Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Karate Kid


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.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Iron Man II


Iron Man II was pretty entertaining.I can't say it was as good as the first, but it had great action sequences and special effects. I think where it fell a little short was in the area of character arc. While in the first movie, Tony Stark went through some character change, in this one he did not. But I must say that I did like the Iron Man II villain more than the money grubbing business partner from the first. Here's a rundown:

With the world now aware that he is Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey) faces pressure from all sides to share his technology with the military. Tony is reluctant to divulge the secrets of his armored suit, fearing the knowledge will fall into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and ``Rhodey'' Rhodes (Don Cheadle) by his side, Tony must forge new alliances and confront a powerful new enemy.

Overall, it is worth watching. The role of SHIELD is increased in this movie with much more information on the development of the future Avengers group. (Don;t forget to stay for the bonus scene after the credits!) Overall, it was a good popcorn movie and hopefully a good enough bridge to the other avenger prequels. It is rated PG-13 for some language (including a "bleeped" f-word) and violent superhero combat.

Letters to Juliette


Guest reviewer: my wife

review pending