Movie review – Kicking it with the Smiths

2010-09-18 09:16

Film: The Karate Kid (Ster Kinekor)
Director: Harald Zwart
Featuring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Wenwen Han and Taraji P Henson
Rating: 6/10

The only thing more distasteful than pushy parents are the precocious children they mould. A case in point is poor little rich boy Jaden Smith who takes the lead in the remake of The Karate Kid.

His parents, Will and Jada Smith, not only co-produced this film, but were on set daily to keep an eagle eye on their progeny. Spare a thought for director Harald Zwart, whose style must have been severely cramped under the gaze of this power

Also, it hardly qualifies as a ­remake. For one the karate of the title has morphed into kung fu, the Japanese teacher Pat Morita embodied is now Chinese (in the form of Jackie Chan), the setting has changed from Los Angeles to Beijing and finally Smith’s character is a tween while Ralph ­Macchio’s in the original was a teenager on the cusp of first love.

Smith is Dre, a young American boy who moves with his mother (an under-utilised Taraji P Henson) to Beijing. Within hours of arriving, Dre is bullied by the ­local Chinese kids, all of whom are kung fu experts. Enter building handyman and undercover kung fu master Mr Han (Chan) who grudgingly takes on Dre’s martial arts education.

While the makers were not cheeky enough to do ‘wax on, wax off’, there is a similar analogy ­using Dre’s jacket.

Though Smith is somewhat wooden (remember his stolid ­performance in The Pursuit of Happyness? There has been no improvement), Chan is always good value and he’s choreographed some ridiculously fun fight sequences.

Also, the scenery is glorious, with a visit to the Great Wall as well as a glimpse inside ordinary (Hollywood-ised) Chinese life.

If you’re taking the children to this, leave your memories of the original at home. While the 1984 film was a teen favourite, this one’s likely to appeal to the Camp Rock, Miley Cyrus tween set.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.