Karate Kid 2010
Upon seeing that the setting was in China and that protagonist Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) is to learn Kung Fu under the not-so-tender tutelage of Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), I quickly wondered why this is called Karate Kid and not Kung Fu Kid. Apparently, the plan was to call it Kung Fu Kid in China, Japan and the rest of Asia; Best Kid in Korea (probably because of Korea’s obsession with being #1, and I mean that as a compliment); Karate Kid in the US and UK. It sort of bothered me why we’re lumped alongside US and the UK, especially since we are one of those Asian countries with our own brand of martial arts. Then again, it could also be a marketing tactic, since we were familiar with the original 1984 Karate Kid. It still bothers me, though, particularly since we’re talking about cultural differences here.
Jackie Chan, in defense against the allegations of cultural ignorance (and racism), recounted that the entire crew referred to it as Kung Fu Kid during the filming and that it will be called that in Asia (but we’re Asians, too, boohooohooo!). I will accept that since it comes from the mouth of one of my favorite action stars. I only have three, by the way: Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Angelina Jolie.
All that being said…I loved Karate Kid 2010. The pacing actually took a while, somewhat reminding me of many art films I’ve seen but at the same time had me worrying how this would be received by the mainstream folks. It had mixed reviews and I particularly did not care for the ones that would keep comparing this with the original. Producer Will Smith, father of Jaden, did admit that he borrowed elements from the 1984 version but watching these iconic scenes take place in the 2010 version, I am very happy to say that these stood out on their own. Karate Kid 2010 is a homage that respected not only the originality of the first movie, but also stood its own ground.
You just have to enjoy the different facets of China. During the first parts, China is shown to be a dinghy and confusing place, reflecting the anxiety that Dre experiences during his move from Detroit. Later, as he goes under training, you’d be amazed at how rich and beautiful the countryside of China is, reflecting Dre’s growth as an individual and as a martial artist. Wow. That is all I could say. I would watch this again just to see all that.
Other highlights of the film:
- The depth of Mr. Han’s character, something that the original did not have
- Lots and lots of side-splitting moments, especially during the monumental tournament
- Lots and lots of action
The only three things that disturbed me (besides the title):
- This is not for young kids. Told my mom that it was too violent for my 9-year-old brother. I could swear I felt all the kicks that Dre Parker received. Ouch. There were also lots of kids-do-not-try-this-at-home scenes so…
- They could let go of the love angle, while maintaining the lessons on friendship. Though I found some of the romantic scenes funny, I still get iffy over seeing 12-year-olds express goofy-love-love feelings.
- We sat beside degenerates, who would place their BARE feet on top of the seats in front of them. I did not appreciate the uneducated side comments, either.
To avoid re-experiencing the last, I will just buy the original DVD and relive Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith’s antics to their fullest. This movie is just…luuuuuurve!