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The Karate Kid

4.2 out of 5 stars 705 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) and his mother (Taraji P. Henson) move from Detroit to China, Dre feels lost in a world very different from what he knows. Bullied and beaten up by some fellow students in his school, Dre is rescued by his apartment building’s handyman, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), a man who is mourning a devastating loss. Mr. Han takes pity on Dre and agrees to teach him kung fu to defend himself. Training together, teacher and student learn to trust each other, and ultimately form a friendship that heals them both.

Amazon.com

A remake of the 1984 film of the same name, The Karate Kid well exceeds expectations, delivering a powerful viewing experience filled with action-packed martial arts scenes, great footage of China and its many wonders, and an absorbing story of a preadolescent boy's struggle to find his own inner strength. The title Karate Kid is really a misnomer as it is the art of kung fu that is practiced in this remake, not karate, and other details, including the film's setting in China, also differ from the original film. What remains the same, and just as powerful, is the underlying story: a young boy moves to a new place where he feels isolated and is bullied by his peers. Through an unlikely relationship with an adult, the boy not only learns to protect himself through martial arts, but develops the much more important qualities of respect and the mastery of one's own mind and body. Relative newcomer Jaden Smith (son of actors and producers Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith) is excellent as the main character Drek Parker; Jackie Chan gives a restrained and highly effective performance as his mentor Mr. Han; and Zhenwei Wang is eerily believable as the bully Chen. This is an intense and often violent film that fully engulfs its viewers--be prepared to gasp and cheer out loud, and know that you may never look at the act of putting on and taking off a jacket in the same way again. (Ages 8 and older with parental guidance) --Tami Horiuchi

Special Features

Chinese Lessons - Learn Chinese!
Music Video: Justin Bieber Featuring Jaden Smith "Never Say Never"
Just for Kicks: The Making of The Karate Kid

Product Details

  • Actors: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan
  • Directors: Harald Zwart
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: October 5, 2010
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (705 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002ZG99CC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,415 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Karate Kid" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"The Karate Kid" is very much a worthy counterpart to the 1984 film on which it's based, not only in terms of story, but also in terms of quality; the excitement, humor, warmth, and themes of friendship, maturity, and overcoming adversity have been left intact, and better still, there's no sense that any of it has been cheapened or simplified to the sake of appealing to a mass audience. The only exception, and I'm really just nitpicking here, is a glorious but contrived aerial shot of martial arts training directly on the Great Wall of China, the helicopter camera zooming around Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith as they pose dramatically. If there was ever an image that belonged in a Chinese tourism commercial, this would be it.

A more substantial criticism is that, because this is such a faithful remake, there isn't much it can do to surprise us. Anyone familiar with the 1984 film will know exactly how this new version will play out, from the main character's awkward arrival at the start to the climactic tournament at the end. There is a bit of an inconsistency; because it takes place in China, the featured martial art is kung fu, not karate, so the title is technically inaccurate. There's also the convenience of all the important characters being able to speak English, if not fluently, then just enough to get their point across. But it's all done so well that we may find ourselves suppressing the desire to look for flaws and make comparisons. What would be the point? Remake or not, this movie stands entirely on its own as a great entertainment, not just as a sports drama and a spectacle but also as a coming-of-age story, which is just as charming and insightful as it was twenty-six years ago.
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When I read that there was going to be a remake of the 1984 film The Karate Kid, I smiled in fond recollection of the original (which was a great family favorite in our house) and was interested in seeing the new version because it was being shot in China - a country (and a culture) about which I feel I have a LOT to learn. I was looking forward to seeing it.

The results? A mixed bag. Since I generally prefer to judge a remake on its own merits and try to avoid making too many comparisons to the original, I was somewhat surprised that, after seeing Karate Kid 2010, ALL I was doing was making comparisons in my head - comparisons in which the new version kept coming up short. Annoyed with myself, I decided to watch the 1984 version again to make certain it wasn't just nostalgia that was coloring my opinion. So I re-watched. It wasn't just nostalgia - the original IS better.

The Karate Kid 1984 wasn't the best written or best acted film ever - or even of 1984. But it was very popular. Kids liked it. Their parents liked it. People saw it multiple times. They quoted from it ("wax on, wax off"). Some, including my own kids, still do. :-) Enrollment at karate schools across the country rose dramatically. What really came home to me during my back-to-back viewing of the two films is that the new version simply lacks much of the heart and most of the humor that formed the basis for that initial popularity. And both of those - the heart and the humor - came, IMO, from the wonderful relationship between Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). While the plot of the remake closely follows the original, the new film never comes close to capturing the essence of that relationship and so failed to engage me in the same manner the original did.
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Well... it's fun to watch. Unfortunately, the remake of "The Karate Kid" doesn't hold a candle to its predecessor. Dre Parker, a 12-year-old boy from Detroit, moves to China for his mother's job. In befriending a girl from his class, Meiying, Dre incurs the wrath of a group of his classmates, led by the babyfaced, yet brutal, Cheng.

Okay--at this point I have to laugh a little: it's hard to take 12-years-olds fighting each other seriously. In the original "Karate Kid," the Cobra Kai are all 17 or thereabouts: seniors in high school. They have the athletic ability of grown men with the emotional maturity of children. So when in the original movie, Miyagi intervenes to rescue Daniel, he genuinely fears for Daniel's life. There's genuine danger for Miyagi as well.

In the remake, Han intervenes in a pretty silly scene. Five 12-year-olds attacking one boy is ugly, but at no point does Dre seem in mortal danger. Thus when Han steps in, the fight scene is comedic: it's the equivalent of Han putting his hand on the kids' foreheads and watching them flail away. It just feels contrived: as though the director made a checklist of elements from the original movie that had to be included in the remake, but forgot to build a real story around them.

For the most part, the entire movie feels like this--a checklist. The relationship between Dre and Meiying is an exception, however. The two of them are genuinely heartwarming together--kind of how you expect love at 12 to be, with pinky swears and the occasional shy hand-holding. Meiying has her own interests--classical violin--and it's nice to see Dre supporting _her_ in _her_ interests, rather than Elisabeth Shue squealing "You're the best!" at the tournament.
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