The Karate Kid

"Good"

The Karate Kid Review


Even though it's corny, unnecessary and far too long, this remake of the 1984 hit is surprisingly engaging. This is mainly due to the crowd-pleasing story and a relatively understated performance from Jackie Chan.

Dre (Smith) is annoyed when his mother (Henson) moves from Detroit to Beijing, where he's mercilessly bullied by a gang of schoolboy thugs led by Cheng (Wang Zhenwei). Sure, there's the cute violinist (Han) to distract him, but things don't really start looking up until the maintenance man (Chan) agrees to teach him kung fu. Now Dre has three goals: learn skills to defend himself, compete in an upcoming tournament against Cheng and his evil mentor (Yu), and of course get the girl.

The plot is resilient enough to survive pretty much any transposition, and this film's setting adds spectacular kung fu-training backdrops that make it look like a gorgeously produced propaganda film by the China Tourism Board. Although it's unclear why they didn't change the title, as "karate" is only mentioned once, dismissively. The 1984 film, on the other hand, is continually referenced visually, with only a few details changed.

And it's a good thing that the story is so robust, because Smith is likeable although not very deep as an actor. He throws himself into the role physically, and is good in scenes where he's a bratty 12-year-old, but his dramatic range is slightly limited. More resonant scenes are carried effectively by Henson and even Chan, who subdues his usual clownishness in lieu of something more haunted and dark. This nicely adds to the film's central theme that these two people--shattered master and cocky novice--change each other dramatically.

That said, the plot couldn't really be any more predictable than it is, even if you've never seen the original. But Zwart keeps energy levels high and fills the screen with witty elements that keep us from getting bored even as things stretch out far too long. There are about three too many montage sequences, but the fight choreography is extremely clever, leading to some breathtaking moments. And the pre-teen rom-com subplot will have the kiddies (and a few grown-ups) sighing.



The Karate Kid

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 126 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd June 1984

Box Office Worldwide: $357.9M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: China Film Group Corporation (CFGC), Columbia Pictures, Overbrook Entertainment, JW Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 38 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Dre Parker, as Mr. Han, Taraji P. Henson as Sherry Parker, Yu Rong-Guang as Master Li, Tess Liu as History Teacher, Xu Ming as Bao

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.