|Harald Zwart Director||previously directed The Karate Kid|
Will Smith's son stars in this remake which features Jackie Chan as a wise Kung Fu teacher. Yeah, Kung Fu.
The style of Kung Fu that the woman standing on the dragon's head is practicing (at the temple, before the dragon well) is Crane Style Kung Fu. Practitioners of this style are very adept at balancing on one foot, as a crane does. It is interesting to note that she is controlling a cobra (likely in the same style as a snake charmer). This could possibly be a nod to the original in which Daniel defeated a member of the Cobra Kai dojo by using the "Crane technique".3 More Trivia
|Robert Mark Kamen||story|
|Jaden Smith||Dre Parker|
|Jackie Chan||Mr. Han|
|Taraji P. Henson||Sherry Parker|
|Yu Rongguang||Master Li|
|Zhensu Wu||Meiying's Dad|
|Zhiheng Wang||Meiying's Mom|
|Jared Minns||Dre's Detroit Friend|
|See Full Credits|
Dre Parker was pulled from the streets of Detroit and plunked into the Chinese capital of Beijing after his mother's job takes the family overseas. Holding a flame for new classmate Mei Ying, Dre is blocked by a group of class bullies who easily outclass him physically. With nowhere else to turn the young American turns to maintenance man Mr. Han who teaches Dre the very essence of kung fu in preparation for a tournament showdown with the class bullies.
In late 2008 reports that a Karate Kid remake was in the works with Will Smith producing the movie as a vehicle for his son Jaden Smith. The new film would take some elements and build off of a similar story line from the original movie. Jackie Chan announced his involvement during a concert to play the teacher to Jaden Smith's character, the Miyagi like character.
Dre Parker and his mom Sherry are moving out of their home in Detroit to the strange foreign land of China after Sherry is transferred there because of her job. After having to leave the house he grew up in as well as his best friend Dre isn't taking to his new home. On his first day he visits a nearby park with a neighbor boy only to be bullied while talking to Mei Ying, a young girl who was practicing her violin in the park. Dre tries to fight the bully, Cheng, but the bully uses his kung fu knowledge to beat Dre up and give him a black eye.
Dre's life at school doesn't go much better, despite seeing Ying again and learning that practicing the violin is her life, he also runs into Cheng again who takes a liking to pushing Dre around. After returning from a field trip to the Forbidden City, Dre notices the bullies walking the same route he walks home from school and while trying to sneak past them he spots a bucket of dirty water and throws it on them. Dre is fast enough to out run Cheng and his friends for awhile but not once he runs out of room. The group beat Dre up, even when one of Cheng's friends tell him its enough, Cheng doesn't stop. Just in time Mr. Han shows up, Han is the maintenance man in Dre's building and had looking over Dre as he tried to learn kung fu off of TV.
Han quickly deals with the bullies using their own attacks and energy against themselves. Han carries Dre back to his home where he is able to use ancient Chinese healing practices, fire cupping, to remove Dre's pain and help him heal faster. When Dre discovers Han knows a lot about kung fu he wants him to teach him but Han refuses. Han does agree to accompany Dre to Cheng's kung fu dojo to make a peace between Dre and his bullies. There they find Master Li training most of the bullies and we overhear how he truly teaches kung fu, with no mercy. Master Li refuses to let Han or Dre leave with settling the feud between the two groups which forces Han to promise that Dre will fight in a kung fu tournament.
WIth Dre no longer bullied temporarily so he can train for the tournament Han begins teaching Dre real kung fu. But the training doesn't begin the way Dre expects it to. The days of training begin with Dre taking off his jacket, hanging it up, throwing it down on the ground, and then putting it back on. Han makes him repeat these actions over and over while Han goes about his normal day and rebuilding his car. Dre gets frustrated, the tournament gets closer and all he is doing is hanging his jacket. When Dre refuses to continue Han shows him why he has been training this way, the movements Dre has been repeating over and over are similar to kung fu moves. With Dre now having a foundation of repeatable moves the two begin training in earnest.
With Dre learning more about being responsible and respect, Han takes him where he was originally taught kung fu by his father, the Wudang Mountains. After climbing to the very top Dre spots a woman training a masterful technique of kung fu, seemingly copying a cobras movements. Han informs Dre that she wasn't copying the snake but rather the other way around, when one is peaceful inside like unmoving water, they control almost control someone else's movements. On the top of the mountain Dre also drinks from a special fountain of chi, something a young Han did when he was training in kung fu.
After getting a day off from training by Han, who says too much of one thing is bad for you, Dre takes the sentiment to heart and encourages Yung to cut school and do the same. The two go about town, play in an arcade, visit water fountains, only to find out that Yung's violin audition was moved to that very day, causing her to be late. Dre is able to catch the very end of Yung's audition only to have Yung's parents convince her to tell Dre that they can no longer be friends because he isn't good for her life.
Dre returns to Han despite the day off and finds him destroying his recently rebuilt car and drinking. Dre calms Han down, gets him to open up, learning that it was the anniversary of the death of Han's wife and son. Mr. Han was driving one evening and during an argument with his wife he crashed into a tree, killing his family. Dre encourages Han to not give up on his life just because something bad has happened, the same perseverance Han had been teaching Dre. The two continue their training with a deeper understanding of both kung fu and one another. Han even helps Dre speak some Chinese to apologize to Yung's father allowing her to watch his tournament.
Finally the tournament day has come but with Han only just now reading the rule book the first few matches are a learning experience but Dre is able to reach the semifinals along with Cheng and another member of Cheng's gang. Cheng advances to the finals and Master Li encourages his other pupil, who is about to face Dre, to further injury Dre's already injured leg. After the other pupil is disqualified for his illegal move Dre's leg appears to be to injured, possibly broken, to continue on. With time running out to show up for his match Dre is able to convince Han that they must persevere and Dre must face his fears.
Han performs fire cupping again to alleviate Dre's pain again allowing him to reenter the ring to face Cheng once and for all. Cheng and Dre face off but despite an original lead from Dre, Cheng goes after Dre's injured leg. Dre is struggling to get up and instead of his normal stance is forced to use the same technique he saw on the mountain. Dre is able to concentrate some chi and flip catching Cheng with a kick to his head, scoring the final point and allowing him to win. Master Li's students bow to Han and Cheng wants to be the one who hands Dre his trophy. Dre has now earned the respect of his once bullies and now has a new best friend in Mr. Han.
This film received mostly positive reviews mainly praised for its ability to give homage to the original despite not surpassing it in quality. Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan were both praised for their acting abilities in the movie as well as the chemistry between the two. The film also went on to be a big success with box office numbers which is also leading to a possible sequel currently in development.
Screened's Summer Movie Preview
Alex and Rorie check out the 2010 Summer Movie Lineup.
The Karate Kid
Jackie Chan takes Jaden Smith under his wing in this 21st Century reimagining of the 1984 martial arts classic.
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