In Columbia Pictures’ The Karate Kid, 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 realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life.
“The Karate Kid” will have you cheering! This inspiring movie features homage to the original movie which starred Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita, but it has altered enough elements so as to reflect the fact that it is a modern story in an ancient location, namely China. In this film the karate kid is named Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) and his mother moves them to Beijing as she accepts a new job and they leave life in Detroit behind. Soon Dre meets a girl he likes named Mei Ying but is also introduced to a group of bullies, led by a kid who is a powerful kung fu student named Cheng. Cheng attends kung fu training under a master who believes in inflicting pain on an opponent and allowing “no mercy!”
Jackie Chan’s Mr. Han, the kung fu master who trains Dre to meet the young bully in a tournament, is a more serious teacher than Pat Morita’s Mr. Miyagi was. But his kung fu is razor sharp and he does have his own humorous moments in the movie. He teaches Dre respect and to have a proper attitude as well as moves which would make Bruce Lee proud. It should be noted that Jaden Smith does an outstanding job playing Dre Parker.
The ending is remarkable and left the audience I screened the film with cheering. It is a satisfying movie-going experience. It includes some mild language and some martial arts violence, but the themes of loyalty, the power to change one’s attitude, and the idea of discipline and even forgiveness are all featured in this fantastic film. We award our Dove Seal to this movie for ages twelve plus but consult our content listings below. Some parents will feel comfortable in taking children under twelve to see a movie which contains important life lessons. How many movies do that these days?