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
Kung Fu kid doesn't match up to its more humble predecessor
For a certain generation like mines, there's just no way you can get around comparison to the original which is an undoubted classic of that era. Many would like to criticise the need for a remake, but it's par the course for films nowadays across many genres, so there's no point restarting that arguement.
I won't rehash the premise of the film as it's so well known, but one things for certain: if you really want to understand what was so special about the original then maybe watching this remake will clearly show you why! Despite having the greater budget, the legendary Jackie Chan and a ready set fan base, this film fails to capture at all what was so great about the original.
With all due respect to Jackie Chan, who is an adept actor, he is possily too well known to have been able to capture the mystery of a Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita in the original didn't even know any martial arts). He does a fair job, but what made Mr Miyagi so humbling just doesn't come across here.
Granted the dialogue & script didn't help in the film for anyone, but there was also little chemistry between the key leads. The girl/boy and teacher/pupil relationship just didn't engross as in the original. Part of the problem was also that these were kids as against olders teenagers on the verge of adulthood in the original . That all played a part in the success of the script of the original.
No denying the martial arts in this film is on a different far higher level than the original, but again that's an issue. The original was a counterweight to the high flying 100mph martial arts movies of the time. The Karate Kid was about simplicity and down to earth action, not impressing with roundhouses & flying kicks. This film's directors failed to understand that.
It's a shame to have to be negative on this film, but even standalone I wasn't convinced. I struggled to empathise enough with any of the characters in this film to truly care.
Disappointing, and I maybe was just hoping that as much as it was too much to ask it to match the original, then at least in its own way it could have at least tried to pay due honour to it. I'm not convinced at all that it even successfully did that.
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