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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2012
Ok, I'm going to have to admit it, I loved this movie. I approached this with no small degree of trepidation, since the original had a special place in my memory from my younger days, and I had the horrible feeling that a remake would just be more of the same but without Pat Morita and with a predictable dose of sweetener in it. But I was wrong - the story has been sufficiently given a new dimension by setting it in China, meaning the theme of the outsider being shunned is all the more relevant. Also Kung Fu is somehow a more appropriate martial art than Karate. The biggest and best surprise is in the casting - Jaden Smith is more than ever a mini-Will Smith with all the charisma that implies, but it is Jackie Chan that is quite a revelation, genuinely acting and emoting in a believable way, without his usual tongue in cheek approach. The end result is a genuine and quite affecting story with believable characters, which nods to the original in a satisfying way, without ever treading the same ground too obviously - no `wax on, wax off' here, but a novel alternative instead. It's a little grittier than the original, in a way that helps sell the danger in a more believable way, but leavens it with just enough heart to keep it in PG realm.
Yes it is not going to hold any big surprises for you, but if you're half human you're going to find it at least a little heart warming, and if it suffers a little from being somewhat of a Tourism Board approved advert for China at times, well it's beautiful enough scenery to forgive. It's arguably better than the original in many ways, better written, better fight choreography and some better ideas - but I wonder if even with all that going for it, it struggles to match the teacher - pupil chemistry of the original . Having said that, this is a real treat, far exceeded my expectations - recommended.
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on 20 December 2015
Well directed, good acting all round and a decent supporting cast. Smith and Chan have a fun chemistry that helps make the film enjoyable. We also have a lot more character building time spent in this film that gives it about 13 more minutes run time than the original, but those extra moments really pay off in a big way. we get more of Dre and his mom together. They don't just show up and then she gets thrown into a few scenes like in the original. She is an important part of Dre's life and it is shown. Cool training scenes and well choreographed martial arts fight scenes.There are some beautiful mountain and Great Wall of China scenes that are used in getting Dre into shape. The bullies are pitiless jerks, but are given good reasons to be that way. The love story, though utterly contrived and perfunctory, is still charming and fun.

Overall a good remake. Don't take it seriously otherwise you won't enjoy it. Its good fun film.
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I think 'remake's' of really good films is possibly a difficult task for anyone, the 'original' with 'Ralph Macchio' and 'Nonyuke Pat' Monta' was indeed a very good film, and 'no question' a hard act to follow.
The film primarily follows the same format, the difference being the 'Karate' srudent 'Dre Parker' moves to china with his mother who's job takes her there.
Other than location, the story is pretty much the same, only this one does give us a good measure of 'stunning' scenery of the chinese landscape as an added bonus.
I like 'Jackie Chan' (Mr Han) he rarely makes a bad movie, 'Jaden Smith' ( Will's son ) has surely got a great future ahead of him in films.
Is this version as good as the original ? ---probably not in truth, however it's much better than some of the 'movie-critic's' write-ups i've read, if you watch the film without trying to compare it, i think like me you'll enjoy it.
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on 26 September 2015
Good update of the original from the 80 s about a young boys struggle to be accepted in another country and fighting to get respect from his classmates and friends meeting an unlikely ally they teach each other about life would recommend as good dvd to watch strong perfomances from Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith
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on 22 February 2013
My 7 year old loved the fight sequences.....but I think for his age group they were brutal. I am glad I watched it with my son to tell him it takes years of practice to get the moves/balance/flexibility...plus to tell him the 'healing' technique Jackie Chan carried out should not be attempted...ever! Just wanted to warn other parents who thought the film was merely harmless fun.
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on 28 July 2010
Like one of the reviewers above, I also was a child of the 80's, and saw all the Karate Kid films numerous times over the years. I was interested to see how Jaden Smith would step up to the challenge in comparison to Ralph Macchio who was the original Karate Kid. One word 'FANTASTIC!'. Even though Jaden Smith appears younger than Ralph Macchio as the Karate Kid, it worked just as well. I was really impressed with Jaden Smith's performance. Absolutely brilliant and I look forward to seeing him in future films. Jackie Chan was perfect as Mr Han. Although his English vocabulary is still not quite up to scratch...

