The Karate KidPosted: May 15, 2011
Plot: Twelve year old Dre Parker lives in Detroit, and then one day he and his mom get on a plane, and all of a sudden he is living in Bejing. Dre’s mom has a new job in China, and he finds himself in an unfamiliar land, knowing neither the language nor the customs. His first foray to the playground results in his finding a new friend, Mei, and being beaten up by her friend, Cheng. Cheng does not think that Mei and Dre should be friends, and Cheng’s continued bullying of Dre make Dre’s life difficult and unhappy. Dre decides that he needed to learn martial arts to be able to defend himself from Cheng and Cheng’s gang. Eventually, the maintenance man, Mr. Han, becomes Dre’s Kung Fu master and they train together intensely for a tournament in which Dre has been entered. This movie is a remake of a movie of the same name from 1984.
Review: Entertaining and exciting, this movie has a lot of great martial arts scenes as well as beautiful views of Beijing and the surrounding Chinese countryside. Jaden Smith as Dre is cute and witty, vulnerable and brave. Jackie Chan as Mr. Han is understated and serious, caring and strong. Dre’s friendship with Mei, played by actress Wenwen Han, is sweet and the two support each other. The kiss between Dre and Mei seems out of place, given their young age, and I suspect it could be the least popular part of the movie for the many young tween boys who would likely enjoy everything else about this film. A great film for boys and girls and the whole family, the Karate Kid has positive messages including: never give up, find your inner strength, work hard and respect yourself and others.
Genre(s): Realistic Fiction, Family
Viewing/Interest Level: 9-12 years
Available in: DVD; Blu-ray
Subjects: friendship, kung-fu, dreams, inner strength, bullying
Selected Award: 2010 Kids’ Choice Awards Favorite Movie