The Karate Kid [Blu-Ray] Harold Zwart

The Karate Kid [Blu-Ray] Harold Zwart
Making literal the figurative notion of standing up and fighting when life knocks you down, this vain example of nepotistic Hollywood is a lot better than it has any business being, taking the source '80s Karate Kid movie and transporting it to China, where additional political and socio-cultural context invigorates a stale story. Without providing a rationale or a hint of the whereabouts of a missing father figure, the film opens with Dre (Jaden Smith) and his mother Sherry (Taraji P. Henson) moving to Beijing, where Dre, unsurprisingly, struggles to fit in. Bullied by kids for befriending outcast Meiying (Wenwen Han), he hits up misanthropic maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) for Kung-Fu lessons so that he can beat the bullies in a championship-fighting tournament. With happy accidents on the periphery of every scene, such as the decision to dress fighters that don't play fair in Communist red, there's at least some minor amusement amongst the tedium of training montages and borderline pornographic location fetish. Filming at Olympic Park, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, a good chunk of the film is dedicated specifically to expansive cinematography. Amidst this is essentially a verse-chorus-verse approach to filmmaking, wherein a training sequence leads to a teary scene of character development, which then leads to a date montage. It's easy enough on the eyes, but aside from the aforementioned quiet political subversion, The Karate Kid is like watching a two-hour car commercial. Included with the DVD and Blu-Ray are a standard "Making of" and a Justin Bieber music video (which I couldn't bring myself to watch), along with a fun little "Chinese Lesson" interactive introduction to the language. Exclusively on Blu-Ray are extensive production diaries where we learn about the training required for the film, along with an interactive location map that discusses the relevance of the many Beijing locales. An alternate ending is also included, where Jackie Chan fights the unscrupulous evil coach, turning the uplifting after tournament moment of glory into a bad cartoon. It's easy to see why this was cut from the film. (Sony)