The Karate Kid (2010)

Was this ever a refreshing revelation. This transplanted Karate Kid remake takes the basic elements of the seminal 1980s underdog sports film and makes a rousing, satisfying, and surprisingly emotional experience. It sounds like sacrilege to take on a classic and fill it with an aged Jackie Chan and Will Smith’s progeny, but by God it works. It all works. It’s clear that pint-sized Jaden Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness) is a chip off the old block; he’s got a natural charm and feels like he can turn it on at will. His acting doesn’t come across as forced, and the kid can even tackle the heavier dramatic stuff with shocking ease. The other benefit to Smith is that he LOOKS like a true 12-year-old kid, gangly and scrambling for protection and self-confidence. Ralph Machio was in his early 20s when he was waxing on, waxing off. Smith and Chan have a bristling chemistry, and I ended up eating my words when Chan channeled a succession of teary emotions. The teacher/student dynamic leads to enough satisfying moments to feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth. The same lessons of discipline get a fresh coat of paint. There’s no real reason that a Karate Kid remake needed to be made (it feels like China funded it as an unashamed tourist commercial) especially since there were three sequels of varying quality. While a little long with an overextended kung-fu tournament, Karate Kid is a family film that won’t melt your brain.

Nate’s Grade: B


About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on November 15, 2010, in 2010 Movies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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