The Karate Kid (2010 film)
|The Karate Kid|
|Directed by||Harald Zwart|
|Produced by||Jerry Weintraub
Jada Pinkett Smith
|Written by||Christopher Murphey|
|Story by||Robert Mark Kamen|
|Music by||James Horner|
|Edited by||Joel Negron|
China Film Group
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||140 minutes|
The Karate Kid (simplified Chinese: 功夫梦; traditional Chinese: 功夫夢; pinyin: Gōngfu Mèng; literally: "The Kung Fu Dream"; also known as Karate Kid 5) is a 2010 Chinese-American martial arts 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.
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.
12-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)
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. 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." 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.
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. This theory held true in the People's Republic of China, where the film is titled The Kung Fu Dream (Chinese: 功夫梦), and in Japan and South Korea, 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.
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.
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. The score was released on June 15, 2010.
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.
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. "Bang Bang" by K'naan featuring Adam Levine and "Say" by John Mayer are also featured in the movie. 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
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".
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." Metacritic, another review aggregator, rated the film 61/100 based on 37 reviews from mainstream critics.
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." 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". 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".
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."
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 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. 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.
Awards and nominations
- Iconic Movie (Nominated)
- Iconic Movie Actor – Jaden Smith (Nominated)
- Favorite Family Movie (Nominated)
- Favorite On-Screen Team – Jaden Smith & Jackie Chan (Nominated)
- Favorite Action Star – Jackie Chan (Won)
- Favorite Movie (Won)
- Favorite Buttkicker (Jackie Chan) (Won)
- Favorite Movie Actor (Jaden Smith) (Nominated)
- Biggest Badass Star (Jaden Smith) (Nominated)
- Best Leading Young Actor in a Feature Film (Jaden Smith) (Won)
- 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. On June 25, 2014, Jeremiah Friedman and Nick Palmer announced to write the film's script.
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- Official website
- The Karate Kid at the Internet Movie Database
- The Karate Kid at Box Office Mojo
- The Karate Kid at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Karate Kid at Metacritic