'Karate Kid' remake does justice to original - Tucson Local Media: El Sol

'Karate Kid' remake does justice to original

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Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 11:00 pm

The buzz surrounding the 2010 reimagining of "The Karate Kid" has been swirling since it was shown at the annual ShoWest film festival in Las Vegas.

Ever since the project was first announced, I had mixed feelings about it, so the positive feedback about the film after its debut at ShoWest was assuring. And now that I was able to see the film, I am wondering why I even questioned the project at all.

The Karate Kid is Harold Zwart's remake of the 1984 classic. Although most of the main plot points are the same, there are a few minor changes.

In the original, a young boy is getting bullied at school. When Mr. Miyagi, a handyman / martial arts master, sees this, he teaches the boy how to defend himself. The remake follows the same plot for the most part, with the exception that it takes place in Beijing, China. Jaden Smith, son of the iconic actor Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, stars as the leading boy Dre Parker. Jackie Chan plays the new Mr. Miyagi, a man by the name of Mr. Han, and Teraji P. Hudson plays Dre's mom.

Smith's performance is incredible, especially given that it's his first time in a leading role. He was good in his supporting performance in "The Pursuit of Happyness" and in his small role in "The Day the Earth," but this was really his first time in the spotlight. He was fantastic.

Chan was good as well, in a role that I feel was made for him: a martial arts master teaching martial arts.

Action in the film was extremely well done, especially given that all of the hand-to-hand fighting is done with kids competing in a kung fu tournament.

The only problem I really had with the film was its pacing. It got off to a really slow start, which I thought made the film longer then it needed to be. If they would have cut maybe 15 minutes off of the beginning, then the film would have been just around the two-hour mark, an appropriate length I feel for this kind of film.

A great family film with something for both kids and adults, all in all The Karate Kid was a really well done remake that would make even Mr. Miyagi himself proud.

Shane Weinstein is a Northwest high school student.

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