Kung Fu lies in everything. How we put on the jacket. How we take off the jacket. Everything is Kung Fu. – Jackie Chan’s character Mr. Han to Dre (Jaden Smith) in Karate Kid.
If there’s one thing that inflames us more than the abominable sight of Indian adult ‘actors’ like Abhishek Bachchan, Trisha Krishnan, Ajith, Priyanka Chopra and Nayantara go through the motions of acting, it’s to see our child stars (Darsheel Safary excepted) go through the contortions of acting.
So is it any surprise then that we found our Nirvana today in Jaden Smith.
What a Treat
We went for the 4PM ET show of Karate Kid today at a theater on the East Coast only to be turned away at the box office because the show had been sold out. Guess what, even the 6:05PM show was sold out. But this time we’d bought the ticket a couple of hours early.
Folks, the only reason to see Karate Kid is 12-year-old Jaden Smith.
The kid is an absolute treat to watch on the big screen.
Charming when he’s boasting of his non-existent talents in the park, engaging when he’s got the sly, impish look on his face with his young crush Mei Ying, attractive when he’s training with his Kung-Fu instructor Mr.Han and good even when he’s licked, be it in the park at ping-pong or in a fight with the bullies.
Sheer dynamite and makes it worth the $10.50 ticket price.
We saw him briefly in the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness for which father Will Smith got an Academy Award nomination. But here in Karate Kid he takes center stage and gets first billing in the credits, ahead of even Jackie Chan.
Forget the retards like Abhishek and Ajith, Jaden outshines even the so-called Bollywood superstars Shahrukh Khans, Aamir Khans, Akshay Kumars, Salman Khans and Hrithik Roshans. No, that ain’t no hyperbole,just the sad, doggone truth.
By now, just as all ye schmucks know Jaden is Will Smith’s son, you sure as hell are also aware that Karate Kid (2010) is a remake of the over quarter-century-old Karate Kid (1984). Right?
Of course, all ye dolts will mutter that Jaden got the role because his Papa and Mama are the co-producers.
Hey, you may have mumbled sotto voce but we heard you alright.
Putzheads, forget not that when the camera is switched on, it’s Jaden Smith on whom the arc-lights shine not papa Smith.
And the kid does deliver in ample measure.
Predictable Story, Shining Execution
Sure, the Karate Kid movie follows the predictable arc of the 1984 film.
Even, if like us you’ve not seen the original you know how things will play out in this one. No big surprises here.
But where the movie comes into its own is in the solid execution of a familiar story, besides Jade’s fine performance as the bullied kid Drei Parker that is.
Only the setting is transformed to the happening country China where Dre’s widowed mother Mrs.Parker (Taraji Henson), a car factory employee, is transferred.
No sooner is Dre in China than he falls foul of a vicious bully Cheng (a fine performance by Zhenwei Wang) who repeatedly knocks the stuffing out of the American kid after he sees him in the park with a pretty young girl Mei Ying on whom our Dre instantly develops a crush.
To Dre’s great distress, Cheng happens to be in the same school and with his cohorts continues his cruel bullying and beatings.
When the beatings get severe, Drei’s apartment maintenance manager Mr. Han (the Hong Kong super-star Jackie Chan) steps in and takes the kid under his wings, setting the stage for some fine and humorous moments of unusual Kung Fu training and interaction between the 56-year-old Asian super-star and the 12-year American kid
The movie canters along with nary a dull moment in the 135-minutes.
The camera work, with the expected shots of the Great Wall, Forbidden City et al, is pleasing.
And the ending featuring the Kung-Fu competition is exactly as you anticipated it to be. Nothing you didn’t expect to happen ever happens in this film.
But for once that’s really not a negative here.
What’s a Hollywood movie without some romantic touches, eh?
So, Dre’s crush on the young violinist Mei Ying provides that for you. Hey, there’s even a smooch between the adorable kids!
Jackie Chan – A Delight
And to all Jackie Chan fans, we say that the 56-year-old actor’s charms are intact.
With his shuffling gait and calm demeanor (except for that single breakdown), Chan is a fine contrast to the ebullient, chatty Dre.
By the way, Tamil actor Kamal Haasan is the same age and what a world of difference exists between the two.
Jackie Chan makes it all look effortless, as if he’s not acting. Kamal Haasan, in contrast, often appears to be straining for the right effect and ends up melodramatic.
Your Kids Deserve It
Besides Jaden’s acting that you’ll certainly relish, Karate Kid is a movie your kids too will enjoy.
During our show, the loud laughs and claps were ample evidence that the kids in the hall, who outnumbered the grownups, had a rollicking time.
