A very enjoyable movie, it was well done, it just shouldn't have been done.
If you've seen the original Karate Kid, which I'm assuming most have, the only thing you need to know about the story ahead of time is that Jaden Smith is the main character and that his mom is relocated to China instead of San Fernando, because the screenplay is almost exactly the same as the original.
Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) and his mom (Taraji P. Henson) are forced to move to China when his mom transfers from Detroit. Dre was never excited to move, but when he arrives in Beijing he takes interest in Mei (Wen Wen Han), a girl he meets at the park whom plays the violin. But Cheng (Zhenwei Wang), has also taken interest in Mei and proceeds to beat Dre up twice with his Kung Fu skills. Mei doesn't like Cheng and takes pity on Dre.
Meanwhile, Dre becomes friends with the local maintenance man, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan). Mr. Han seems to take interest in Dre's dealings and relationship with his mother. One day, Dre pulls an idiot prank on Cheng and gets beat up for it. But Mr. Han steps in and basically makes Cheng and his possy beat each other up.
Later, Dre and Han go to confront Master Li (Yu Rongguang), the trainer of Cheng. It is decided that Dre is to fight in the tournament, and Han is to train Dre in the art of Kung Fu. And just for the record, Master Li is nowhere near as cool as Sensei Kreese.
There are many reasons that I was not very fond of this movie. First and foremost, this movie is about Kung Fu. Even in the movie they stress how different Kung Fu and Karate are, and how they are in no way the same. Yet, in the end, they still called it The Karate Kid. This is disrespectful in every way.
The second reason is that the screenplay looks exactly the same as the original's. It seems like the same movie. Even though the story is good, its the same story that we all saw and loved before. But is also the first film that Christopher Murphey has done the screenplay for, so I can't criticize him too much.
The third reason is that Karate Kid did not need a remake. Like I always say, the only reason a movie should have a remake is if its outdated or awful. The original Karate Kid is old, but it is not outdated. Yes, there is a difference. For a movie to be outdated, yes, it has to be old; but also, you have to be able to make it better, and you have to be able to make major improvements. The remake did not achieve this.
Fourthly and finally, everything about The Karate Kid is mediocre. And I do mean everything. As fun as this movie is to watch, it remains an average movie all around; unfortunately, there isn't one thing amazing about it. In order for a movie to be good it has to have something that separates itself from other movies, Karate Kid simply doesn't have that quality.
The score by James Horner is washed out carrying some very similar themes to his score of Avatar, and at times it is overly dramatic with what is going on. It's not that it's a bad score, it's just not memorable. James Horner has obviously done some much better works in the past, and he has tried harder none the less. But I wouldn't have given it my best for this one either if I were him, so I don't blame him.
The story had some interesting twists on it. But in the end Mark Kamen just didn't live up to his earlier works. I'm confident that if a thirteen-year-old was given the words 'Karate Kid in China' he/she could have come up with the script for this movie. The screenplay as I said wasn't bad but it was totally unoriginal.
Cinematographer Roger Pratt did not do a bad job, but the shots he chose were chosen obviously. But there are a few shots I like, particularly, there is a shot when Dre is watching Kung Fu for the first time, and there are hundreds dressed in red, preforming in unison. Overall this is a very visually pleasing film, but it's not so much about the filming as much as it was about the location.
The averageness of this film can in part be blamed on Harald Zwart, he has directed several films (Agent Cody Banks, The Pink Panther 2 etc.) and all of them have just been ok. None of his work is bad, but none of it is great.
Jaden Smith's performance as Dre was impressive, he went through a lot of training for this part. He did well for being young, but it was not the best acting I've seen out of kid before. Jackie Chan also did well; it was a more interesting role for him than normal, but unfortunately, Mr. Han will never be as cool as Mr. Miyagi.
Overall, The Karate Kid is fun to watch, it's entertaining, and if your looking for a quality movie to sit down and watch with you're family, by all means watch it. But it is not a must see; it's an average movie, and there a million more out there just like it. It's not going to change your life or anything, but it's definitely entertaining.
This review has been by Worth5Bucks.
Any similarities to other reviews are completely coincidental.