The Karate Kid (2010 film)

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The Karate Kid
Karate kid ver2.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Harald Zwart
Produced by Jerry Weintraub
Will Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith
James Lassiter
Ken Stovitz
Screenplay by Christopher Murphey
Story by Robert Mark Kamen
Starring Jaden Smith
Jackie Chan
Music by James Horner
Cinematography Roger Pratt
Edited by Joel Negron
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • June 11, 2010 (2010-06-11)
Running time
140 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[2]
Box office $359,126,022[3]

The Karate Kid (simplified Chinese: 功夫梦; traditional Chinese: 功夫夢; pinyin: Gōngfu Mèng; Wade–Giles: Kung1-fu-meng4; literally: "The Kung Fu Dream"; also known as Karate Kid 5[4]) is a 2010 Chinese-American martial arts drama film directed by Harald Zwart. It stars Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, and it was produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. It is a remake of the 1984 film of the same name and the fifth installment of the Karate Kid series, serving as a reboot.[5]

Principal photography took place in Beijing, China; filming began around July 2009 and ended on October 16, 2009. The Karate Kid was released theatrically in the United States on June 11, 2010. The plot concerns a 12-year-old boy from Detroit, Michigan who moves to Beijing, China with his mother and runs afoul of the neighborhood bully. He makes an unlikely ally in the form of his aging maintenance man, Mr. Han, a kung fu master who teaches him the secrets of self-defense.


Twelve-year-old Dre Parker and his mother Sherry move from Detroit to Beijing after getting a job transfer at a car factory. After a day in a park, Dre develops a crush on a young violinist, Meiying, who reciprocates his attention, but a 14-year old boy named Cheng, a rebellious kung fu prodigy whose family is close to Meiying's, attempts to keep them apart by beating Dre, and later bullies him at school. During an attack, the maintenance man Mr. Han comes to Dre's aid, revealing himself as a kung fu master.

After Han mends Dre's injuries using fire cupping, Dre asks if Mr. Han could teach him kung fu. Han refuses, but meets Cheng's teacher, Master Li, to make peace. Li, who teaches his students to show no mercy to their enemies, challenges Dre to a fight with Cheng. Han instead proposes that Dre compete against Li's students at an open kung fu tournament, and also requests the students leave Dre alone to train. Li accepts the offer, but tells Han that if Dre does not show up during the tournament he will personally bring pain to Han and Dre.

Han promises to teach Dre "real" kung fu. Han begins training Dre, by emphasing movements that apply to life in general, and that serenity and maturity, not punches and power, are the true keys to mastering the martial arts. He teaches this by having Dre go through various actions with his jacket, which teaches Dre muscle memory moves. Han then takes Dre to a temple in the Wudang Mountains where he trained with his father, and Dre witnesses a woman making a cobra reflect her movements and Han allows Dre to drink the water from a magical well.

As Dre's friendship with Meiying continues, Dre persuades Meiying to cut school for a day of fun, but when she is nearly late for her violin audition which was brought forward a day without their knowledge, her parents deem him a bad influence and forbid her from spending more time with him.

During the course of their training, Han gives Dre a day off. Dre goes to Han that night and finds Han, apparently drunk, smashing a car he was working on. Han tells Dre that he crashed the same car years ago. His wife and ten-year old son were with him and died in the car crash. Han fixes the car every year but smashes it to remind himself of what happened. Dre shows Han the kung fu techniques he has learned while his mother arrives and watches him. Dre works much harder in his training to help Han forget about the incident. Han assists Dre in reading a note of apology to Meiying's father in Chinese; he accepts and promises that Meiying attend the tournament to support Dre.

At the tournament, the under-confident Dre is slow to achieve parity with his opponents, but soon begins beating them and advances to the semifinals, as does Cheng, who violently finishes off his opponents. Dre comes up against Liang, one of Li's more sympathetic students, who (under Li's goading) severely hurts Dre's leg and Liang is disqualified as a result, while Dre is taken to the infirmary.

