I waited a long time for the Karate Kid (2010) to come out. And honestly, I expected the worse. When I first heard that they were filming a remake of the classic I was disappointed. Most of the time remakes aren’t as good as the original.

But I’m happy to admit that this wasn’t the case here.

The highest marks I give The Karate Kid (2010) is for not trashing the original and putting it through a meat grinder.

In fact, when I left the movie theater all the little kids were playing Karate (umm, Kung Fu) in the parking lot and hitting and kicking each other.

I did the same exact thing with my friends after watching the original. So that’s very good sign that the movie is well liked.

The Good:

  • They didn’t trash the classic.
  • They kept with the plot — It’s a winner (boy moves to new town with single mom, meets girl, has a run in with martial arts trained bullies, eccentric Asian man saves his rear, the bullies’ sifu/sensei is a jerk, eccentric Asian man becomes a father figure and teaches him martial arts secrets, boy fights bullies in a kung fu/karate tournament, uses fancy kick to win…)
  • The fight scenes in the tournament were awesome. Kung fu is more acrobatic and flashy than karate.
  • In The Karate Kid Jackie Chan has a semi-dramatic role (we get to see a different side of him).
  • The first fight scene with the bullies was killer.
  • The Karate kid, Jaden Smith, is in great shape and is believable in his Kung Fu moves. Although, in the original Karate Kid, Danial-san’s awkwardness makes his character more human, don’t you think?

The Not So Good:

  • Calling it The Karate Kid but putting the story in China with Kung Fu is going to confuse even more non-martial artists that already have trouble telling them apart. It’s a personal pet-peeve of mine when people don’t get it right and this movie adds to the ignorance. (However, I heard that in Asia it’s called the Kung Fu Kid.)
  • The main bully in the movie is a little too young and small to pose a real threat to Jackie Chan. It’s just not that believable. In the original he’s 16 or 17 years old, drives a car and has an adult body. Plus, I think they were all bigger than Mr. Miagi.
  • The training scenes lacked a little something. I can’t place my finger on it. But they did take advantage of all the eye candy China has to offer: ancient temples, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and more.
  • The beginning of the movie started a little slow.

The Bad:

  • In the advertising for the Karate Kid Jaden Smith’s name (the actor who plays the Karate kid) appears before Jackie Chan’s name. I know his parents (Will Smith) are big shots, but come on.
  • Jaden, and the girl that plays his love interest, are twelve years old in the movie (they can pass for nine). And in the film they share a kiss — on the lips. Yuk! All the adults in the theater had a physical reaction like me.

Bottom line, The Karate Kid (2010) is definitely worth watching, especially if you have young ones. They will love it. I still hold the original close to my heart. Today’s kids may end up holding this version close to theirs…


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