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Movie Review: The Karate Kid (2010)
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The Rub   |  

The Karate Kid 2010The Karate Kid (2010)
Directed by Harald Zwart
Starring Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P. Henson
Rated PG
Release date: June 11, 2010

The number one stupid complaint people give in the midst of this sequel/remake craze, besides the fact that they shouldn’t do them, is that too many movies from our childhood are being ruined. I never understood that logic. You like the movies you like, for whatever reason it may be. No matter how bad it is, nothing that comes after it is enough to take away whatever it was that made you like it in the first place. The franchise may be tainted, but the movies within that canon that you loved aren’t impacted. For example, if this Ghostbusters 3 movie ever gets off the ground and sucks, the first one will still be a classic.

I’ve reexamined a lot of my favorite movies from my youth lately and realized that a lot of them really aren’t that good. I liked them at the time and that has carried over to me still liking them, but usually for nostalgic reasons. I am unapologetic about it, but truth be told, they are what they are. That said, comparing a current remake to one we hold dear from back in the day doesn’t usually have a fighting chance for that very reason.

Then there’s the new The Karate Kid.

We internet types possess that sense of entitlement where we can complain up one side and down the other about everything from script to screen, but when it comes time to watch the movie, we have to judge it based on a finished product. And I’ll be damned if I didn’t like it more than I ever thought possible despite every unfair inclination to the contrary.

The original story is all but unchanged. Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) and his mother (Taraji P. Henson) relocate to China because of her job and Dre has difficulty adjusting to his new surroundings. He finds a girl that likes him, a bully that doesn’t, and spends a good deal of time getting his ass handed to him every time he steps out of his house. He finally turns to Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), who reluctantly befriends him and teaches him how to defend himself. And so goes the quest for respect.

Look, The Karate Kid is not perfect. It paid homage without copying every last detail and there were some nice nods to the source without being too cute, but it is about a half hour too long, it’s brimming with cheesy sentiment about every 15 minutes, and technically the movie isn’t even about karate; it’s kung fu. You know, technically. But it works for the same reason the original did. They are both as predictable as the day is long and the backbone of just about every 80s movie you love is about rooting for the underdog, but these movies are about the relationships between the student and the teacher. The fighting was pretty cool, but Daniel and Mr. Miyagi’s friendship was the foundation for the original movie. Same goes here. Mr. Han and Dre are the heart of the new movie.

It was great to see Jackie Chan actually acting rather than letting his usual over the top repertoire of unfunny humor and martial arts carry him. His performance won’t ever end up being as iconic as Pat Morita’s Mr. Miyagi, but he downplayed it enough, and with enough subtly, to make sure you didn’t hate him for trying. The jury is still out on whether or not Jaden Smith’s career will end up more like Ralph Macchio or his famous father, Will Smith. For now, I vote for the latter because the kid’s got some chops.

So you are saying after all that complaining about the cast and the trailers, when you actually see the movie it turns out that we internet snobs don’t always know what we are talking about? I don’t know if I would go that far, but it is nice to be surprised sometimes, isn’t it?

18 Comments »

  1. I saw this clunker online for free, snore.

    Comment by korollocke — June 16, 2010 @ 3:29 am

  2. I just can’t get over the fact that they called it Karate Kid, when they’re using Kung Fu in the movie.I should probably see it first just to veryfy that (I definately should) I dunno, maybe people shouldn’t get so picky about these things, but I think that’s quite a biggy. People still would have made the connection with Karate Kid if they’d called it Kung Fu Kid. For me it’s un-forgivable!
    GX

    Comment by Gordon Emanuel — June 16, 2010 @ 10:03 am

  3. Excellent review.

    It was better than I thought it would be.
    IT is too long, but Jackie Chan was good.
    It’s a good film, not perfect.
    Still, I enjoyed it.

    Comment by Jerry — June 16, 2010 @ 10:12 am

  4. I liked it enough. Cheese fest, rather than snooze fest

    Comment by Kimmy — June 16, 2010 @ 11:27 am

  5. Got off early yesterday, had a chance to see it without a crowd. I’m 45, so yes I love the Karate Kid of my day. My family and I just realized that out of our three kids,our youngest (Ralph 16) had not yet seen the original. Thank goodness HBO has been playing it all weekend. So with my teenager, I go a chance to watch it again before seeing the remake. I must say I still got choked up at the end of the original. Now the remake, I was surprise at the length of the movie, but it was a very refreshing movie. I totally enjoyed the movie. I learned the different between Karate and Kung Fu. What people should understand, that Mr. Miyagi knew Karate so that’s what he taught Danny Son and Mr Han knew Kung Fu, so he taught Sri Dre Kung Fu. Our movie was for us during our youth, and this movie is for the current youth. So Gordon it’s not that it’s an unforgiveable crime…..it’s that you are just to anal. If this upset you, well I know you cannot get over that ice cream is not really “ice cream”.

    Comment by Kelly — June 16, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

  6. See, I’m probably the only person in the world who enjoyed The Next Karate Kid (you know, the one with Hilary Swank). So of course I’m prepared to give this one a go.

