The Karate Kid

22 Jul

Title: The Karate Kid
Year: 2010
Director: Harald Zwart
Writer: Christopher Murphey from the story by Robert Mark Kamen
Starring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P. Henson
MPAA Rating: PG, bullying, martial arts action violence and some mild language
Runtime: 140 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 5.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%

I found this one to be a pretty solid remake of the original 1984 film, in this Karate Kid we see a kid who moves with his mom from Detroit to China only to get bullied when he’s there, and then forms an alliance with an old man who teaches him kung fu as self-defense, and it really is a good update on the beloved original, an update that has been embraced by audiences worldwide, making now over five times its budget, and I don’t know if it’s as good as the original, I can’t because of the nostalgia factor attached to that one, but it’s good enough, and that’s all that matters.

Even though I don’t want to compare this film to the original I do have to say that this one will definitely bring back memories from the older one, and while Jackie Chan is no Pat Morita he’s still pretty good as Mr. Han, the new Mr. Miyagi, and as for Jaden Smith, he is someone I did find myself liking a bit more than Ralph Macchio, so that’s an improvement. The most notable change this film made in comparison to the original was moving the setting to China, something that, I think, helped it, since it not only differentiated it from its source material in what otherwise would have been a pretty loyal adaptation, but also added a lot of cool locations that make this film look pretty damn good, too.

I like the relationship between Dre, the new karate kid’s name, and Mr. Han, and I like it how Jackie Chan shelved his usual persona that’s always so immediately smiley and available to instead show Mr. Han as someone who was initially reserved, that was great because it did wonders for the initial part of his relationship with Dre in which the kid starts breaking his shell and winning his heart until he agrees to teach him kung fu to defend himself against the brute bullies of his new school.

I’ve heard people complaining that the film is too long, and while that’s partly true, as it has a running time of nearly two and half hours, I didn’t really feel as though classifying as too long was fair, you see, to me a film is too long when during the ending you feel as though it drags along slowly and horribly and would have been better with ending twenty minutes earlier, but in The Karate Kid the ending part is the championship in which Dre gets to fight the bully, and that whole sequence of events is done incredibly well, and you don’t really care how long it is, so to me it wasn’t too long, to me it was just right, and even though this film does have some misses I think it has even more hits, and as such is a thoroughly entertaining stand-alone film, and a worthy new entry to a storied franchise, that will no doubt spawn sequels of its own.

Grade: B

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