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Review: The Karate Kid (2010)

Shouldn't it be "The Kung Fu Kid"?
By BRETT MICHEL  |  June 11, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars

 

To its credit, Harald Zwart's update of the 1984 hit The Karate Kid, which transplants the post-Rocky template into China, doesn't leave you asking, "Why?"

The answer, nonetheless, is that producer Will Smith wants a franchise for his boy. So we have Jaden Smith as Dre Parker, who finds himself in China when his single mother (Taraji P. Henson, a hit in an underwritten part) gets a job there. And though a bit green, he matches Ralph Macchio's original kid kick for kick. Jackie Chan as Mr. Han also holds his own against Pat Morita's Mr. Miyagi, especially when he prevents a key dramatic scene from collapsing into comedy.

The Chinese setting enhances the fish-out-of-water feel of the original — not to mention providing the host country with some great PR. One question lingers, however: why isn't this called The Kung Fu Kid?

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