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The Karate Kid: Movie Review

The 1984 film "The Karate Kid" was such a big classic that almost anyone from Nineties or even the early Naughties has either watched it already countless times or at least heard of it in some shape or form. Definitely, it takes guts for someone to remake such a classic. Will Smith and his whole family dared to do such a bold move. At the helm as producers are Will and his wife Jada Pinkett. The star of the show is Jaden Smith who you might remember from "The Pursuit of Happyness". In addition, they are also getting a big boost of confidence from a living legend of martial arts - out there to play as the new master is no other than Jackie Chan himself. Can the Smiths succeed in translating the original's magic straight into the 21st century?

Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) is living in Detroit with his mom Sherry (Taraji Henson). Life seems to be going okay for both until the recession hit. Dre's mom is forced to get a new job in Beijing to make ends meet and as such, Dre is also forced to move to China. As soon as Dre arrives, he already gets into trouble with Cheng, a bully from his school. Unfortunately for Dre, Cheng is a top student at one of the well-known kung fu clubs in town. One day, Dre is cornered by Cheng and his gang. Out of nowhere, Han (Jackie Chan), the apartment's maintenance man helps Dre. Dre with Han's help try to confront Cheng's kung fu master and soon discover that the aggressive nature of Cheng is due to his teacher's ways. Han, unknowingly a master of kung fu, decides to teach the art to Dre after he was forced into joining an open kung fu tournament. Can the maintenance man teach the stubborn kid from the West kung fu in time to defeat his greatest foe Cheng?

The revision of "The Karate Kid" is a complete success in our books. It did pay homage to its fore bearer but it also separated itself in such a way that old fans and new viewers would find it a refreshing film to watch. In short, this is a completely new beast - and what a beast it is.

First and foremost, we are completely astounded with how much talent Jaden Smith has in him. Acting wise, he was almost perfect. He danced, he sang and he was god-like being a kung fu kid as he was able to pull off awe-inspiring moves. It just excites us when we think of this kid and what he is capable of a couple of years from now (father and mother genes for the win?). Jackie Chan was also perfect playing as the new master. Although there were less action scenes from him, he is still the funny and quirky man that will give you a laugh from time to time. Second, the story was great. Some might say that it somewhat borrows from the original but we completely believe that it has differentiated itself enough. We also liked how the story was developed although some people will feel that the film is going to be too long with a running time of 2 and a half hours. For us, it's going to be a less pleasant experience if they trimmed off some of the story elements. To cap things off, "The Karate Kid" might not be as big as the 1984 film but we feel that it is truly a worthy remake. It still encapsulates what the original film stood for while bringing the film closer to the minds of the modern audience. This movie is guaranteed to be worth a look for almost everyone.

Rating: 4 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- the film showcased how talented Jaden Smith is and the supporting cast was splendid like him
- the story feels new while borrowing key elements from the old film
- action-packed, serious yet funny; this is definitely a complete package from start to finish

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the movie might feel quite long for some

Catch "The Karate Kid" on all cinemas starting June 11, 2010. This film is brought to you by Columbia Pictures.

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