Director: Harald Zwart
Running time: 135 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG
UK Release date: 28th July 2010
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 19th June 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
A long long time ago I saw a film called ‘The Karate Kid’, all about a young man who is trained by a master in martial arts so he can stop living in fear of the bullies around him. During his training he learns, amongst other things, respect. This is a remake of that film and despite a lot of dollars being thrown at it and moving the action to China, it’s not as good as the original by some way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad, there is at least one good performance in there, there is some nice cinematography and the final scenes are quite exciting. Unfortunately though, I have seen it all before.
When single mother, Sherry Parker is transferred to China for her job, she takes her son, Dre with her. Now Dre finds it hard to fit in in a new country, but does his best. Unfortunately a group of bullies start to pick on him and these guys are very good at Kung Fu. Eventually Dre decides he must learn Kung Fu in order to beat them and to this end he persuades the maintenance man for their building, Mr. Han, to help him. It is agreed with the bullies’ Kung Fu master that he will be left alone to train for an upcoming tournament. Mr. Han starts training and Dre doesn’t feel it is going well until he is shown just what Kung Fu is all about. The training then progresses at a pace and the day of the tournament arrives. Has Dre learned enough to beat the bullies? Well you can probably guess I’m not going to tell you here.
As I hinted at the beginning the film is beautifully shot with all of the famous Chinese sights on full display, everything from the Great Wall to the Forbidden City. Performance wise, well I always find Jaden Smith, who plays Dre, a little too precocious and, in this case, a little too small for the role. On the other hand I thought Jackie Chan was excellent as Mr. Han. He handled the role really well even the dramatic parts. Also worthy of note were Taraji P. Henson as Sherry Parker, Wenwen Han as Meiying, Rongguang Yu as Master Li and Zhenwei Wang as Cheng.
I can’t say I disliked this version, let’s say I didn’t dislike it quite as much as I expected to. That isn’t to say it’s particularly good. For one thing it’s way too long and there are quite long periods where not a lot happens. There is a love story thrown in which I found quite laughable and didn’t really add anything to the narrative. Over all, not a great film but not a total loss either, if you’re going to see it Jackie Chan is the best thing in it (IMO). If you’re not inspired to see it then I don’t suppose you’ve really missed all that much.
My Score: 6.5/10
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1155076/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/karate_kid_2010/
Official Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/thekaratekid/