Go ahead, all ye niggardly, conjoos desi bastards, give your brats a treat. Take them to Karate Kid.
Looking forward to it, particularly i was very impressed with the kids little role in Pursuit of happiness. LMAO when you said he’s better than the khans and trash kumar.. true 1000%
Just watched Michael Douglas starrer Falling down, the movie was great and it was definitely a “inspiration” for shankar’s society-bashing movies like Indian, Anniyan as he would say and further its total rip-off was Madhavan starrer Evano Oruvan which was infact a tamil version of Marati movie Dombivili Fast
I would highly recommend you to watch the movie for the perfomance of Michael Douglas and in general the problems that plague our society even today…
Here’s the link for one of the good scenes from the movie
“Sorry, miserable, squashed thing”
Ha ha ha. We like that. Will definitely watch the movie.
By the way, were you aware that Michael Douglas’ new movie Solitary Man is receiving rave reviews here. It’s in limited release even here and we doubt the movie will ever make it to India.
I gave up my plans of watching karate kid since the rating on imdb is not so impressive. But from your review it seems the movie is not so bad and I am off to the theatre in a couple of hours.
You haven’t mentioned anything about the fight sequences. I was not impressed with the original version in that regard.
The fight sequences are nothing extraordinary. Maybe, a few good moves here and there (during the training and the competition at the end).
Truth be said, Karate Kid is really very little about Karate or Kung-Fu.
If you have kids, take them along. As we said in the review, the kids present during our show enjoyed it thoroughly.
From when people start believing in imdb ratings?
It is not a parameter for which film is good or not.
It is just a rating meter given by audiences.
Karate Kid got low ratings because number of original karate kid fans were unhappy with remake and they vent their anger towards film by giving it low ratings.
Karate Kid has got great start at American box-office with 18.8 million $ and having a better gross than Will Smith’s Men In Black II and a better per screen average than Jackie Chan’s previous movie Rush Hour 3.
You Write Above: From when people start believing in imdb ratings? It is not a parameter for which film is good or not.
For instance, Rotten Tomatoes (on which many SI blog readers swear as their Bible/Gita/Koran) gave 86% rating to the crappy Bollywood film Kites. Source: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10012379-kites/
86% for that trash! Ha ha ha.
I agree that the ratings are not accurate all the time.
But what would you do when you have multiple movies releasing every week and you have only one day to spare. There has to be some filtering done.
I normally go with SI and imdb. imdb is the only reason i have seen some gorgeous movies like its a wonderful life, leon, it happened one night, M, Unforgiven, pan’s labyrinth, secret in their eyes and many more.
To be honest this is the first time I have to totally disagree with the imdb ratings. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and so did everyone in the theatre.
BTW kites has a low rating in imdb. I dont trust rottentomatoes. For instance Hurt locker has a 97% rating which is ridiculous. For me its just an overhyped movie.
Ah, you have seen Secret in Their Eyes. Fine movie.
Watched and reviewed it recently. Unlikely that the folks in India will ever get to see it in the theater.
If the movie is about teaching Kung fu, shouldn’t it be called Kung fu kid than the Karate Kid.
(Darn, we processed this comment twice via iPhone while having dinner at an Indian restaurant and yet our response disappeared. Shows WordPress on iPhone is still work in progress.)
As for the name:
1. Kung Fu Kid has the sound of a C-grade Chinese flick. 🙁
2. Plus, the new movie was a remake of the successful 1984 film of the same name. Maybe, they wanted to leverage the cachet of the old film.
In China and Japan Karate Kid is known as ‘Kung Fu Kid’.
So the filmmakers have partially approved your request.
I saw it the first day itself for the only reason that it has Jackie Chan.:P
Wonderful movie. I never for once thought that Jaden would be so brilliant.
Jaden and Jackie together were a delight to watch on the screen.
Btw you never said anything about Jackie’s acting.
We were so caught up with the kid that we ignored the others. Jackie Chan was a charm.
We’ve now added a short paragraph on Jackie Chan to the review. Since Jackie Chan is the same age as Kamal Haasan, we also compared the two in the para.
The title of Superstar fits Jackie Chan more than Rajnikanth.
I’ve always been a big fan of Jackie.
Thanks for that para on Jackie, SI.
But sad that he is getting old now 🙁
The curse of wrinkles and mortality spares none.
None can beat kamal in his natural lip-locks…i think jackie is a bit shy in that department :-p
Looking at the plethora of action films he has done, he is a good stuntsman but as an actor ? quite not that good.
Jackie Chan was pretty good in Karate Kid.
