Starring Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, along Jackie Chan, bring to the big screen the remake of 1984’s The Karate Kid, a cross cultural adaptation depiction and a vivid stand-up towards school bullying.

Dre is a 12 year old who just moved to China due to his mother’s job duties. He finds himself adapting to a new social system and coping with the hardships and missteps he takes in an unfamiliar culture; he is constantly bullied. In order to garner respect, he is forced to enroll in a tournament, so Mr. Han, a maintenance man who knows Kung Fu, must train him to fight back and stand for himself.

It features the usual choreographed Jackie Chan sequences present in all his movies, but seeing Smith junior pulling them off was something different. The combat sequences in fact seemed well rehearsed and utterly well shot, it almost looked real.

Whether the Chinese are good actors or not is not subject to question in this film, as they stay in character when protecting their own cultural craft of the martial arts. Yun Rongguang and Zhenwei Wang, play their parts marvelously as a merciless train-master and as a submissive yet dedicated trainee who also serves as Dre’s bully.

It covers just about every base to make the film worth watching. It references popular culture, throws in humor, a sentimental twinkle and a lesson on finishing what one starts, directly upholding responsibility as well as proposing martial arts as an option for children to develop as a healthy pastime. The film also gives a glimpse to what China has become in the 21st century, leaving behind the archaic notions and stereotypes held by foreign regions towards Asia.

The Karate Kid is highly motivational and is a well delivered message and example to young audiences who might go through the same the main character does. It comes across encouraging commitment, discipline and endurance. It is a children’s movie, but grownups could also use the advice.

★★★★

C.Perez

Watch the trailer below!