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    July 4, 2010

    MOVIE REVIEW: THE KARATE KID

    THE KARATE KID (English/PG13)
    Genre: Action/Family
    Release Date: 10 June 2010
    Distributor: Sony Pictures
    Running Time: 140 minutes
    Director: Harald Zwart
    Producers: Jerry Weintraub, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz
    Writers: Christopher Murphey; story by Robert Mark Kamen
    Casts: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P. Henson,Zhengwei Wang, Yu Rongguang, Wen Wen Han
    Plot: 12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) could've been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother's (Taraji P. Henson) latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying and the feeling is mutual, but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre's feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng. In the land of kung fu, Dre knows only a little karate, and Cheng puts the "karate kid" on the floor with ease. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realises that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life.


    THE VERDICT


    Remaking a clasic hit that rocked the 80's and went down well with love by the fans; is not an easy task. Sony Pictures made a bold move by building a new Karate Kid with fresh looks and setting, although retained almost all of the elements, themes and styles from the 1984's hit that helped to shoot Ralph Macchio into the stardom. It could not be any much sinful to try to compare between those two flicks from two different generation. 26 years have passed and while many still hailed the original film, should I said that Sony has successfully steal some of the love and transfer them into this new one?




    The fresher film takes us to China - the land of antiques, ping pong and kung fu. 12-year-old Dre parker and his mother arrive in Beijing to start a new life. Dre develops a crush on a young violinist, Mei Ying, who reciprocates his attention, but later find himself a target bully by Cheng, a kung fu prodigy whose family is close to Mei Ying's. In one of the confrontation acts of bully, a maintenance man comes to aid and protect Dre. Eventually Dre's life change forever by taking up kung fu to gain honour from his tormentors.




    At one point of the biblical account, David and Goliath made a deadly matchup but it was the former who did the better on the latter. So we have enough of story of an underdog aren't we? The original was one of the finest movie of that year. But surprisingly, the new remake did some decent job in making one of the great summer movie of the year. While The Karate Kid possesses the similar storyline as the 1984 classic thus leading up to lack of freshness, major surprises and the story been not as powerful as the original. However, it retains the same feel good to be chewed with your popcorn. Plus, what makes it a little distinguish is the fact that the plot is rich in cultural diversion and did not strayed away from the love mood for the original. The settings in China really did bring some of the extravaganza cinematographic display.




    Watching The Karate Kid is both heart-warming and vibrant but it suffers with a lengthy running time that disrupts some of my patience. 146 minutes is way too long for this kind of movie and this is admirely unnecessary. Perhaps the movie contains very much elaborated details of progression and it merely takes almost an hour before we can see Dre taking up some weird but useful kung fu lessons. It is long but it does not bored anyone who watched it. Throughout the 146 minutes, we see a lot of changes and transformations; characters develop, situations constantly change and story paces up nicely into a bigger climatic tournament in the end. Well, 146 minutes of grooming Dre into an unlikely kung fu champion pays off well.




    Despite the decent story, part of the success of this remake should be reserved to Jaden Smith. The son of legendary Will Smith is not a surprisingly good actor. Watch him in The Pursuit of Happyness and in this, he demonstrated a great adaptation of emotional, humor and acting skills depending on the different situation and mode. There are plenty of emotional and inspirational moments to be marvel at and Smith did it pretty well without going off the top. Jacky Chen holds a rather typical character that goes down as a mentor. I used ot say, if Jackie Chan is not starring in a movie that makes a fool out of him, it shall be good. Luckily, we have one good film with great acting that I can add in. Furthermore, both has a charming chemistry in between them.


    THE CONCLUSION




    In the nutshell of all, The Karate Kid may come a little short from its 1984's original it based on. There aren't moment of new surprises included, nor any new storyline to take off. However, it is still a great remake, surprisingly satisfying and very truth to itself. I am happy that The Karate Kid was able to stand on its own coupled with fantastic cinematography actions.The whole movie does not seems rushing and watching the movie is heart-warming enough. MUST WATCH!!


    THE RATING
    Story - 3.5 stars
    Casts - 4.0 stars
    Cinematography - 4.0 stars
    Effects - 4.0 stars
    OVERALL - 3.5 stars
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 15.2
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