Monday, June 14, 2010

Review: The Karate Kid

Grade: B-

When twelve year old Dre Parker’s mom gets transferred to China for work, the two are forced to leave their home in Detroit and embrace a new culture. However, when they get to China, Dre realizes that may be harder than it sounds. Dre instantly connects with and falls for fellow classmate and the feelings seem to be mutual. However, these feelings seem to have upset the class bully, Cheng. Cheng and his friends, who practice Kung Fu with a ruthless teacher, decide to make Dre’s life a living hell. When Dre discovers that his building’s maintenance man, Mr. Han, is a secret Kung Fu master. Mr. Han then decides to teach Dre that Kung Fu is more about maturity and calm than hitting your opponent, after entering him in a Kung Fu tournament so Dre can stand up to the bullies.

This movie really shouldn’t be called The Karate Kid as he is not learning Karate, he is learning Kung Fu, which is much more than a fighting style. This movie is pretty enjoyable. The story is actually pretty good and captivating. It is a bit long and they could probably cut about 20 or so minutes out of the beginning. They took too long getting the point across to the audience that Dre isn’t adjusting well to China and that he is afraid of the bullies who beat him up. He didn’t even really start talking to Mr. Han until about 40 minutes into the movie. However, once the training begins, the move really picks up and gets pretty entertaining. On top of it all, the movie is pretty inspirational at times. Mr. Han’s lessons about Kung Fu and really interesting and when you learn about his past in inspires Dre to work harder.

Jaden Smith (The Pursuit of Happiness, The Day the Earth Stood Still) plays the central role of Dre Parker. For such a young actor, Jaden is pretty decent and shows potential for future growth, looks like some of his fathers talent might be rubbing off on him. Jackie Chan (The Forbidden Kingdom, Rush Hour) plays the character based on the role of Mr. Miyagi from the original, Mr. Han. When I heard Jackie Chan was cast in this role I was completely against it, while I really enjoy Mr. Chan’s work, he is no Mr Miyagi. Well, the studio came up with a great idea, rename the character, it works for me. Jackie Chan did a fantastic job in the role of the Kung Fu master. Taraji. P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Date Night) did a wonderful job as Dre’s mom, Sherry. The rest of the cast did a really great job as well.

I actually recommend this movie to almost everyone. It is a great kids movie and if you are a fan of the original, there is a good chance you will like this remake.

Great quote: “Life knocked me down, and you showed me I have the choice to get back up again.”

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