Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Film Review | The Karate Kid

Anyone that has ever watched the original Karate Kid series might have been a little wary of a millennium remake. Not only is the iconic Mr. Miyagi now deceased, it seems that there is not much that could be done by Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith for The Karate Kid. Luckily for you, readers, I bring good news about a remake—amazing! Hit the jump for the full review.

Grade: B-

Image via a quick internet search

You are quickly introduced to Dre Parker (Smith) and given very important information: Dre is an only child; he lives with his mother (his father passed away); and you learn that he and his mother are moving to China. However, the move is apparently tough for Dre who quickly becomes the target of some Chinese boys with some eerily good kung fu skills. The maintenance man of his apartment building, Mr. Han (Chan) saves Dre from the Chinese bullies and reluctantly ends up teaching him kung fu for an upcoming tournament.

The story is familiar. A nobody is taught some skills and prevails in the end. However, so many parts of the story were left unfinished. For example, you know that Dre's father passed away, but you are never told how and you also never discover what it meant to him or his mother. There is also the issue of the jacket. Dre's mother apparently has an issue with him dropping his jacket on the floor, but is it just due to cleanliness? However, by far, the biggest untold story in the movie is the tension between Mr. Han and the coach of the Fighting Dragons. You quickly understand that there is something there, but you never really learn what it is. That could have merited exploration.

In terms of acting, Jaden Smith did a great job being Dre Parker. As usual, Jackie Chan's natural acting skills shine forth through his portrayal of Mr. Han. For a kid's movie, The Karate Kid holds several great morals. Make peace with your enemies. Do not waste energy and materials. The music held a nice fusion between Chinese and American. It was wonderful to be given a glimpse into Chinese culture and the differences between it and America's culture. Visually, there are several treats for the eyes. From the Chinese landscapes to the various martial arts positions, there are many things to look at that will surprise you (like Jackie Chan holding fire in his hands).

I can't give this review without saying that children willingly breaking an opponent's leg during a fight is crazy. The coach of the Fighting Dragons was creating a dangerous little group of kids and I am quite shocked by that. Yet the film was entertaining and a decent remake of a really cheesy classic. If you miss the film in theaters though, it won't be the end of the world. You might decide to save the money for a different upcoming movie and just wait for this title to come out for rent (or onDemand).

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