Starring: Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Zhenwei WAng, Yu Rongguang, Wen Wen Han, Ming Xu, Ji Wang, Yi Zhao, Tess Liu, Harry Van Gorkum, Luke Carberry, and Michelle Yeoh.
Directed by: Harald Zwart.
This is funny, I wasn’t actually aware that The Karate Kid from 1984 needed a remake. Perhaps there was something bad about the original that I missed? I don’t know. But this poor excuse for a remake stars Jaden ‘my daddy pulled a few strings for me’ Smith in the titular role and Jackie Chan as his mentor. Jaden Smith plays Dre, a 12 year old boy who lives with his mother in Detroit, Michigan. In order to get them out of the United States so that it doesn’t ‘seem’ like they’re directly copying the original (but more so the second one in contradiction), the script uses “a job offer” which Dre’s mother is tempted by so she drags him with her to Beijing, China.
Dre attends an international school and meets a blonde clone of Justin Bieber who befriends him, plays basketball with him, and even encourages him to flirt with Mei Ying, a cute young Asian girl his age with an obviously tacky Asian name attached to her because the screenwriter was lazy. However, the neighborhood bully, an Asian kid named Cheung (laziness strikes screenwriting once again here, apparently this writer assumes ALL Asian people have Asian-sounding first names, heck, even Chong Li from Bloodsport is a cool and entirely Asian name for a villain) and his crew of bad kiddies aren’t too happy about this flirting business so it’s his duty to throw a few punches and kicks at Dre.
That’s all right though because Detective Lee has divorced Detective Carter and changed his name to Mr. Han, he is now doing maintenance work in Dre’s building and he knows kung fu. Yes, I’m sorry to disappoint all of you for the misleading title of the film, apparently, there’s no karate here at all, it was just a way to cash in on the original movie – are you really that surprised?
This two hour train wreck is bound to satisfy the newer generation of movie-goers who can’t stand anything that was made before 1995 because it lacks resolution, has fuzzy sound, or bad colors and fashion. They will also be pleased to know that the entire film is shot perfectly in typical shaky cam fashion in order to accompany the ADD components in their DNA because film shots with stillness in them seem to make up 90% of the death rate in recent years. You can’t even put these people in a movie theater when Alien is playing without them developing those dangerous life-threatening symptoms of boredom.
The only good thing I can say about this film is that, thankfully, Jaden Smith isn’t as annoying as he was in the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, he’s more or less close to the naturalness he presented in The Pursuit of Happyness. Don’t hold your breath, folks, because it’s not over yet. Thanks to the film’s box office, expect to see “The Karate Kid 2: Back in the Hood”.