The Karate Kid (2010) – Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith

7/10 — Jackie Chan makes a decent attempt at remaking the classic movie from 1984, with a twist. This time it’s set in China and it’s all about Chinese Kung Fu, not Japanese Karate.

Jackie Chan plays the teacher (Mr Han, the maintenance man) quite well, and Jaden Smith does a decent job as the student (Dre Parker, the new kid in town, being bullied). Supporting cast range from average to pretty good. Zhenwei Wang does a good job as Cheng, the leader of the bullies in this movie, and Yu Rongguang does a good job as Master Li, the aggressive teacher of the bullies.

The movie starts out like a boring drama, slowly setting the scene as Jaden’s character and his mum move to China. It starts to become interesting after 10 minutes, as Jaden’s character meets the maintenance man (played by Jackie Chan). But it doesn’t become really good until 40 minutes in, when Jackie sees Jaden getting beaten up and then reveals himself as Kung Fu expert. From here it’s mostly good action and entertainment, with the exception of an excessively long sobbing drama scene around 90 minutes in. The last 20 minutes are pretty good, as the tournament begins, closely following the format of the original classic but with a few stylistic twists. The very ending is very good, in-keeping with the original.

Overall, not a bad movie to watch if you’re bored and haven’t seen this before or at least in the last few years. I give it a 7/10 because it’s a bit hard to relate to the pre-pubescent lead actor. This movie is nothing to shout about, but it’s not bad entertainment value either. It’s hard to go wrong with Jackie Chan. If not for the boring start and the lengthy sobbing scene it might deserve a 7.5 to match the original classic.