Karate Kid 2010 Film Review by Dave

Films are subject to significant criticism; this occurs if they are new and unique, a sequel, or a series. Yet there is nothing more susceptible to close examination and judgment than a ‘remake’- particularly when it’s presented by the Big Bad Wolf that is Hollywood. There is significantly more pressure when a remake attempts to borrow or appropriate from an iconic piece like that of Robert Mark Kamen’s 1984 film, The Karate Kid.


Karate Kid 2010

Karate Kid 2010

There will be oodles of reviews offering comprehensive comparisons between the old school and new school. If this is your heart’s desire, then jump onto Google and go crazy! Maybe even click on some sponsored links while you’re visiting- I’m sure they’d appreciate it.  But you ain’t going to get that here! This whole comparison business can be very exhausting and, often, somewhat futile. I say all this in light of a great deal of respect for Mr Miyagi and Danielson*. Wax on, Wax off! Now go and paint the fence! It’s a beautiful thing.

Jaden Smith & Jackie Chan

Jaden Smith & Jackie Chan

Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan displayed a unique dynamic from the outset. Jaden seemed extremely comfortable with his role as a semi-rebellious only-child trying to find his way in a new continent, China. It was fantastic to see Jaden’s own character bursting through. For a young man, his sense of comedic timing worked swimmingly well with his casual intensity.  His interpretation of Dre Parker seemed effortless. This kid is unquestionably talented. His energetic naïveté was brilliant, especially in contrast to Jackie Chan’s phlegmatic demeanor. The combination was like cheese on toast: unbeatable!

Jackie Chan was also very good. He seems to have this unique ability to stamp his presence on a film without taking the limelight. His acting proffered a humble vehemence perfect for his role as Mr Han, the handyman with a hidden past in Kung Fu. There is a particular scene where Mr Han sits in his car after smashing it with a sledge hammer, painfully reflecting on his tragic family history. Head down, he cries uncontrollably. It was moving. It was almost too real. In a turn of events, its was young Dre who Mr Han turned to for strength in a time of emotional need. This seemed a little odd at first, but in time the viewer understood it was necessary to demonstrate Dre’s strength.

The emotional car scene concluded with a strange shot. In this shot, as Mr Han cries, Dre passes him some training sticks with rope on the end as a symbolic motion suggesting ‘its time to focus and train’. Yet the way these training sticks enter the frame, they seem to appear as a hangman’s noose. In other words, they looked scarily like the device used for execution. This thought only lasted momentarily, but it was all too close for comfort as Jackie Chan cried uncontrollably in the center of the frame. Pain’s too much? Here, have a noose! It shocked me, that’s all I can say. Perhaps I’ve just been watching too much Elizabethan revenge tragedy and I’ve gone bonkers!

Wudang Mountain

Wudang Mountain

No matter who you ask, there is no avoiding the startling beauty of the Chinese setting for the film. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking. Cinematographer Roger Pratt brought the landscape alive with wide sweeping shots of the Great Wall and Wudang Mountain. We also get a sneak peak inside the forbidden city. Katey Rich of Cinemablend argues that you can almost hear the Chinese officials in the background shouting “include that, I will looks great on the postcards!”- suggesting that the showcasing of the Chinese wilderness is forced and unnecessary. I disagree. I think it created a useful- and I might add, picturesque- backdrop for the necessary journey that Dre Parker has to undertake to achieve his character’s emotional and physical development.

According to Boxofficemojo, the film only cost $40 million to produce. For this kind of budget, I think the results were amazing. If I had to guess the budget, I would have guessed closer to $80 million.

I give the film 4 out of 5 reels.

4 Film Reels

* ‘Danielson’ is a lay translation of ‘Daniel-san’. Why does Mr Miyagi call Daniel by this name?

In the Japanese language, -san is a polite title that is used after a person’s name, the equivalent of Mr., Mrs., or Miss. Daniel could just as easily refer to Mr Miyagi as “Miyagi-san”.

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5 Comments on “Karate Kid 2010 Film Review by Dave”

  1. Dave Says:

    Hey Dave! awesome blog, I loved the Karate Kid 1,2,3 and watched them all again recently, haven’t seen this new one yet but it looks awesome and Jaden and Jackie definately put in a massive effort!

    • filmstank Says:

      Hi Dave,

      Thanks for the comment. Let me encourage you to go into the new film with an open mind. It is undoubtedly a very different film- directed mainly towards a younger and geographically larger audience. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

      Looking forward to the new apeshop.com.com being up and running! I need a new phone. Contracts no more! Outright baby!

      Dave @ filmstank

  2. Con G Says:

    Dude, Miyagi calls him “Daniel-san” not “Danielson”. It’s just how Japanese people talk to each other.

    • filmstank Says:

      Dear Con,

      Thanks for the pick-up. I have made a note in the post if you’d like to check. Have you seen the new film? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.


      Dave @ filmstank

      • Con G Says:

        Bro, so polite, it’s fantastic. But yeah, I ment no offense. I have not checke it out, I am too protective of my childhood memories.

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