BTW, have you seen the movie?
Looks like the film had a simultaneous release in India.
Good? He is THE BEST.
As an actor, he does do an acceptable job. Can’t say he is a bad actor.
There is always a lee…Bruce lee is the best…but, action flicks seldom show any scope for acting so its fair not to expect much…also there is the greatest action hero of all time : Arnold who brought the future robot in to reality but u gotta hit him hard in his crotch just to get a little something on his face..He is the paradigm of a robot
Ah, Bruce Lee. Of course. If it were not for Lee and his movies, the martial arts genre would have perished long ago and stars like Jackie Chan would possibly never have come into the lime light.
After all, Chan started as a stuntman in Bruce Lee movies.
Bruce Lee still remains as the undisputed King of Kung fu.
@SI.. have u watched any of Bruce Lee’s movies?
The guy just did four movies(as the main star) but made an impression that would last forever.
As for Arnold, I’ve only seen a few of his movies. They were good.
Seen Enter the Dragon & one or two other Bruce Lee flicks.
Oh, When did you watch them?
The Bruce Lee films? Some centuries back.
They seemed alright then.
Nope. We have decided not to bust it on KK as we are in a tough financial constraints..decided to go for Raavan/Ravaanan..
Sent you two e-mails. Please read them both.
Read ’em. Thinking about it.
the comments are back!!?? already.
k… wanted to rally for animation once again.. got a quote from Miyazaki. Try to watch his films.
“It has always been my sincere hope that you will watch animation from the perspective of your own, real life.” -Hayao Miyazaki, Starting Point
Will try to watch his Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.
As you say its a crime not to watch his movies. Since all his movies are drawings the minor details are there because he gave importance to those. Simply brilliant.
no OLDBOY review yet?? Busy with other jobs??
No problem. I will be waiting……!!!
Yeah, some unexpected events. Will be busy for the next 4-5 days.
BTW i missed one thing…. can u please recommend me some really scary movies….please!!!!
Want Really Scary movies?
Pick any Ajith or Abhishek Bachchan movie and you can’t go wrong. 😉
Seriously, offhand can only think of Halloween…not very scary but good. Nice music too. Just purchased the Halloween theme music (John Carpenter) from iTunes. Playing in background. Spooky.
Watch Ring and Grudge…pretty scary
The Exorcist was probably the scariest movie that I have ever seen..
but I was 8 years old when I saw it (not when it was released).. Couldn’t sleep properly for about a week, probably more.. wicked! Nowadays no movie scares me.. old age is boring..
To (mis)quote Staff Sergeant William James from The Hurt Locker :
The Hurt Locker wasn’t bad, IMHO.. it definitely had more scope for the director than what that Cameron movie(forgot its name) had.. But Avatar should have won Best Picture atleast.. it was magnificent to watch.
We’ve read and seen both The Exorcist and Omen when we were pretty young. Maybe time to revisit them.
Omen 3 was bad, I’m not sure but I was young and had liked 1st and 2nd.. was atmospheric and intense.
used to see every horror movie and creature feature.. then one day, the scares were not there…
Then came ‘Event Horizon’ .. when I came back from the show, the lady with eyes gouged out was there in the dark corners of the stairs to my house. It was surreal.
now everything seems predictible and ‘Drag me to hell’ was good with the regular sudden jerks in sound to scare … Pan’s Labyrinth was more scarier, cause it deals with the reality of tyrants and the vagueness of the dreamworld.. that’s one damn beautiful and scary movie ‘PAN’S LABYRINTH’
Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the finest movies we’ve seen. The photography in some parts was like a beautiful painting.
Horror?? Watch Shining, Alien & Aliens, Descent, The Thing, Exorcist, Omen, Haute Tension. All are good.
I forgot one of the best I’ve seen. let the right one in (its a swedish movie and you might need to go with the subtitles). Easily one of the best, if not the best, recent horror movies.
Here’s what we wrote last year: Let the Right One In – Lovely Horror Film.
The real horror show. Watch the video from 5:00. till the end. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWvoRjwZfKE
Afro beat? Ha ha ha.
More like a desperate mating call by an African chimp in heat. 😉
Too hilarious for words. Must watch from 5:00
SI, can you please post this video in your blog. People can watch and have a hearty laugh.
Simbhu’s Tragedy – A Tamil Comedy
Saw Prince of Persia yesterday.
Wonderful movie. I’m a big fan of the game and so it was with a lot of expectations I went to watch the movie. I’m glad it didn’t disappoint me.
Awesome visuals, gripping story, witty dialogs,impressive acting and a racy screenplay.
What more could I’ve asked for?