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The Karate Kid (2010) Movie Review

June 11, 2010

Life is not always easy.  For Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) things seem to take a turn for the worse when he suddenly moves to China.  Dre’s mom works at an automobile manufacturing plant and is forced to move as part of her job.  The changes Dre faces going from Detroit to China are drastic.  He has a hard time fitting in, and is picked on by another boy daily.  One day, a man named Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) comes to Dre’s rescue.  After some discussion, Mr. Han agrees to train Dre and teach him how to defend himself using Kung-Fu.  The only possible reason the movie is called “The Karate Kid” instead of “The Kung-Fu Kid” is to market on the recognition of the original movie.  However, most of the fighting in the movie involves the use of Kung-Fu, not Karate.

Jaden Smith gives a fantastic performance in his biggest role yet.  He manages to inspire, train hard, and show varied emotions.  Jackie Chan is also fantastic in a long-overdue serious role with all the children’s comedies he has been in lately.  James Horner’s score fits the movie perfectly, mostly enhancing the emotional scenes and occasionally driving home the excitement of the action.  The music is beautiful but lacks a recognizable theme that sticks with you after the film.  There are a number of pop songs used in the film, ranging from Lady Gaga to R&B plus AC/DC and Hip-Hop.  The songs are used sparingly and often have good results, even the ones I am not a fan of.

“The Karate Kid” has a lot of what you would expect, including the training montages that are common in this type of movie.  It also infuses itself with heart from beginning to end.  Even in the opening scene, I empathized with Dre as he fought with the emotions he felt when moving to a foreign country.  At other points in the movie, I cried when a major character faces a troubling past and again because of the beauty of romance.  The movie, though a remake, displays heart, purpose, and message.  The trials the characters face are inspirational and beautiful.  If you were going to ignore this as another pointless remake, give it a chance and you will find a worthwhile experience that will move you deeply and the best movie of the year so far.

5/5

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From → Action, Drama

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