There are some things you just don't mess with. . . . This is the case with many of the remakes Hollywood is churning out. This remake of the beloved Karate Kid might have been one of them, but in this case . . . Wow. Bravo! Great job. I loved it. My wife loved is. And my kids (age 8 and 5) loved it.
When his mother's career results in a move to China, 12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) finds that he is a stranger in a strange land. Though he knows a little karate, his fighting skills are no match for Cheng, the school bully. Dre finds a friend in Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), a maintenance man who is also a martial-arts master. Mr. Han teaches Dre all about kung fu in the hope that Dre will be able to face down Cheng and perhaps win the heart of a pretty classmate named Mei Ying.
Before I continue, let me get this out of the way. I was very impressed by both Jaden Smith (Will Smith's son) and Jackie Chan. Jaden's performance came across as genuine. As a professional teacher I can say that he nails the persona of a twelve year old kid. And Jackie Chan, we all know he can do action, but man he can do drama too!
One big change from the original. This karate kid does NOT do karate, but kung fu! A subtle, but important difference, especially for those within the martial arts world. ( For example, Karate is Japanese, but Kung Fu is Chinese.) Overall, it was a great, family-friendly movie, filled with fun actions scenes, descent character development, and clean entertainment. It is rated PG for some martial arts violence and some mild profanity.