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Movie Review: "The Karate Kid" (2010)

Updated on March 21, 2013

DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.

"I wanna watch 'The Karate Kid', but I wanna watch the black one, not the white one!"

I almost fell off of a chair the first time I heard one of the children from this generation utter those sad words. Is this what we have succumbed to?

The fact of the matter is, this is not about race. Give me one good reason to remake "The Karate Kid" that doesn't include:

  1. Because it's too old.
  2. The '80s suck (how dare you).

There's actually no reason other than to cash in on an already established brand name film and get today's lazy kids back into theaters because they refuse to watch movies that were made before the year 2000. FYI, this is not directed to all of today's kids, but a pretty significant number.

The 2010 remake of "The Karate Kid" sees Will Smith's son, Jaden Smith, being dragged to China by his one-dimensional mother (who could care less) where he meets a cute Asian girl, a white kid who's just there for the sake of having a white person in the movie, and a gang of Asian bullies. You can pretty much guess the rest of it from there. The entire movie is one unnecessarily long and drawn out turd that attempts to fool its viewers into tricking that this is an epic drama of substance.

The extreme and ridiculous lengths that the filmmakers went to make this as different as possible from the original 'Karate Kid' is quite laughable. First off, they made the lead character black (which is fine, but my issue is their shallow reasoning behind doing it which is money); second, they took an idea from "The Karate Kid Part II" by setting the story on foreign territory as opposed to the mainland in the original; third, the supposed 'karate kid' is studying kung fu this time around instead of 'karate', despite the misleading title. Then, they slapped it on a nice and pretty lunch box and called it "The Karate Kid" -- Come get your tickets! Step right up!

Kung Fu?

The most obvious error of this movie is that Dre, the supposed 'Karate Kid' this time around, isn't actually studying karate in this remake. Instead, he's studying kung fu. So why not just call it "The Kung Fu Kid" instead? Why keep "The Karate Kid" as the title? The answer... so they can cash-in on the brand name itself.

In conclusion, altering the category of martial arts used in this remake from karate to kung fu did absolutely nothing to increase profits, this unnecessary change served no purpose. It seemed as if it was just tacked on, I can easily picture a last minute meeting on the final draft of this script where someone said "Well, it's a remake, so what else can we change around? Oh I know, let's change the martial arts to kung fu instead of karate".

Got Horomones?

Why is the Karate Kid a little kid this time instead of a teenager? Dre is like a tween, maybe 11 or 12 whereas Daniel LaRusso from the original was maybe around 15 years old. Just like the 'kung fu' issue above, this is yet another unnecessary change forced upon this script.

Jacket On, Jacket Off!

Over the course of the film, we learn that Dre has a jacket problem. He seems to forget to hang up his jacket whenever he comes home and instead leaves it on the floor. What's funny about this is that Dre does not come across as the type of kid who is messy and disorganized, I mean look at his room; so when he comes in and throws his jacket aside, we don't see any of his other belongings lying about nearby. Because of this, the jacket just seems so out of place.

I'm afraid this is yet another awkward attempt to cash in on the original film. Instead of "Wax on, wax off", we have "Jacket on, jacket off" -- which sounds very inappropriate when saying it fast... if you catch my drift.

So, bottom line, this unnecessary character trait of Dre's only exists to update the original film's most popular line.

Once Upon a Time...

As if they hadn't pooped on the original 'Karate Kid' enough in this half-baked attempt, they had to screw with Mr. Myagi's backstory. In the original film, Mr. Myagi served in World War II in which he lost his wife and son. This is revealed to us in a very well-written scene where Daniel finds Mr. Myagi suited up in his soldier outfit and drunk out of his mind, sitting in front of a shrine to his lost loved ones. It was handled with care.

In this remake, the backstory is that Mr. Han (aka the new Myagi) accidentally killed a young girl with his car, so he keeps the wreckage of his car in his garage to remind him of what happened. Gee, that sounds like it was slapped together pretty quick. And the scene in which Dre discovers the truth about this is even more laughable. Mr. Han is mentally down in the dumps, sitting in the wrecked car, and reminiscing; Dre approaches him and initiates a rope-dance exercise which he taught him that is somehow supposed to put Mr. Han back on his mental feet.

Is this supposed to be a comedy?

Token White Boy

What is Justin Bieber's brother (Harry) doing in this movie? How does he know they are moving into Apt 305 when they only just got out of the car? Did the screenwriter tell him in advance?

Furthermore, what point does he serve later in the movie? NADA. What was the point of him meeting Dre other than "Hi, I'm Harry"? It's as if the writer of the film thought he needed the setting to be as racially diverse as possible. Dre the black karate kid has an Asian girlfriend and a white sidekick. Nice going.

Random Things That Make No Sense

  • Why would Sherry want to move to China, knowing what troubles it would bring to her son? This is not to say China is a very racist country, but it certainly isn't America which is more culturally diverse.
  • What was the point of showing Dre's height measurements on the wall at the beginning of the movie? Furthermore, what was the point of recording his father's death on his height measurements? Did this cause him to shrink more? What purpose does any of this serve later in the movie?
  • In one scene, Dre is challenging an adult to a game of ping-pong, he tells his opponent that they called him 'Ping Pong Dre' back home. Is that so? Why no wonder your father keeps ping-ponging you into almost every movie possible. I'd like to ping pong him right out of this movie. Thank God his father didn't shove him into a remake of "Home Alone"... you know... because that's like another 'old' movie that's too 'white'.


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    • SPomposello profile image

      SPomposello 4 years ago from NY

      Larry Wall,

      No worries, I'm not offended. Every reviewer should have his/her own style, at least that's the way I see it. I personally don't follow the blow-by-blow structure that most non-spoiler reviews go by, I like to try and do them differently. And I only review the bad ones, just because they're so fun to pick apart; like this movie, for instance, it's like the filmmakers built a house out of a deck of cards, it looks pretty, shiny, and perfect in every way possible. But the reality is that its all really an illusion to cover-up the true nature and intentions behind the film, and I love to just dig in there and pull those cards down, one by one.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 4 years ago

      Interesting take on the film. I would debate some of your points, but im way too sick to do that, so ill just say cool beans for now.

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 4 years ago

      No, I saw your disclaimer, but my contention is that the disclaimer should not be there because the review should not include any spoilers. I know different people disagree, but I believe it is possible to review a book or movie, have done both, without revealing the ending or Key Points.

      When the movie ET was first released--a long, long time ago, before I saw the movie, I knew about the Reses Pieces line, the "this is reality'" segment and "ET Phone Home." It took away from the movie.

      Some reviewers do exactly what you do. I just never read them. So, the service that is intended to be provided, to inform the viewer if the movie might be interesting, a basic idea of the plot, do the special effects overshadow the story line and are the actors suited for the parts they are playing. I wish you will. If I offended, that was not my intent. I was basically offering a review of your review.

    • SPomposello profile image

      SPomposello 4 years ago from NY

      Larry Wall,

      You must have missed the very first thing I wrote in the review:

      "DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers."

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 4 years ago

      Reviews should be written without spoilers. Book reviews should not reveal the ending. Movie reviews should not reveal key parts of the movie.