Despite Han's insistence that he has earned respect for his performance, Dre convinces Han to mend his leg by using fire cupping in order to continue. Dre returns to the arena, facing Cheng. Dre delivers impressive blows, but Cheng counters with a strike to Dre's leg. Dre struggles to get up, and attempts the reflection technique to manipulate Cheng into changing his attack stance. Cheng begins reflecting Dre's movements and it goads him into charging Dre, but Dre flips and catches Cheng with a kick to his head, winning the tournament along with the respect of Cheng and his classmates. Cheng, instead of the presenter, awards Dre the trophy, and the Fighting Dragon students bow to Mr. Han, accepting him as their new master, much to Li's dismay.


  • Jaden Smith as Dre Parker (德瑞∙帕克 Déruì Pàkè)
    A young boy from Detroit, Michigan who is bullied by a kung fu student, and must learn to stand up to him.
  • Jackie Chan as Mr. Han (S: 韩先生, T: 韓先生, P: Hán-xiānsheng)
    The maintenance man who teaches Dre kung fu.
  • Taraji P. Henson as Sherry Parker (雪莉∙帕克 Xuělì Pàkè)
    Dre's mother. She is very protective of Dre.
  • Wenwen Han (韩雯雯) as Meiying (美莹 Měiyíng)
    Dre's crush who quickly befriends him.
  • Zhenwei Wang as Cheng (陆伟程 Lù Wěichéng[6])
    The main antagonist and student of Master Li.
  • Yu Rongguang as Master Li (李师傅 Lǐ-shīfu)
    A Kung Fu teacher who instructs his students to be merciless towards their enemies.
  • Ming Xu as Bao
  • Ji Wang (王 姬) as Mrs.Po (博太太 Bó-tàitai)
    The principal of Dre's new school.
  • Shijia Lü (吕世佳) as Liang (梁子浩 Liáng Zǐhào)
    A classmate of Cheng's who is instructed by Master Li to cripple Dre during the tournament.
  • Yi Zhao (赵 毅) as Zhuang (秦壮壮 Qín Zhuàngzhuàng)
  • Zhensu Wu (武振素) as Meiying's Father
  • Zhiheng Wang (王志恒) as Meiying's Mother
  • Cameron Hillman as Mark (马克)
  • Ghye Samuel Brown as Oz (奥兹)
  • Tess Liu as History teacher
  • Harry Van Gorkum as Music instructor
  • Bowen Sheng as himself
  • Bo Zhang (张 博) as Song (宋)
  • Luke Carberry as Harry (哈里 Hālǐ)
    A boy who also befriends Dre.
  • Sarah Beckley as one of the students on the excursion
  • James Haobijam as one of the students


On November 10, 2008, Variety reported that work on a Karate Kid remake had begun.[7][8] Variety stated that the new film, to be produced by Will Smith, "has been refashioned as a star vehicle for Jaden Smith" and that it would "borrow elements from the original plot, wherein a bullied youth learns to stand up for himself with the help of an eccentric mentor."[9] On June 22, 2009, Jackie Chan told a Los Angeles Chinatown concert crowd that he was leaving for Beijing to film the remake as Jaden Smith's teacher.[8]

Despite maintaining the original title, the 2010 remake does not feature karate, which is from Okinawa, but focuses on the main character learning kung fu in China. Chan told interviewers that film cast members generally referred to the film as The Kung Fu Kid, and he believed the film would only be called The Karate Kid in America, and The Kung Fu Kid in China.[10] This theory held true in the People's Republic of China, where the film is titled The Kung Fu Dream (Chinese: 功夫梦),[11] and in Japan[12] and South Korea,[13] where the film is titled Best Kid (Japanese: ベスト・キッド; Korean: 베스트 키드) after the local title of the 1984 film in both countries.

Sony had considered changing title of the film, but Jerry Weintraub, one of the producers, rejected the idea. Weintraub was also the producer of the original Karate Kid.[14]


The Chinese government granted the filmmakers access to the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, and the Wudang Mountains. On some occasions the filmmakers had to negotiate with residents who were not accustomed to filming activity.[15]


Icelandic composer Atli Örvarsson was originally hired to score the film, but he was replaced by American composer James Horner. The Karate Kid marked Horner's return to scoring after his work on the 2009 film Avatar.[16] The score was released on June 15, 2010.[17]

The official theme song to the film is "Never Say Never", a song written by Adam Messinger, Justin Bieber, Travis Garland, Omarr Rambert, and others, and produced by The Messengers (Adam Messinger and Nasri Atweh). It is performed by Bieber and Jaden Smith. The music video was released on May 31, 2010.[18]

