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Title: The Karate Kid
Starring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P. Henson
Directed By: Harald Zwart
Written By: Christopher Murphey, Robert Mark Kamen
Studio: Sony Pictures
Rated: PG
Runtime: 2 hr 6 min
Release Date: 10/5/2010


Synopsis: (5 out of 5)
Video: (5 out of 5)
Audio: (5 out of 5)
Extras: (4 out of 5)
Overall: (5 out of 5)




Synopsis: :5stars:
"We moved to China, that's what's wrong!!"

Dre (Smith) and his mother Sherry (Henson) are packing up and moving to China as Sherry has been transferred there from Detroit. Like any other 12-year old, moving is never easy; new town, new school, new friends, and so on. However, in Dre's case it's not only that, he is in a new country! From the start he is introduced to a boy who apparently moved there from America as well. He helps Dre fit in to some of the activities with the other kids by including him. It's not long after that Dre finds a girl of interest to him, Meiying, and tries to speak Chinese to her, obviously failing. Luckily for Dre, she does speak English so the two are able to become friends. Being friends with a girl has its price in this case. Shortly after his first encounter with Meiying, Dre is introduced to Cheng who is not happy that he is talking to her. He is also not happy that Meiying is not practicing her violin. Cheng's family and Meiying's family are close friends and he watches out for her. As Cheng starts to hassle Meiying, Dre tries to break it up but ends up getting pummeled around like a rag doll.

Cheng and his group of boys like to pick on Dre any chance they get, even physically hurting him at times. When Dre decides to get some payback by dumping a large amount of dirty water on Cheng and his crew, the boys begin a foot race to catch Dre and punish him for his act. Cornered, Dre has nowhere to go but to the fists and feet of the boys hazing him. Lying on the ground, Dre is defenseless. As Cheng approaches Dre to finish him with one last punch , the maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) steps in and saves him. After giving the boys a lesson, Mr. Han carries Dre home where he gives him an ancient Chinese cure to heal his injuries. After seeing what Mr. Han is capable of, Dre wants to learn Kung-Fu more than anything, primarily to get his revenge. Mr. Han will not teach him for those reasons but after a run in with Cheng's Kung-Fu instructor Mr. Han has no choice but to teach Dre and prepare him for an upcoming tournament.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=4835[/img]

Mr. Han begins his lessons by teaching Dre the simple task of taking off his jacket, hanging it up, then putting it back on, taking it off, dropping it, hanging it up, and repeating this for several days. Thinking he has it figured out, Dre says he is ready to learn Kung-Fu and wants to start with the punching and kicking. As the training continues, Dre and Mr. Han travel a lot of the countryside. They train on the Great Wall and even go where Mr. Han learned Kung-Fu as a boy. This road is not easy for Dre at all, he is pushed physically and mentally, but after some time it becomes second nature and training is all he knows.

Finally, after much preparation and suffering many days of pain, Dre has reached the day of the tournament where he battles some of the best Kung-Fu students in the area. Mr. Han has to constantly remind him to focus as Dre becomes more nervous the closer his battle with Cheng approaches. When Dre steps out on the mat for the semi-finals agains one of Chengs crew members, Cheng's instructor tells the kid to throw the fight but to injure Dre in the process. It was this kind of teaching from Cheng's instructor that forced Mr. Han and Dre to enter into the tournament. Dre wins, because his opponent was disqualified for unfair fighting, but Dre is seriously injured in the process. The doctor suggests that Dre not fight, but Dre wants to complete this challenge; win or lose. Cheng and Dre battle it out and Cheng takes a quick lead, but Dre comes back with more intensity and willpower than ever before tying the score up 2-2 in a best of three battle. Dre learns an incredible lesson from Mr. Han because he always felt knowing Kung-Fu was for fighting people. He learns that it is used for respect and defense, not for fighting. Dre realizes that Kung-Fu can be found in every day things, such as taking your jacket on and off and hanging it up. Mr. Han also learns a lesson from Dre; sometimes when life knocks you down, you just have to get back on your feet and fight back.

Rating:

Rated PG for bullying, martial arts action violence and some mild language. Obviously the Kung-Fu was the focus of the movie. Pretty much all of the bad language in the movie was said by Jaden, which I was not too fond of. I'm not a fan of young children using language in movies.



