The Karate Kid (2010)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good looking movie

It isn't a karate movie, characters are too young for the story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Karate Kid

Studio:  Overbrook Entertainment

Genre(s):  Martial Arts/Action/Adventure/Romance/Family

Release Date(s):  June 11, 2010

MPAA Rating:  PG


Yeah! I can do the splits!

Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) is being forced to move to Japan with his mother Sherry (Taraji P. Henson) after the death of his father.  Stuck in a different culture, Jaden makes the enemies of a group of bullies led by Cheng (Zhenwei Wang) who refuses to allow him to speak to a girl named Mei Ying (Wenwen Han).  Finding help from his maintenance man, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), Dre is now learning the art of kung fu…and must defeat Cheng in a tournament if he ever hopes to find freedom from the bullies.


I’m no Johnny…

Directed by Harald Zwart, The Karate Kid is a remake of the original 1984 version of the film.  Produced by Will Smith, the movie was seen as a vehicle for his son Jaden who had previously appeared with him in The Pursuit of Happyness and had a starring role in The Day the Earth Stood Still remake.  The movie moved the story to China (where it was shot) and lowered the age of the characters while renaming them.  The movie received mostly positive reviews and did well at the box office.


Sure we could have trained at my place, but it isn’t it cooler to train on the Great Wall?

The Karate Kid was a small film that went big and it is ironic to see a big film remake of it.  The movie sometimes feels like a straight-up remake and other times feels different.  The decision to not keep character names and locations did help have the film have its own feel.

The first problem I have with the “Karate Kid” is that the movie (even stated within the movie) doesn’t feature karate…it is kung fu.  Overseas in some places, the film is known under its shooting title of The Kung Fu Kid…I know that they wanted to capitalize on the Karate Kid brand, but I’d respect the movie a bit more it had been called The Kung Fu Kid.


Jackie Chan…versus 12 years olds!!!!

I also have a problem with the kid being much younger than Daniel in The Karate Kid.  It feels weird when Jackie Chan is beating up on a bunch of kids (or turning their attacks against them).  I realize they were skewering a younger audience, but the romance and the real villainy of the kids doesn’t work as well.

Though I’m not a fan of the fact that Will Smith is really, really pushing Jaden Smith to be the next Will Smith, he does do an ok job in the movie.  He’s much more athletic than Ralph Macchio ever was, and I believe the fighting a bit more.  I also feel Jackie Chan does what he can to make his Mr. Miyagi “Mr. Han” his own…It is interesting to see him in a much more subdued role.


You’re the best…around!!!

The movie does benefit from the moving of the story to China.  I really do like how the movie looks and feel that no matter what the scene involves, at least it looked interesting.  Of course trips to the Forbidden City (a rarity anyway), the Great Wall, and the mountains of China don’t hurt either.

The Karate Kid probably didn’t need to be remade…but I’ll admit that they did a decent job doing it.  There are some problems and I have some problems with the basic principles of the film, but for a kid or family movie, the formula still works.

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Related Links:

The Karate Kid (1984)

The Karate Kid, Part II (1986)

The Karate Kid, Part III (1989)

The Next Karate Kid (1994)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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