The film started with "Do You Remember" by Jay Sean. "Remember the Name" by Fort Minor was used in the trailer to promote the movie. Parts of the song, "Back in Black" by AC/DC and "Higher Ground" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, were also used in the movie. The song "Hip Song" by Rain is used for promotion in the Asian countries and it appeared in the trailer. The music video was released on May 22, 2010.[19] "Bang Bang" by K'naan featuring Adam Levine and "Say" by John Mayer are also featured in the movie.[20] It also features Lady Gaga's "Poker Face", Flo Rida's "Low" and Gorillaz' "Dirty Harry" (being performed in Chinese). An abbreviated form of Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne No. 20 is featured, arranged for strings, in Meiying's violin audition scene, along with Sergei Rachmaninoff's piano transcription of "Flight of the Bumblebee" by Rimsky-Korsakov.

Release and reception[edit]

The film premiered May 26 in Chicago, with appearances by Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, and a brief surprise appearance from Will Smith.[21]

The United Kingdom premiere was held July 15. It was attended by Chan and Smith, as well as producers Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.[22]

In the Mainland China version of the film, scenes of bullying were shortened by the censors, and a kissing scene is removed. John Horn said that the editing ultimately resulted in "two slightly different movies".[15]

Critical response[edit]

The Karate Kid received generally positive reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 66% based on 201 reviews, with an average score of 6.2/10. Rotten Tomatoes has said that "It may not be as powerful as the 1984 edition, but the 2010 Karate Kid delivers a surprisingly satisfying update on the original."[23] Metacritic, another review aggregator, rated the film 61/100 based on 37 reviews from mainstream critics.[24]

Ann Hornaday described Jaden Smith as a revelation, and that he "proves that he's no mere beneficiary of dynastic largesse. Somber, self-contained and somehow believable as a kid for whom things don't come easily, he never conveys the sense that he's desperate to be liked. 'The Karate Kid' winds up being so likable itself."[25] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it a positive review, rating the film three and a half out of four stars, and calling it "a lovely and well-made film that stands on its own feet".[26] Claudia Puig of USA Today and Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly each rated the film a 'B', stating "the chemistry between Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan grounds the movie, imbuing it with sincerity and poignance" and that the film is "fun and believable".[27][28]

Some critics took notice that the film's characters are much younger than in the original film; they also noted what they believe the filmmakers' unrealistic and inappropriate characterizations were. Simon Abrams of Slant Magazine gave the film one and a half stars and noted "The characters just aren't old enough to be convincing in their hormone-driven need to prove themselves" and "This age gap is also a huge problem when it comes to the range that these kids bring to the project" and noted the portrayal of the child antagonist Cheng includes an "overblown and overused grimace, which looks like it might have originally belonged to Dolph Lundgren, looks especially silly on a kid that hasn't learned how to shave yet." Finally, Abrams noted "What's most upsetting is Dre's budding romance with Meiying. These kids have yet to hit puberty and already they're swooning for each other."[29]

Box office[edit]

The film was released on June 11, 2010 by Columbia Pictures to 3,663 theaters across the United States. The Karate Kid topped the box office on its opening day, grossing $18.8 million, and in its opening weekend, grossing $56 million[3] in North America, beating The A-Team, which grossed an estimated $9.6 million on the same opening day, and $26 million in its opening weekend.[30] It closed on September 18, 2010, after 101 days of release, grossing $176.7 million in the US and Canada along with an additional $182 million overseas for a worldwide total of $358 million, on a moderate budget of $40 million.[3]

Awards and nominations[edit]

People's Choice Awards 2011[31]

  • Favorite Family Movie (Nominated)
  • Favorite On-Screen Team – Jaden Smith & Jackie Chan (Nominated)
  • Favorite Action Star – Jackie Chan (Won)

2011 Kids' Choice Awards[32]

2011 MTV Video Music Aid Japan[33]

2011 MTV Movie Awards[34]

32nd Young Artist Awards[35]

  • Best Leading Young Actor in a Feature Film (Jaden Smith) (Won)

2010 Teen Choice Awards[36]

  • Choice Summer: Movie (Nominated)


It was announced in June 2010 that Sony's Columbia Pictures would be developing a sequel with Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, and Taraji P. Henson reprising their roles as Dre, Mr Han, and Dre's mother, Sherry, respectively.