Video: :5stars:

It is obvious that the video quality is superb in Karate Kid. Another great Sony Pictures Blu-Ray presented in a beautiful 1080p transfer, the colors looked tremendous. Shot on location in China, it couldn't be any other way, colors were crisp and popped right out of the screen. A benefit of the movie being over two hours long was a lot of location shots that were extremely bright and colorful.

Audio: :5stars:

Having such a pristine picture would not be anything without a perfect sound track to go with it as well. Karate Kid's sound was absolutely amazing in it's crisp DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. One of the most impressive things about the sound is the producers' decision to use a score rather than popular music. One would expect a movie of this nature being geared toward a younger generation that more popular rock, hip-hop, or pop music would be featured, and while it was in a few scenes the primary music was composed by James Horner. I think it's a decision that will help make this movie timeless. The original Karate Kid was already a classic, however I think this remake has classic potential written all over it. Another great aspect about the sound is the fight scenes. Punches, kicks, slides, and any other contact moves sound great coming out of the subwoofer. Deep bass hits during each punch or kick really made you feel like you were in middle of the action.

[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=4837[/img]


Extras: :4stars:

On Location: 'The Karate Kid' Interactive Map of China (1080p)

Production Diaries (1080p) Included is Training Jaden; Jaden Smith, A Day in the Life; The Forbidden City; From Jackie With Love, The Great Wall; Olympic Village, Director Profile, Taraji P. Henson Goes to China; and Wudang Mountains.

Chinese Lessons (1080p)
Just for Kicks: The Making of 'The Karate Kid' (1080p, 20:09)
Alternate Ending (1080p, 3:32)
Music video Never Say Never by Justin Bieber and featuring Jaden Smith (1080p, 3:49)
1080p trailers
Two digital copies and a DVD copy

Overall: :5stars:

If I could sum this review up in one word, it would be WOW! This version of Karate Kid was absolutely perfect in every way. I wish I would have seen it in theaters, but when I saw the trailer I thought to myself, "you've got to be kidding me. The original was amazing and still is today, why remake it?". I still believe the original was great, and this version made sure not to imitate the original in every aspect. Sure the storyline is similar; kid gets picked on, he learns Kung-Fu, battle at the end, lesson learned. However, in this remake they made sure to differentiate these characters from the originals. For example, Jackie Chan trying to catch the fly with the chopsticks and he becomes impatient and swats it with a flyswatter. Little things like this made this movie very much different from the original.

The storyline was great. The acting, the music, and the thrill of this movie were perfect! It captures the emotions of the audience really drawing them in to the story of Dre and you want to see him succeed. Jaden Smith did a great job in his role and I feel that he has a strong acting career ahead of him. Jackie Chan also did a great job at portraying the Mr. Miyagi character, he even came up with the idea of doing the jacket on, off, on the ground, hang it up illustration so that they could have their own "wax on wax off" moment.

Honestly, I wouldn't give this a rental rating. Save the money renting and just buy it! Incredible story, and incredible acting. Karate Kid is one amazing movie that I feel will be great for the entire family. Even if you are a fan of the original.

 

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Having grown up watching the original I was torn on the idea of a remake. But having read the review, i am going to have to give it a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's definitely worth checking out if you liked the original. While I did not grow up watching it, I have seen it a number of times and thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought they did a great job with the remake.
 

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I agree that the picture and sound quality is superb. There are some good cinematic shots like when Dre first enters the school and there are hundreds of students practicing or when they climb to the top of the mountain.

As for the story I was a little disappointed. It was like a cheap re-scripting off of the 80's original. They tried to mimic, but change, some of the trademark ideas that were in the original which, to me, came off as a little hoaky. Part of what made the original so successful was that it was "original". This remake's attempt to modernize the franchise falls a little short.

Then there is the acting which for the most part was fairly poor. Jackie Chan is great at choreography mixing martial arts with unbelievable stunts. He is not a convincing actor in this film and the director fell short of capturing his true talents. Jaden Smith, if not for his parent's connections, would not have made the cut. His inclusion could only have been due to his inherited star power. It's not that he was completely terrible, he was just not at the same caliber of a lot of todays child stars.

On a side note, my kids really liked the film. They have not seen the original, but I plan to show it to them soon.
 

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I think a lot of it was the same for that purpose, because as they discuss in the making of, the did want to literally remake it, but as you said change some of the bigger scenes such as the chopsticks and the fly.

