Dub Cee Reviews: Karate Kid (2010)

 

Director: Harald Zwart

Writer(s): Christopher Murphey (screenplay), Robert Mark Kamen (story)

When I heard they were making this movie I was skeptical to say the least. Then Jackie Chan as Mr. Miygai? WHAT!? Will Smith’s son as Daniel…no. Then I learned they had changed the characters to Mr. Han and Dre and I was suddenly interested.

Dre (Jaden Smith) and his mother (Taraji P. Henson) move from inner city Detroit to Beijing as part of his mother’s job. Dre befriend another American child and catches the eye of a local girl, who of course has the affections of the local bully. The kid playing Cheng, the bully, has some sadistic looking eyes. I mean one look and you know this kid is thoroughly brainwashed by his master. Even at my age and statue I would be unnerved just a little looking into this kids eyes. Dre proceeds to try and defend himself and is thoroughly defeated. Its this butt kicking that makes his decision to douse about five of his enemies with dirty water later make no sense. But this is how we get the lone Jackie Chan fight.

Chan plays Mr. Han, a janitor in the building where Dre and his mother now live and he has seen the problem between the two. He saves Dre from an ass kicking by fighting off the five bullies. I actually liked this fight because initially Han is having no trouble but his age starts to gain on him and he is actually relieved when Cheng calls off the attack. Dre convinces Han to go to the Dojo and talk to the man in charge of the bullies to try to get them to back off. Instead, Dre ends up in a tournament which is just around the corner. Its when Dre learns about the situation that you can see that Jayden has been watching his father’s comedies as his line delivery is literally identical. Anyways, if you have seen the Pat Morita movie then you know how the tournament ends….sans lame jump kick.

I was very surprised by Jayden Smith. He is still rough around the edges but the kid has the same natural charisma his father does and he uses it well. If Smith surprised me, then Chan flat out stunned me. The dramatic acting chops he shows during the scene where we learn of his the death of his family was shocking. The man can flat out act. I had not seen anything like this from Chan before. Perhaps its out there but as I said, I have not seen it.

The mother character is almost annoying and I found myself wishing she had a much smaller role. The “girlfriend” was fine she was solid. Like I said before the kid playing Dre’s rival was a scary looking MoFo. The next Bolo Yeung anyone?

I really appreciated some of the nods to the original movie, even though this movie was actually all about Kung Fu and not Karate. The best nod was without doubt catching the fly with chopsticks, I almost spit my Mountain Dew from laughing. Overall, it is probably a better movie than the original but it has no chance of ever reaching its iconic status.

Grade: B

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