The Karate Kid - Cinema Review

'relies on its few action sequences and the chemistry between Chan and Smith to save it from abject failure'

The Karate Kid is one of those remakes that just didn't really seem to make sense. Although a cult favourite, the original 1984 film staring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita hardly seemed prime property to revisit. Then Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith were signed up to star, the film made a colossal amount at the US box office and all seemed right with the world. Of course, for all to truly be right with world, The Karate Kid would have to also be, like most remakes, a pretty awful film, cynically designed to cash in on old fan's and new parent's wallets alike. Thankfully, for those keeping watch on the 'right with the world' count, this sentiment is also true.

The Karate Kid's problems begin pretty early on, as soon as Taraji P. Henson opens her mouth actually. Henson was great in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button amongst other smaller roles but here she is woefully poor, displaying no chemistry with her on-screen son, Dre (Smith) and dead-panning most lines as if from an auto-cue. It's not a great start and, although Henson does pick up later, this coupled with a really slow build up, leaves you struggling to get into the film.

Pace, in fact, is something which The Karate Kid struggles with throughout. The amount of scenes which seem unnecessary or favour dialogue over visuals or action are numerous and in our screening, younger members of the audience were beginning to fidget and lose interest. At twenty minutes over two hours, it is extremely baggy and cutting it down to a more manageable and kid friendly run time seems an obvious option not taken by a director (Harald Zwart) whose last film was The Pink Panther 2.

If you're going to have a dialogue heavy film, the one precursor is that the script must be able to hold it all together. The Karate Kid's doesn't and time and again resorts to cliches and things conveniently happening in just the right locations to function. If this was real life, the amount of times that something crucial happened right outside Mr. Han's (Jackie Chan) front door would give tourists everywhere a new attraction to flock to.

What all this leads to is a film which relies on its few action sequences and the chemistry between Chan and Smith to save it from abject failure. Thankfully, both of these facets deliver and when Chan and Smith are together on screen their dynamic is genuine and occasionally touching. The action, when it arrives, is more brutal than one could be forgiven for expecting in a PG film but it is well choreographed and never feels over-the-top. If your kids can survive the monotonous first half then the payoff will most likely reward them but for fans of the original or the older movie watcher, there's nothing new here and little to hold your interest or perk up your excitement levels.

Look further...

'there are many people out there, myself included, who are against the idea of taking a perfectly fine movie franchise and redoing it so they can "modernize" the characters and the storyline. Why are they/we against it? Because the result is a movie like this' - Geek Boy Movie News, C-


  1. I just couldn't see the point of a Karate Kid remake. It's a shame the film has ended up being pretty average but it was to be expected.

  2. Yes indeed. Agree with both points. Bit of a silly choice for a remake but that would have course been forgotten if the film hadn't been so lackluster.