I do agree that the reason Jaden got the role was because of his parents, but that is because his Will Smith was a producer and had the story written for Jaden. However, I thought Jaden did a tremendous job, playing the role of a young kid out of Detroit moving to China.

One of the most surprising, and greatest shots of the movie was the final round of Dre's fight. I won't give it away, but I told my wife before it happened how he would finish off his opponent because it resembled the first one so much, then out of nowhere they surprise me with how it ended. lol That was one amazing scene. :T
 

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One of the most surprising, and greatest shots of the movie was the final round of Dre's fight. I won't give it away, but I told my wife before it happened how he would finish off his opponent because it resembled the first one so much, then out of nowhere they surprise me with how it ended. lol That was one amazing scene. :T
IMO, I found that the most disappointing a ridiculous scene. It was like the original but twisted to make it unrealistic and cheesy. The only surprise was that it wasn't exactly like the original, just 90% alike.
 

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IMO, I found that the most disappointing a ridiculous scene. It was like the original but twisted to make it unrealistic and cheesy. The only surprise was that it wasn't exactly like the original, just 90% alike.
Greetings,

I agree that while enjoyable this remake borrowed too much from the original which tended to make it feel more like a rehashing.


Regards,
 

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As for the story I was a little disappointed. It was like a cheap re-scripting off of the 80's original. They tried to mimic, but change, some of the trademark ideas that were in the original which, to me, came off as a little hoaky. Part of what made the original so successful was that it was "original". This remake's attempt to modernize the franchise falls a little short.
This.

I suffered in the first hour and a half the too much character building. The bullying was just too repetitious and I think everybody got it after he was bullied the first time. The mom was very annoying with her loud mouth and the circumstance why they moved to China was so-so. I just had to leave my kids to finish the movie as I found the movie moving so slowly.

The title was "The Karate Kid" and yet it was Kung-Fu that was taught.
 

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I agree with post #5 above. C'mon, 5 stars for this? Definitely a movie for 12 year olds and if you treat it as such, great, I have no problems with it. But once you rate it in the adult category it's open season!! Acting is terrible (and I am Jackie's biggest fan, own all of his old school movies from way back) and let's be honest: the only reason Jaden got the role is because of his parents.

Bad movie! Sorry Steffen, I do not agree with you on this one.
 

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This remake may have garnered good reviews from the original poster but I don't need to see it when the original was already perfect. Why does hollywood have to do remakes of already classic and successful films? I can understand if someone wanted to try and improve on the original especially if the special effects required it like Clash of the Titans but Karate Kid needed to be left alone. I'm a huge Jackie Chan fan too but this movie won't be watched by me. What's next, a remake of Back to the Future, Say Anything or Goonies? I grew up with these movies and they don't need to be ruined with new versions. If you want your kids to watch something good just show them the classics.
 

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It's all about money. The studios want to know that a movie will make them money. Previously successful movies remade or sequels to blockbusters tend to make a buck. The scripts are easier to manufacture also since a lot of the originality needed to make an interesting screenplay have already been tackled. Throw in a few few big name actors, a good director and crew and you're setting up a formula for success (financially).

It's like playing roulette and being able to cover more numbers with less chips. There is still a chance it could flop but the odds are less.
 

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I couldn't watch the whole thing. I fell asleep on my sofa watching it and woke up with the ending credits running. It bored me. pick up your jacket drop it. now put it on. blah blah blah. It's not as good as the older ones. the older ones had him wax car then do other work around the house. this one just had him do the one thing then show him the moves. and they showed him picking up the jacket over and over for many days. I was getting very bord. I would rate this about a 1 star movie.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Keep in mind, I gave it a 5-star rating because it is a family movie. On a 5-star scale, it's hard to really separate movies and rate them because of there genre. Compared to Braveheart or Gladiator, I agree, this is a 2 star movie at best. But watching it as a family movie, I thought for a family with younger kids (lets remember the lead role is a 12-year old), this was a spectacular movie.

I agree, the original is better. But honestly, I don't know too many younger kids that are going to want to sit through a movie made in the 80s. The music, the picture, quality, who the actors are, this movie will appeal to families far more than the original. Also, I don't know too many American boys that fantasize about doing kung fu anymore, so I think the original will lose kids that way as well. lol At least this takes place in a culture where kung-fu is very much alive.

But yes, I do agree with you that this isn't the greatest of movies when compared, but in my opinion for a family film which it was intended, I thought it was great! :T
 
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