well as teaching young Dre the Kung Fu moves Mr Han also teaches him about the discipline behind the martial art and Dre learns some valuable lessons about loyalty and friendship along the way.
The setting of the film was wonderful and the filming took place in a bustling big city environment as well as going to the Forbidden City of Beijing and the Great Wall of China. The backdrop for the film was truly stunning and it is well worth seeing the film for scenes of modern Chinese life alone. There are also some amazing Kung Fu scenes not involving the main characters which are mesmerising.
Jaden Smith is an extremely talented young actor and he carried the lead well. Dre is a lovable character, young enough to be cute but at the same time was sassy and spirited and his Kung Fu was pretty amazing. True, Jaden does overact a little at times but then so does his dad and he does not have the annoying arrogance or swagger that Will Smith has. I found Mr Han a bit creepy to be honest and felt that Jackie Chan could have been used better in the film. All of the other characters were just there to support the leads and had little development, the school bullies and their evil master for example were stereotypical baddies with few redeeming features.
I did really enjoy the film but it also had a fair few flaws in it too. I will not bother to get into why a film about Kung Fu is called the Karate Kid because that would just be boring but there were several parts of the film that just did not make sense. Why would a woman take her child to a strange country where neither of them speak a single word of the language and then let the boy hang out with an oddball handyman and let this middle aged man take her child all over China? Would she not get upset at seeing her son being beaten to a pulp? Is it realistic that a child can become a Kung Fu master in a few weeks? Why did everyone in China speak such good English? I suppose you just have to suspend your sense of realism while watching the film so those little things don't get on your nerves.
The Karate Kid 2 is a really good film which is essentially a tale about the fight between good and evil using the medium of Kung Fu to tell that story. It is a film that has got wide appeal, as someone who doesn't like typical manly films with loads of action scenes I still managed to relate to the story and the 6 year old who went to the cinema with us had her eyes glued to the screen the whole way through. Sure, the story is not original and the ending is predictable but the film is still highly enjoyable.