They have updated the film more compared to the original, and I liked the way it was set in China (The birthplace of Kung Fu). It really made all the difference to the scenery and the story. Yes the film was longer than most, but it didn't matter to me at all. For me, they couldn't possibly have edited any more out. It kept me gripped from beginning to end.

The film is primarily an action film, but also contains comedy, suspense and drama. I would recommend this film for any age from about 7yrs +. Children younger than that may find it a bit violent and upsetting.

Besides Toy Story 3, make sure you see Karate Kid this summer - Not To Be Missed!
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When a 12-year-old from Detroit moves to China with his mother and incurs the wrath of the class bully at his new school, he makes an unlikely ally in the form of his aging maintenance man, a kung fu master who teaches him the secrets to self-defence. Upon arriving at his new school, Dre Parker (Jaden Smith - THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS) develops a powerful crush on pretty classmate Mei Ying. The feeling is mutual, although the cultural divide between Dre and Mei Ying makes a friendship unlikely, and romance impossible. When cruel classmate and kung fu prodigy Cheng learns of Dre's feelings for Mei Ying, he harasses and humiliates the young outsider in front of the entire school. With no one to turn to for help, Dre confides his fears in kindly maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan - RUSH HOUR), a kung fu master who knows that serenity and maturity -- not punches and power -- are the true keys to mastering the martial arts. As Dre prepares to face down his intimidating tormentor, he begins to realize that the real fight is just beginning.
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While this remake isn't all bad it lacks the impact that the original has. They've done a good job of trying to reinvent it, by taking it out of the US to China, but in key area's it just isn't as strong as the original.

For starters, "Jacket on, Jacket off" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "wax on, wax off". It's not nearly as snappy and just doesn't work for me. "Wax on, Wax off" is iconic and the writers have really struggled here to find something to replace it with... and in the end I think they failed.

This happened too with the whole crane kick thing - which they tried to replace with some sort of snake charming nonsense. I get the whole Chi thing, but when it came to the final fight, the the whole "Snake eyes" thing didn't work. It wasn't the final, fight ending move, and so lacked the impact on the viewer that the "indefensible" Crane Kick had.

Also, the bad guys just aren't as menacing as the Cobra Kai of in the original classic. In the original film you felt that the gang who had it in for Daniel Larousso were a pretty mean and fearsome bunch - in this they don't seem that bad at all. They're just a bunch of kids and the bullying wasn't that bad at all.

I didn't mind Jayden Smith as much as I thought I would, and in fact - credit where credit's due - I actually think he did a good job. Overall, it was an OK watch, your kids will love it - but apart from the stunning Chinese scenery and settings the original is better in every way.
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on 30 April 2013
Remakes are now a well-established staple of the Hollywood output and as you would expect the quality of these films differ wildly. So it was a joy to watch a film like Karate Kid to see how a remake should be handled.

It rejuvenated and modernised the story whilst staying true to the essence of the original. Jaden Smith plays Dre, who is moved to China with his Mother due to a job relocation. At first he doesn't fit in. He runs into trouble pretty quickly and then continues to be bullied at school. That is until he meets Mr Han who can teach him Kung Fu.

Okay so yes the film is clichéd and yes it trots out all the familiar tropes you would expect. However this is just pure entertainment. When a film is enjoyable and well made it doesn't matter if it sticks rigidly to formula.

Jaden Smith is a joy to watch. He embodies his character very well and really gets stuck in to the story. His relationship with Jackie Chan's Mr Han is very well portrayed and they really do feel like friends. The martial arts on display is great fun in a kiddie friendly sort of way and the tournament at the end displays some proper feel good cheesy moments.

There are some faults with the film. Some moments are just a little too cheesy and clichéd. The moment when Dre finds out about Han's past and family feels a little shoe horned in to give Dre some credible motivation for his training. There could have been a few more fight scenes to break up the family saga and training montages but overall this is a really enjoyable film.

A remake that should definitely be given a chance. Great family fun.
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on 24 December 2014
Ok film. Should have been called The Kung Fu kid.
I think one thing that made the original Karate Kid so popular was that people took an interest in karate afterwards and the moves were realistic.
Some of the moves in the final fight scenes of this movie are so unrealistic and ridiculous.
The overall story is good and is definitely watchable.
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