The Karate Kid

Posted in Cinema, DVD, English, Reviews by Suganth on November 19, 2010

Harald Zwart’s contemporary take on the 80s cult film is not only faithful to the original but also more violent

Director Harald Zwart’s The Karate Kid is very much a faithful remake of the 1984 original. The director incorporates every single plot point from the original – a single mom and her young son relocating to another city (it’s another country here, China), a local girl for whom the boy develops a crush of sorts, the bullies, a humble maintenance man who also has an other side, a martial arts tournament (no, it’s not karate here), training montages and finally, a underdog becoming the top dog climax – and creates a commendably assembled film. Much of that credit should actually go to the young Jaden Smith, who like his super charismatic dad Will, has a screen presence that lights up the frame. But it is Jackie Chan who is the film’s beating heart. Normally a bundle of energy, the superstar, as Dre’s trainer Han, shines in a restrained performance that resonates with the viewer. Even when his pupil ultimately emerges the winner, this guru’s expression isn’t one of triumph but of contentment. The film seems to be targeted at the 20-something crowd and the amount of on screen violence is so amplified both visually and aurally (you can even hear bones crunch) that it is disconcerting. This might seem as needless nitpicking to some but in a film that has Jackie Chan, who often softened the effect of the fight sequences in his films with a wit or two, it seems a major misstep. The special features are sparse, the only notable one being the option to view the film in regional languages.


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