A remake essentially, of the of the 1984 classic that starred Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita film.
American kid, Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) moves to China with his mom, where he is confused by the language and the difference in culture. He soon becomes bullied by local kids, which forces Parker to train to protect himself. He finds a teacher in Mr.Han (Jackie Chan), who trains him not to fight, but to protect himself. Han also teaches the kid the meaning of Kung Fu and how it is more than fighting.
This version does what the original Karate Kid did so well, it gives us likeable lead actors, a comfortable plotline and an uplifting message of hope. But this film hits us with a more powerful emotional punch. Chan gives a very impressive performance as a quiet man with a lot of past turmoil. This is definitely Chan’s best performance in a US film to this point. Jaden Smith in the title role shows us like he did in the amazing “Pursuit Of Happiness” that he is a gifted actor and more so in this, he shows he could prove to have the flexibility of his dad Will. And considering his dad is a powerful movie star who produced this film, it seems his career is in great hands.
The movie also shows us the beauty of China. This aspect of the film gives it a fresh atmosphere, one that most movies don’t capitalise. Theres no feeling of a stereotypical CGI China being created here. The fight sequences are also solidly delivered with maybe a tad too much wire work being used. I found myself only disliking the film when it copied scenes exactly from the original film, which takes you away from what feels like a fresh if slightly familiar experience. This Karate Kid makes enough changes from the original and enough improvements aswell, to make it a truly must see film.
RATING: 4.5 / 5