The Karate Kid
is a movie starring
Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith, and Taraji P. Henson.
Work causes a single mother to move to China with her young son; in his new home, the boy embraces kung fu, taught to him by a master.
Daniel accompanies his mentor, Mr. Miyagi, to Miyagi's childhood home in Okinawa. Miyagi visits his dying father and confronts his old rival, while Daniel falls in love and inadvertently makes a new rival of his own.
12-year-old Dre Parker has moved to China, and finds himself like a fish out of water. He befriends a fellow classmate, Mei Ying, only to make a rival, Cheng, who starts to bully and attack Dre. Soon, Mr Han, the maintenance man of Dre's apartment, fends off Cheng and his friends when they are attacking Dre and signs Dre up to fight in the Kung Fu tournament in return for the bullies laying off of Dre. Dre realizes Mr. Han is much more than a maintenance man, when he's revealed as a master of Kung Fu and Dre soon learns that Kung Fu is about self defense and peace, instead of violence and bloodshed.Written by
The American title for this film was kept as "The Karate Kid", to maintain the connection to the earlier films it is loosely based on, even though this movie takes place in China and the martial arts used are forms of kung fu. The difference is referenced in the film when Dre's mother describes a team as practicing karate, and Dre quickly corrects her. See more »
During the dance scene, Meiying's dance moves mismatch between shots of her and shots of Dre where her reflection is seen in the glass window behind him. See more »
The original Karate Kid (and its remakes) were classic films, which is why they have stood the test of time. Today's remakes have little to do with the original inspirations behind the films. The original Karate Kid was a "coming of age movie", which had Karate as a means to set the characters in motion. The casting was brilliant, Morita was the old, unassuming teacher that imparted more than just how to block with his famous "wax on-wax off" lesson. Macchio was the perfect teen counterpart - he was every teen, not one with super human or special effects induced skills. The original focused on development of the movie characters, not the action - and it is the simple basics of Macchio's Karate that made his character work and be strong against the more highly skilled Cobra Kai team.
I can buy into the current movie's location in China. With a child as the protagonist it no longer is a coming of age film. And, while Chan is a great action actor, he is not the aged, all knowing teacher like Morita. The current movie focuses on action - to begin cultivating Smith's kid into the next action hero incarnation. This completely misses the point of a remake! Really there is no need to use the Karate Kid title!
Lastly, the shift to Chan teaching Smith Kung Fu is just annoyingly inconsistent with the movie title, although that will likely be lost on the masses. Karate is from Japan; Kung Fu is from China. Although they share roots, they are different. I think to have Smith learn "Karate" would have been an ingenious story line given the China location, contrasting the martial arts and the cultures and ultimately showing the similar underlying goals of each form. Ah, but that would mean the movie needed more than just action to make it work, something lacking in most scripts today and something the director just does not get.
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