Karate Kid

poster for The Karate KidEkins, S. & Han, S. (Producer), & Zwart, H. (Director).  (2010).  The Karate Kid [Motion picture].  United States: Columbia Pictures

Review:

Twelve-year-old Dre Parker is moving.  Not across town, or to another state.  No, his mother is moving the two of them all the way to China.  Which means he not only has to deal with being the new kid at school, but he also doesn’t know the language, customs, or even how to turn the hot water on in the shower.

As is often the case in such stories, Dre also quickly runs afoul of the local bullies.  Only, these bullies are no ordinary bullies; these bullies are champions at karate. With the help of Mr. Han, an eccentric handyman, Dre find himself training for the biggest karate tournament of the year in an effort to beat his bullies and win the admiration of the cutest girl in school.

As someone who grew up with the original The Karate Kid, I have to say this is a truly awesome movie.  Needless to say, Jackie Chan as Mr. Han (counterpart to Mr. Miyagi) is both inspired and perfect.  Not only do the fight sequences show his trademark skills and humor but he also brings to the role a depth that wasn’t in the original.  Jaden Smith does seem a little young to be training quite so hard, but his age fits the earnestness of the role well and makes the actions of his peers – from the bullying to his love interest’s lack of power – much more believable and a little less camp.

Personally, the two things I loved most about the remake was that it highlighted karate as a skill that takes training and practice and set the story in a place where karate is regarded as a respected tradition and not simply a new, cool fad.  Together, these two things did a lot to mitigate the appropriation found in the original.

This is a great movie for tweens and I think it would be really fun to screen both versions at the library and see what kids think of both.  I have a feeling it would spark all kinds of interesting discussions.

Best for ages 8-14

 

Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/thekaratekid/

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