    Comment by MaddyKitty — June 16, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

  7. I like Jacky Chan. Other tan that you know that will smith if
    financing this movie. His son is a spoiled brat who already
    ruined the movie “the earth stood still” They ruined a perfectly good movie. Smiths son says a couple of things to Kania reeves and he decided not to destroy earth. Wow!!!!
    I bet Jacky Chan has to kiss his ass while on the set.
    And I guess Mrs Smith is busy saving the word on a unbelievable
    tv show “Hawthorn” She saves everyone in the e-r and everyone a fuck up except her. You know the angry black woman thing. All of the smiths are narcissists.

    Comment by jackyjesse — June 16, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

  8. i must admit i am a fan of the smiths but i kind of agree with jackyjesse the smiths are becoming narcissists, all except for the oldest son trey

    Comment by cynthia — June 16, 2010 @ 6:32 pm

  9. WTF!! Come On People I Know We Must Give The Film A chance but we are talking about THE KARATE KID!!! Where’s The COBRA KAI?????
    there’s no Way To Replace Johnny Or The Famouse Holloween Fight Scene! I dont See The Old KARATE KID as Being As Cheesy a sum and i sure wont stand for the weak ass punch lines in this new remake!
    Will Smith Gets Two Thumbs Down From Me!!
    It Would Have Been Better If They Kept The Same Story Line.
    You know kid From New Jersey California oh and Not African American!! And Jackie Chan Is Great…In Rush Hour!!

    Comment by CasualCarmelo86 — June 16, 2010 @ 7:06 pm

  10. It’s funny how attached we are to something because of setimental value, but to diss a film because of a certain person involment is not giving enough credits to what is a fine remake. It’s not perfect and the humour of the teacher is gone but Jackie Chan pulled it off worthy of his dramatic side. Jaden Smith is fine and if he did do that final kick without stunt double or being hoisted on a wire, the kid has shown his future ability to be a great action star on his own term.

    Comment by Mangolite — June 16, 2010 @ 11:56 pm

  11. i like that movie a lot.dat kid is fantastic so is jackie….
    n for those who didnt like it can kiss my ass..

    Comment by sunny — June 17, 2010 @ 7:14 am

  12. Good Lord.
    It’s a fricking movie. Made to be enjoyed for a few hours of escape.
    End of Story.
    I thought the movie was fun, charming and I liked the relationship between teacher and student and the message of respect. The scenery of China was very cool.
    All in all, a sweet little family flick.
    All you “experts” can just relax and get a grip, for god’s sakes!

    Comment by SHIRLEY — June 18, 2010 @ 10:36 am

  13. Me and my Kids LOVED the Movie!! Can’t please everyone.

    Comment by Natairie — June 19, 2010 @ 9:45 pm

  14. It was a good movie..what the hell was them black having too do with it??? OMG !!! get a damn life

    Comment by kim — July 10, 2010 @ 1:19 am

  15. I will not see this movie for many reasons. There is only one Karate Kid for me, Raulph. I don’t like Jayden Smith – I don’t think he can act. Not only that but he is a scientolgist which makes him not very bright. I like Jackie Chan but I don’t know why he would take on something like this.

    I don’t think this movie is “ruining” anything, I just think it is a pathetic, over reaching attempt for Will Smith to get his pampered spoiled brat famous. Maybe it will work. I don’t really care, I just know that I will never see this movie because it holds absolutely no interest for me.

    Comment by Teresa — July 16, 2010 @ 10:31 am

  16. well we all know what ASSuming does, im a huge fan of the Smith’s and in multiple interviews they state that they’re Christians. The family has membership to the church Will grew up in…but even to assume a TWELVE yr old isn’t smart because of his or her creed isn’t very bright in itself… For a movie that hold no interest for you, why even take the time to read a blog about it?! why spread hate?! go read blogs and write comments for all the movies that DO interest you. ohhh one last thing – Jaden may be pampered (who wouldnt be with multi-millions?) but to call him a brat? no one has the right to call him anything unless they know him personally… however he acts in interviews or in front of cameras is for Entertainment only. Obviously something about him caught ur attention enough to make u dislike him.. oh wait thats called HaTiN!!

    Comment by lovejameshorner — July 30, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

  17. The kid has talent in his blood; his acting is just fine for a kid his age and experience. Lot of people can’t see anything but his skin color. i think this was the best Karate Kid movie ever! Haters suck.

    Comment by Dawn — September 12, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

  18. Saw one scene where the `kid` walks into a violin practice session..unanounced. The kis shouts out or sings a note and then leaves when the teacher arrives at the piano. Attitudes cannot be changed overnight, or in the time it takes to become a Kung Fu or Karate master. Furthermore it does not seem like a good idea to fight the locals, especially Chinese locals. Lastly the opinion of Chinese towards African Americans is extreemely negative. Preparation is not taught here. Real preparation.

    Comment by matt — July 4, 2011 @ 10:54 am

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