Thursday, June 10, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: The Karate Kid

Fun, exciting, and beautiful to watch

Tonight my son and I went to an advance screening of "The Karate Kid" at the Birmingham Palladium. I received media passes to attend this event.

I vaguely remember the first Karate Kid movie, so I did not go into this remake with comparisons to the original film. I was just hoping for an enjoyable movie experience - and that is what I got.

The Karate kid in this movie is Jaden Smith, the son of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Jaden plays the character Dre, a kid who is enjoying his life in Detroit until his widowed mother Sherry (played by Taraji P. Henson) moves the family to China due to a job transfer. Scenes of Detroit only make cameo appearances at the beginning of the movie as Dre and Sherry leave all their family and friends at their old Detroit apartment and drive to Detroit Metro Airport.

Sherry dreams of a grand, new life in China for herself and Dre. But day one, Dre makes some very violent enemies from a group of boys that are masters at Kung Fu. In short, these boys beat the snot out of Dre and take away all his self-confidence and Detroit swagger. Enter Mr. Hun (played by Jackie Chan), the apartment building handy man, who turns out to be a Kung Fu master himself. Mr. Hun agrees to train Dre for a Kung Fu tournament where Dre will have to face his fears and fight these bullies to regain his life.

I really loved a lot of the aspects of this movie. The story borrows enough from the first movie to be familiar, but updates it to be more current. Dre is a typical kid with a little too much attitude and swagger for his own good. He learns from his journey that respect, honor, hard work, and discipline are very important. He also learns that facing his fear is the only way he is going to be able to gain control of his life.

Besides the good storyline, the visual beauty in this film is stunning. The movie is filmed in some of the most beautiful places in China including the Birds Nest, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall. Even simple scenes in the movie are visually eye-catching.

I love Jackie Chan and he was very convincing as a troubled man who finds redemption by helping Dre learn Kung Fu. Also Jackie gets to do some of his trick fighting in this movie which was funny and very enjoyable to watch. Jaden Smith is a fine actor and overall he shows acting skills way beyond his years. But at times I think his over the top comical jestering was too much an imitation of his father Will Smith's Fresh Prince antics.

Some of my pains with the movie are some of the most exciting parts - the fight scenes. As a mother, it was hard at times to watch a 12 year old child get beat up by bullies, but the kids in the theater (including my son) had no issues with it. The movie is also long - almost 2 1/2 hours, but it did not feel long to me and my son said it could have been longer as long as there were more fight scenes.

My son declared the movie was "awesome" and he will be going back to see it with his Karate school. I totally agree that this movie was fun, exciting, and beautiful to watch - definitely worth the money.

"The Karate Kid" opens in theaters Friday, June 11, 2010.

Click here to play The Karate Kid 5 Virtures Game

Click here to play other Karate Kid Movie Games

Click here to play Throw-back Pinball from the Original Karate Kid Movie


  1. @freeismylife Our family also had the opportunity to attend the screening of Karate Kid. Your review was right on the money!

    (via Twitter)

  2. @freeismylife I saw it too! I loved it!!! (via twitter)