Karate Kid without attempting to replace it. Jaden Smith is becoming a very strong actor; and who can't love good, ol' Jackie Chan?
Karate Kid is the story of Dre (Jaden Smith), a Detroit-bred 12 year-old, who moves to China and attempts to overcome his fear of being different by challenging some local karate bullies in a renowned karate tournament.
The story went a long way farther in character development and motive than did the original 1984 classic. Instead of a white kid moving into the wrong part of another white-dominated town, a young black family moves to China. If there is anything that could be called a culture clash, that is it. Not only does Dre look different, but he acts different, he talks different, and to make things more complicated, he doesn't try to fit in. The film has a perfect setup for the progression of the rest of the film.
While no one can replace Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi, Jackie Chan does a excellent job in filling his shoes as Mr. Han. If anyone is known as a karate master in our culture, it's Jackie Chan. And I think the aging Chan did very well at playing his part as an old, embittered man that's conflicted in helping young Dre while attempting to be distant.
The karate moves in this film are levels above those seen in the original and it's a lot more exciting to watch. While I hoped to see the legendary movie moments reappear in this film (catching a fly with chopsticks, "wax on" and "wax off", final crane kick) I was glad when they never showed. That allows the two films to be just as different and memorable in their own ways and both remain enjoyable to watch. The film tends to be a little longer than expected, but it still keeps you involved and interested throughout.
This was a fantastic film and it was very well done and very entertaining.
P.S. - The image in this post is copyrighted by Columbia Pictures.