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12-year-old Dre Parker could've been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother's latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying - and the feeling is mutual - but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre's feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng. In the land of kung fu, Dre knows only a little karate, and Cheng puts "the karate kid" on the floor with ease. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man Mr. Han, who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life. Written by
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It's truly a pleasure to be able to give this movie the lowest possible rating of one star.
The remake of the Karate Kid really does represent everything that is wrong with Hollywood today. Columbia pictures has taken a great, beloved film and recycled it for cheap profit.
The original Karate Kid film is a beloved gem for several reasons. Pat Morita, a beloved character actor and a fine man, was given the chance to be the star of a movie and he delivered beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The relationship between Morita and Ralph Macchio's Daniel was touching and perfectly done.
Part of what made the original movie work is that it was about class differences. You really believed that Daniel was a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks who was struggling to fit in at a new school. And you believed in the awkward puppy love with rich girl Elizabeth Shue. With Jaden Smith, the son of a multi-millionaire actor, you don't believe in for a millisecond. This kid has never had to struggle for anything in his life. The entire emotional premise of the film doesn't work at all.
Everything that is any good in this disgusting Jaden Smith/Jackie Chan remake is lifted out of the original film. There is nothing redeeming about it beyond that. Jaden Smith can't act, he can't emote, and you don't believe him for a second. Beyond that, he's too young and too small to play the role. You simply don't believe for a moment that he could actually beat these other kids in a tournament. It's ridiculous. The scene where Jackie Chan breaks down crying has to be one of the worst-acted, horrible dramatic moments ever put to film.
Like the remake of Willy Wonka, The new Karate Kid movie is an instance of Hollywood cannibalizing its own best work for short term profit. There were dozens of original, creative, magical new stories that were turned down so that this movie could be made. We are all the poorer for it.
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