The Karate Kid (2010) sounded like a bad idea, but it did a surprisingly admirable job. For me the first warning sign was the presence of Jaden Smith. Since Will Smith was desperate to make him as big of a star as he was. He and Jada produced the remake just for him. All I can say is his performance is not as obnoxious as I thought it would be. Then again Jackie Chan does sort of keep him on the right path.
Although it is technically a remake, The Karate Kid (2010) is vastly different from the original. Both are about youths that move to a new city with their mother, meet a local girl, get beaten up by a school bully that was taught never to show mercy, and learn martial arts from a wise Asian maintenance man. That’s where the similarities end. Instead of being a teenager, Dre Parker is actually a kid. His Shifu Mr. Han is also younger. Making his fight with the bullies seem a bit wrong. Jackie Chan gives a surprisingly dramatic performance that Pat Morita would have been proud of.
Instead of “Wax on, wax off,” Mr. Han teaches Xiao Dre “Jacket on, jacket off.” Not quite as quotable. Another major change is having Dre move from Detroit all the way to Beijing, China. Their explanation for moving that far way doesn’t make much sense. But at least it gives us an opportunity to learn more about the history of kung fu. So why is the movie called The Karate Kid? The tournament is the same, if just a bit more stylized. The Karate Kid (2010) respects the original enough to tell the same story in an interesting new way.
Remake of: The Karate Kid (1984)