Well I don't know about most of you but I grew up watching the original Karate Kid. It came out right after I was born, but we watched it constantly on VHS growing up. "Wax on, Wax off" could be heard quoted constantly at family reunions and anyone who had the name Daniel was always referred to as Daniel-son. Mr. Miyagi is forever an icon. (Did you know that Pat Morita was the first and only Asian American to be nominated for an acting Oscar?) Therefore when I heard that there was going to be a remake of this classic movie, I was thinking "Seriously????" Even though Jackie Chan was going to be in it (and it was probably between him, Jet Li, or Chow Yun Fat for the studios to pick from), I didn't really have any desire at first to see the movie. Why mess with perfection?
Then I was dragged along to the theater with my sister and her boyfriend. They were willing to pay for my ticket so I figured "Well, if I don't have to pay, then if it's bad I can't complain right?" OMG I'm so glad I ended up going. This movie ended up being FAB. I'm just going to say while there are references to the original movie, it is a different movie in it's own right. The movie is actually about kung fu as opposed to karate but I suppose they wanted to use it to keep the tie-ins.
Jaden Smith is OUTSTANDING. He is so adorable. And a really good actor to boot. His character was nothing like I was expecting. I thought he'd be really annoying and thinking he was better than everyone in his new surroundings. I thought he might be cocky as he shows off American culture vs. Chinese culture. I was totally wrong. He's just so gosh darn adorable that I could not understand why in the world anyone wouldn't like him. But those bullies were just horrible! I felt so bad for him throughout the movie. Smith's acting was just wonderful though. So full of passion and you could tell he really got into his role. BTW I don't know how many 10 year olds have 6 packs!
I loved that it was set in China. It gave a wonderful setting with a different culture and was very respectful of the country. It was fascinating to see the country from an outsider's point of view but not in a harsh light. Jackie Chan's character made me cry! The scene where he explains to Dre about why he acts the way he does had both me and my sister sobbing. While there's no way he can replace Mr. Miyagi, his character is wonderful and the scene where he confronts the bullies is great to watch. I also loved the scene where we first meet him and he catches the fly. It's a direct reference to the original movie but with a humorous twist that the theater audience got immediately.
Speaking of bullies, this movie is full of them. While it's horrible to watch it on screen, it's even more horrible that this happens in real life all the time to kids. I'm sure there have probably been hundreds if not thousand of kids that could relate to what happened to Dre. The action sequences in this movie are not horribly violent but some scenes are painful to watch. Be prepared for your kids to beg you to sign them up for martial arts classes.
If there is any qualm I had with the movie, it was with Dre's mom. She's a good mom but she seemed a bit clueless at times. Taraji P. Henson is an Oscar nominated actress but I didn't feel as if her talents were used to the fullest in this movie. Also it's not really explained WHY she has to go to China. Other than that, I really really enjoyed watching this movie. So far this has been the only movie my entire family has gone to see in theaters this year. And my entire family loved it. My other sister took my parents who kept raving about it. My sister who went with me was cheering along with me while watching.
This movie totally blew me away and I think it is one of the best family movies of 2010. Jaden Smith has a VERY bright future ahead of him. He is a very talented actor and I hope he continues to choose movies that will showcase his acting talents, if he decides to follow his parents in their chosen careers. I hope that fame doesn't get to his head and that he remains down to earth and humble. Therefore, if you haven't already seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It's a great family movie and great for those who enjoyed the original. There is some kung fu violence but nothing overly graphic. Oh and for all you Justin Bieber fans...stick around at the end of the movie during the credits and you can hear his crooning.