Like I said yesterday, I was lucky enough to see three movies this week: The A-Team, Toy Story 3, and The Karate Kid–two of which were free!
I recently watched the original Karate Kid, with all the camp and 80’s fun. This remake could really be seen as another installment, partially because it’s been transplanted to China rather than California, and it’s kung fu instead of karate. There are certainly familiarities in the overall plot, and some scenes are updated but similar in their content. They’ve changed the “wax on, wax off” scene to “jacket on, jacket off,” and it works very well–almost better than “wax on.”
Dre (Jaden Smith) and his mother move to China from Detroit after she is transferred there. She’s excited because it means a fresh start in a new place, but Dre obviously is less than enthused about the situation. Soon, he is attacked by a group of boys who don’t want him associating with them or anyone else, particularly Meiying, the girl he has a crush on.
After being beaten up on multiple occasions and feeling like he has no one to whom he can turn, Dre is cornered by the boys and is saved by Mr. Han, the building’s maintenance man (Jackie Chan). Dre convinces Mr. Han to teach him kung fu, and a father-son relationship is born. It’s tumultuous at times, but they both find something they need. It’s a tender film, with some great action and impressive training scenes. It puts me to shame that a 12-year-old boy can most likely kick my butt all across China.
Jaden Smith is most certainly his father’s son. He has some great moments, both comedic and dramatic, and some of his line deliveries are timed perfectly and to great effect. I hope to see some more from him in the future.
This is Jackie Chan’s best performance. I’ve watched him as I’ve grown up, and I’ve always liked him, but he’s been a bit of a caricature at times. He was emotional, tender, funny, and gave a memorable performance.
I really enjoyed this movie, and I think it will be seen as a classic someday.