Its been almost 10 years since I eagerly sat down to watch the latest version of The Karate Kid. Like a huge amount of people, I have a fondness for the original Karate Kid (I haven’t actually ever seen the sequels!) And also like a lot of people I love a good karate movie. It all started when I watched Rush Hour all those years ago (when the DVD originally came out, I think I saw it at secondary school first) and my love for karate movies and my interest in karate as a concept was born!
The reason for looking forward to this new adaptation was not just nostalgia though, I’m one of those people who love a good Jackie Chan movie and although he would not be one of the main characters in this story, his character arguably does play a big part in the film.
Oh yes, and I was also very interested in the family Smith dynamic this film has with Jayden in the lead, and his parents Will and Jada on producer credits.
Fast forward to now and I fancied doing two things a) Taking advantage of NowTV’s 7 Day Free Movie Pass and b) Watching something that involved Jackie Chan in some form. Karate Kid was the only Chan I could find on offer but I decided I hadn’t seen it for a while, so why not? For the record, my original opinion was that it was a good movie and a new take on the classic Karate Kid story.
If you are unaware of the story, here goes: Dre (Jayden Smith) is a 12-year-old boy and is bullied by Cheng, a rebellious kung fu prodigy at his school. However, things begin to change after he befriends maintenance man Mr Han (Jackie Chan), who happens to know a thing or two about kung fu.
Young Jayden is good and has a natural, believable acting style as the bullied schoolboy who misses his hometown. His Mum is played by Taraji P. Henson who works great in her down to earth role.
I had forgotten a lot of this film so it was good to be reminded of what I still would say is a pretty solid, enjoyable update of the legendary story. The story is well told, with key moments such as training montages hitting the right chord (and offering an update on Wax On Wax Off). We also find out a little more about M.r Han’s backstory which works for the film, too. One thing I had remembered and was pleased about is that this is a film that Jackie Chan gets to show he can act as well as choreograph and fight wonderfully. And thankfully, the choreography and fights in this film are all well done too as the kids (and M.r Han) show off their Kung Fu. The fights strike the right chord with a decent level of tenseness.
Some people may find the run time too long but for me, the pacing is about right and it ends exactly when it should. So, yes my opinion remains the same as the first watch. Relief that yet another remake has not screwed up a classic film, rather been fresh enough to have been worth everyone’s efforts. A good family film that can fairly sit next to the original series. Interestingly, I am pretty sure that at the time of The Karate Kid (2010)’s release there was plenty of talk for some sequels but I have heard nothing of that in the last few years so I think that idea is either on ice or completely not happening. The next film that I am aware of to feature Jackie Chan is Kung Fu Panda 4 (they are on number 4?!!)