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The Karate Kid: Sneak Peek

In "The Karate Kid", 12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) could have been the most popular kid in Detroit but due to his mother’s (Taraji P. Henson) career change, it takes them both to China. Dre has a hard time making friends but he does make a connection with his classmate Mei Ying and the feeling is mutual until cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre makes an enemy of the class bully, Cheng. Feeling alone in a foreign land, Dre has no friends to turn to except the maintenance man, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) who is secretly a master of the art of kung fu. Han and Dre begin to train together while on the way building a tight friendship. At the end, Dre must face his greatest foe, Cheng, at a kung fu tournament. "The Karate Kid" is a remake of the 80's classic. Read on to find out more on the film's production.

You can also catch our review of "The Karate Kid" by clicking this link.

“Dre Parker is a cool American kid who’s left Detroit and now is just trying to make it in China...he’s definitely having a rough time – he feels like he just doesn’t fit in. He doesn’t mean to, but he gets on the bad side of some bullies. He’s got no friends and nowhere to go, and that’s when he finds out that his building’s maintenance man, Mr. Han, is a kung fu master. Mr. Han teaches him kung fu, and they end up having a special bond between them.” says Jaden Smith. It’s a theme that has long resonated with audiences – and explored in the 1984 hit movie of the same title. Producer Jerry Weintraub says that the story endures because its underlying story is universal. “Ultimately, it’s the tale of a father and son,” he says. “It’s not so much about the karate. What endures, what kids look to, is the story of a boy searching for a father and a mentor.”

The new film couldn’t and shouldn't be an outright remake. It would have to capture those themes while standing on its own. “The key for anybody in touching material like this is to make sure that you pay homage and respect to the original but somehow find a way to expand upon it and bring it to 2010,” says the director. One of the biggest challenges was casting the role of the mentor. The filmmakers would need an icon and they found one in Jackie Chan. Chan felt a particular affinity for the story as he admits he can actually relate to the young American character. “About 30 years ago, I went to America for the first time by myself. When you’re in a completely different culture, it’s very frightening.”

The part required Smith to learn kung fu and he did learn from the best. Wu Gang, the stunt coordinator of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team taught him. Of course, in addition to the invaluable training from Master Wu, Smith had another way of learning kung fu by watching old Jackie Chan films. In fact, an entire sequence is a reference of sorts to one of Chan’s earliest and most famous fights.


"The Karate Kid" looks to be a promising re-imagining of the original film. Catch it on all cinemas starting June 11, 2010. This film is brought to you by Columbia Pictures

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