Published Jun 10, 2010As parents search for a way to win over their children's affections in the summer months, they come to a crossroads with the recent (and unnecessary) remake of The Karate Kid, starring Jaden Smith (that's right, Will Smith's 12-year-old protégé) and Jackie Chan. Will it destroy all fond memories of the '80s classic? Most parents, in fear of any possible socially unacceptable outburst from their brood, will no doubt find themselves being dragged to the theatre, but they will not find themselves disappointed.
The story follows Dre Parker (Jaden Smith), a kid from Detroit who leaves the safety of American life to start anew with his mother (Taraji Henson) in China, presumably because of the economical impact the recession has dealt American jobs, especially in Detroit. After arriving the first day, Dre encounters kung-fu trained tween classmates determined to destroy any possibility he has of assimilating into such an exotic culture. He must learn the foundations of kung fu ― respect, peace and self-discipline ― from his building's maintenance man, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), in order to defeat the bullies.
Lessons of hard work, tolerance, multiculturalism and acceptance are embedded in every aspect of this seemingly childish film, but there's no end to the quick wit of Jackie Chan and the inherent charm of Jaden Smith. The action is impactful and professional, while the film incorporates wisdom and perspective into the meat of the story.
Smith brings unique charisma and self-discipline to his role as Dre and has pushed himself physically and mentally to do justice to this remake. His talent is impressive and he's deserving of the leading role. Although Chan has matured, and aged considerably, from his Drunken Master days, he brings grace and dignity to his role as kung fu master and teacher.
The Karate Kid will not only hopefully inspire children to learn and explore new cultures, but will also provide adults with a few much needed laughs. (Sony)