It was announced in April 2014 that Breck Eisner will helm the sequel as director with Chan and Smith confirmed to return.[37] On June 25, 2014, Jeremiah Friedman and Nick Palmer announced to write the film's script.[38]


  1. ^ "THE KARATE KID rated PG by the BBFC". bbfc. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  2. ^ Fritz, Ben (June 10, 2010). "Movie projector: 'The Karate Kid' and 'The A-Team' fight it out in battle of the '80s". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved June 12, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Karate Kid". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ Chan, Jackie (June 26, 2010). "’The Karate Kid Worldwide Promotional Tour - The Official Website of Jackie Chan". Retrieved 2011-02-23. ...The Karate Kid, which is called "Kung Fu Dream" in Chinese. 
  5. ^ "’'Karate Kid' Reboot Has 'A Different Vibe,' Ralph Macchio". June 17, 2010. Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  6. ^ "The Karate Kid." Film Business Asia. Retrieved on November 10, 2012.
  7. ^ "Movies – News – 'Karate Kid' redo retitled 'Kung Fu Kid'". Digital Spy. March 31, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b Brian Warmoth (May 6, 2009). "'Karate Kid' Remake Keeping Title, Taking Jaden Smith to China". MTV Movie Blog. Viacom. 
  9. ^ Fleming, Michael (November 10, 2008). "Jaden Smith set for 'Karate Kid' redo – Entertainment News, Los Angeles, Media". Variety. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  10. ^ Larry Carrol (January 7, 2010). "Jackie Chan Unsure of Karate Kid Remake Title, Reveals Fate of Wax On, Wax Off". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved January 16, 2010. 
  11. ^ "电影《功夫梦》_影音娱乐_新浪网". Retrieved 2010-10-04. 
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  14. ^ Horn, John. "'Karate Kid' update breaks down some Chinese walls." Los Angeles Times. May 30, 2012. 2. Retrieved on August 27, 2012.
  15. ^ a b Horn, John. "'Karate Kid' update breaks down some Chinese walls." Los Angeles Times. May 30, 2012. 1. Retrieved on August 27, 2012.
  16. ^ "Breaking news! James Horner to take over The Karate Kid remake". Film Music Reporter. March 24, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  17. ^ "ScoreKeeper Previews James Horner's Score for The Karate Kid!". Ain't It Cool News. June 3, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Music Video: Justin Bieber feat. Jaden Smith – Never Say Never" Def Pen Radio; May 31, 2010
  19. ^ Anderson, Kyle (June 1, 2010). "Rain, Drake Score Summer Songs 2010 Write-In Votes". MTV. Viacom. 
  20. ^ "Music from Karate Kid". Retrieved 2010-11-15. 
  21. ^ "PHOTOS: The Karate Kid Chicago Premier". NBC Chicago. Retrieved 2010-10-04. 
  22. ^ Sarah Bull (July 16, 2010). "Heavily pregnant Natalie Cassidy shows off her curves in EXTREMELY tight LBD at Karate Kid premiere". The Daily Mail (London). 
  23. ^ "The Karate Kid (2010) Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 24, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Karate Kid, The reviews at". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved July 24, 2010. 
  25. ^ Ann Hornaday (June 11, 2010). "This old plot has new punch". Washington Post. 
  26. ^ Roger Ebert (June 9, 2010). "A faithful remake, well done". Chicago Sun-Times.  3.5/4 stars
  27. ^ Claudia Puig (June 11, 2010). ""The Karate Kid" remake honors its cinematic ancestors". USA Today. 
  28. ^ Owen Gleiberman (June 11, 2010). "Movie Review: The Karate Kid". Entertainment Weekly (Time Inc.). 
  29. ^ Simon Abrams (June 8, 2010). "Review for The Karate Kid". Slant Magazine. 
  30. ^ "Weekend Estimates: Karate Kid Defeats A-Team". June 13, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
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  38. ^ Kit, Borys (June 26, 2014). "'Karate Kid 2' Lands New Writers". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 

External links[edit]