Conclusion: 'The Karate Kid' took me by surprise, in all the right ways. While in many aspects it's a fairly traditional, big budget sports movie, it's also a story of deceptively nuanced emotional content, anchored by a breakout lead performance by Jaden Smith and a great elder role by Jackie Chan.
Excerpt: Karate Kid has surprises. It lures you in, taking your “better than that,” cocky movie-going attitude and shoving it back in your face. You assume you know everything. You can call it that the pin pong player in the park will thoroughly destroy Dre (Jaden Smith) once the game picks up. You are sure he’ll mess up any chance of being on the basketball team. Well Mister Attitude, you have some surprises coming.
Summary: I ended up with very mixed emotions about this film. It’s worth taking a look, to be sure. There are certainly aspects in which it rises above the original film, but do these epic proportions take away a little of the spirit of the material? I think they do. I love Chan, but there’s not enough of him here to call this a Jackie Chan film. During the opening credits I was a bit miffed that Smith got top billing over Chan.
Excerpt: The Movie Casting and locale aside, the biggest update in this remake of The Karate Kid is a matter of truth in advertising: No one practices karate here, it's actually kung fu in this go-around. The story basics are the same, as a young man (Jaden Smith, fairly crackling with his dad Will's talent and charisma) finds himself alone in a strange town after his mother takes a new job, this time in Beijing, China.
Excerpt: The fact of the matter is it's been 26 years since the first Karate Kid , and given how many other movies have relied on the exact same formula, a full-fledged remake is pretty fair game. By moving things to China and casting 11-year-old Jaden Smith (as opposed to the 25-year-old Ralph Macchio of the original), Sony successfully put a fresh coat of paint on the rickety old story, and despite a gargantuan running time and paper-thin characters, it's kind of nice to see...
Summary: Karate Kid mark 2010 (Smith) is suffering an almighty identity crisis. His mom’s (Henson) moved from Detroit to Beijing, his best mate’s a crazy janitor (Chan) and he’s the centre of a nostalgia-based fish-out-of-water tale which doesn’t seem to care very much about either the fish, the water or the nostalgia. Oh yeah, and they teach kung-fu in China, not karate.