The Karate Kid

June 11th, 2010

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The Karate Kid

Still of Jaden Smith and Wenwen Han in The Karate KidStill of Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith in The Karate KidWill Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at event of The Karate KidStill of Jaden Smith and Wenwen Han in The Karate KidStill of Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith in The Karate KidStill of Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith in The Karate Kid

Work causes a single mother to move to China with her young son; in his new home, the boy embraces kung fu, taught to him by a master.

Release Year: 2010

Rating: 6.2/10 (49,366 voted)

Critic's Score: 61/100

Director: Harald Zwart

Stars: Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith, Taraji P. Henson

12-year-old Dre Parker could've been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother's latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying - and the feeling is mutual - but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre's feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng. In the land of kung fu, Dre knows only a little karate, and Cheng puts "the karate kid" on the floor with ease. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man Mr. Han, who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life.

Writers: Christopher Murphey, Robert Mark Kamen

Jaden Smith - Dre Parker
Jackie Chan - Mr. Han
Taraji P. Henson - Sherry Parker
Wenwen Han - Meiying
Rongguang Yu - Master Li
Zhensu Wu - Meiying's Dad
Zhiheng Wang - Meiying's Mom
Zhenwei Wang - Cheng
Jared Minns - Dre's Detroit Friend
Shijia Lü - Liang
Yi Zhao - Zhuang
Bo Zhang - Song
Luke Carberry - Harry
Cameron Hillman - Mark
Ghye Samuel Brown - Oz

Taglines: A Challenge He Never Imagined. A Teacher He Never Expected.


Official Website: Official Facebook | Official Twitter |

Release Date: 11 June 2010

Filming Locations: Beijing, China

Opening Weekend: $55,665,805 (USA) (13 June 2010) (3663 Screens)

Gross: $176,591,618 (USA) (19 September 2010)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

After Dre and Mr. Han climb the mountain, when they enter the temple, we see people in white clothes moving slowly and methodically, as if dancing. The martial art they are practicing is Tai Chi Chuan (literal translation "Supreme Ultimate Fist").

Incorrectly regarded as goofs: The plane shown taking off to take the Parkers to China is different from the one shown landing in China. The planes shown have different registration numbers which are seen on the fuselages (specifically B-2460 and B-2443). However there is no explicit statement that the plane we are looking at is "their" plane, just that it's an Air China plane taking off / landing.

Dre Parker: How do you say 'water' in Chinese?

User Review

This is how to do a remake

Rating: 8/10

This movie, more so than any film this year, has had the most "noise" generated. Mostly from people ignorant of the film and just exactly how good or bad it is. The discussion has been centered on why call it "The Karate Kid" if he is learning Kung Fu. It is easy; the name is recognition and "Kung Fu Kid" sounds like a ripoff, not a remake and this is a remake and they are not hiding the fact. Enough said, explanation done, go back to your bowl of cereal.

This film takes what was done in the original film and has nicely upgraded across the board. First, we have more of a threat from the kid doing the bullying this time around rather than a caricature. The mother/son dynamic is stronger and given much more screen time. The romance is more playful and innocent, with the friendship aspect ultimately being the plot focus. The student/teacher dynamic has an even stronger father/son underlying tone and finally, the action is much much improved upon.

All of the above is due to excellent performances across the board. Jaden Smith shows to be a more than capable actor in the making and with no doubt observation of Chan, who we FINALLY get to see in a dramatic role rather than action/comedy role. Smith and Chan have a fun chemistry that helps make the film enjoyable.

I was afraid through the ads that Smith's abilities would be over the top great, but through an excellent training montage and philosophical lessons, we buy that this kid is as good as he is in the tournament.

A standout moment for me was the final bonding scene between Chan and Smith. It is during a moment reminiscent of the original film's scene where Daniel finds out about Mr. Miagi's family. Here, we have a similar scene, but it is what happens after it that establishes their relationship and seals the audiences relationship to these two characters. Excellent excellent scene.

One other standout moment is the climax where they do a great job of ending the movie on a pitch perfect note. I had heard of audiences literally standing up and cheering, but I figured that was embellished. That is until the very same thing happened at the showing I caught this afternoon. You literally do want to stand up and cheer. They also take the moment a step further than the original did and provided an close to the lesson that Jackie's Mr Han was teaching Smith's Dre. It became a full circle lesson and really helped the movie have an even more satisfying end.

The extended scenes of life in China really help to ground this film in the philosophical realm, even more so than the original. There is a richness and texture to everything that takes place against the backdrop of China. It has an even more "fish out of water" feel that lends to the believability and desperation of Smith's character. We also have a lot more character building time spent in this film that gives it about 13 more minutes run time than the original, but those extra moments really pay off in a big way. As I mentioned previously, we get more of Dre and his mom. They don't just show up and then she gets thrown into a few scenes like in the original. She is an important part of Dre's life and it is shown.

The one thing I noticed the most about this film was the amount of families that attended it. I think it is the first film of the year where adults and kids can go and enjoy a film together and both come out with the same emotions and lessons learned. That would be a reflection of the film itself as it shows Mr Han learning from his student, something that gives the film a welcome twist when compared to the original.

Those that have pre-judged this film or gotten caught up in the name game really need to see the film before they make any judgments. This film is a VERY welcome surprise and more than holds it own against the original. It stays loyal to the lessons and relationships of the original film and brings them forward 25 years later.

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