Genre: Comedy, Action & Adventure, Family
Runtime: 135 Minutes
When I heard that there was a remake coming out of one of my favourite childhood films I was quite surprised, I was expecting the film to be terrible. While it is not as good as the original, it is still a very fun film. Although it does not have the energy and performances of the original, but with the touch of modern cinema it is a delightful film. Great blend of comedy and a terrific cast of characters. Featuring Kung-Fu pro Jackie Chan and the child young Jaden Smith the son of Will Smith, the film is whimsically bright and full of modern cinema energy. Smith is no Ralph Macchio and Chan is no Pat Morita, but they were fine as a pair.
When a 12-year-old from Detroit moves to China with his mother and incurs the wrath of the class bully at his new school, he makes an unlikely ally in the form of his ageing maintenance man, a kung Fu master who teaches him the secrets to self-defence. Upon arriving at his new school, Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) develops a powerful crush on pretty classmate Mei Ying.
One thing I could not appreciate was the romance within this story. I mean he is only 12, are we supposed to care about his little fantasy. Regardless of that, it does not bring me to hate the film. The performances were great from all the actors, but the chemistry that Morita and Macchio had is certainly not and is not fully expected. That would be asking Danny DeVito to play the role of Terminator. Chan and Smith go okay together, but there was not much going on between them. However, I am impressed with young Smith’s performance as a young kid so his father has taught him well. It was a daring attempt to go and remake this and I would say it is loosely based on it too. For starters in the original Dre is called Daniel and is about 15-16 years old. Mr Miagi has become Mr Han and the original has Daniel and his mother moving to California. I think it is good there is not much similarity with them other than the story because it brings out some more fresh originality.
One scene I found very funny was the fly that we see buzzing around Mr Han. The scene refers to Mr Miagi catching the fly with a chopstick and Mr Han looks like he is going to catch the fly with the chopsticks, but suddenly hits it with a fly swatter. Another nice thing was the lesson he gave Dray, through metaphor. His training begins with his habit of never picking up his jacket, which soon becomes his karate lesson for 3 days. Just as Miagi told Daniel to paint the fences, wax the cars and wax the floors, they become karate moves, which are then used.
Director Harald Zwart’s reimagining of the 80’s film was fantastic as it comes down to raw bullying. In today’s age, we consider bullying things that happen on Facebook and through texts on phones. But here in this new place is you get beat up. The film was wholesome to China and did not feel cliché or stereotypical much so that I am happy about. The action is not as exciting as the previous film and the film is actually about 20 minutes longer than it. Some of the scenes with Chan and Smith were both funny and cool to watch.
Anyone who has seen the original film will remember the feel-good climax. Although quite predictable, you cannot resist the film’s charm. This film’s ending is not as fun, but leaves the story okay. The story says that you should stand up to bullies and that I can appreciate. I enjoyed the comedy here and it should bring you a few chuckles. One that got me was when Dre and his mother are on the plane and Dre speaks Japanese to someone next to him. The man replies “Dude, I’m from Detroit”. “The Karate Kid” is an enjoyable modern day film that brings some technological advances through camera angles and editing making it memorable, but not re-watchable much.
My Rating: 7/10