The Karate Kid (2010 film)

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The Karate Kid
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHarald Zwart
Screenplay byChristopher Murphey
Story byRobert Mark Kamen
Produced by
CinematographyRoger Pratt
Edited byJoel Negron
Music byJames Horner
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing[1] (United States and International)
EDKO (China and Hong Kong)[4]
Release date
  • June 11, 2010 (2010-06-11)
Running time
140 minutes[5]
Budget$40 million[6]
Box office$359.1 million[4]

The Karate Kid is a 2010 martial arts drama film directed by Harald Zwart and produced by Jerry Weintraub, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, James Lassiter, and Ken Stovitz, from a screenplay written by Christopher Murphey, based on a story conceived by Robert Mark Kamen, the writer of the first three Karate Kid films. It serves as the fifth film in The Karate Kid franchise, and stars Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan in the lead roles, with Taraji P. Henson, Wenwen Han, Zhenwei Wang, Luke Carberry, Zhensu Wu, Zhiheng Wang, and Yu Rongguang in supporting roles. While serving as a remake and following a similar narrative as the original The Karate Kid film from 1984, with the setting moved to China, and the martial art changed (despite the film's title) from karate to kung fu, the film is set in the same fictional universe as the previous films, retroactively serving as a standalone sequel to The Next Karate Kid (1994).

The story follows 12-year-old Dre Parker (Smith) from Detroit, Michigan, who moves to Beijing, China with his widowed mother Sherry (Henson) and runs afoul of the neighborhood bully Cheng (Zhenwei Wang). He makes an unlikely ally in the form of an ageing maintenance man, Mr. Han (Chan), a kung fu master who teaches him the secrets of self-defence.

Principal photography of the film, which is an international co-production between China, Hong Kong and the United States, took place in Beijing, China, and filming began in July 2009 and ended on October 16. James Horner composed and conducted the film's score.

Produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Overbrook Entertainment, JW Productions, and China Film Group, The Karate Kid was released theatrically worldwide on June 11, 2010, by Sony Pictures Releasing. The film earned $359 million on a $40 million budget. A sequel is in development for a 2024 release, with Chan reprising his role, alongside Ralph Macchio from the first three films and the television series Cobra Kai.


Dre Parker, a 12-year-old boy living in Detroit and his widowed mother Sherry leave for Beijing after she gets a job transfer at a car factory. There, Dre meets Meiying, a young violinist who reciprocates his attention. However, 15-year-old Cheng, a rebellious Kung Fu prodigy whose family is close to Meiying's, keeps them apart by constantly attacking, teasing and bullying Dre. As revenge, Dre throws a bucket of dirty water over Cheng and his gang after a school field trip to the Forbidden City. Enraged, they chase, corner and brutally beat Dre at an alley. Mr Han, a maintenance man whom he knew previously after doing repairs in their apartment, intervenes and fends off the boys, revealing himself to be a Kung Fu Master.

Mr Han heals Dre's injuries using the ancient Chinese medicine methods of fire cupping. He explains that Cheng and his friends are not inherently bad, but are taught mercilessness to their enemies by their teacher, Master Li. Intrigued, Dre asks if Han could teach him Kung Fu. At first, Mr. Han refuses, but eventually accompanies him to Li's Fighting Dragons studio to make peace. Li harshly rebuffs the peace offer and challenges Dre to a fight with Cheng. Mr. Han instead counters that Dre competes against all of Li's students at an upcoming Kung Fu tournament. He requests that his students leave Dre alone to train until then. Li begrudgingly accepts as long as Dre shows up at the tournament.

Mr. Han begins to teach Dre Kung Fu by emphasizing movements that apply to life in general. He conveys that serenity and maturity, not punches and power, are the keys to mastering Kung fu. Han makes Dre repeatedly take off and pick up his jacket. Through this, Dre develops muscle memory. Mr. Han takes him to a Taoist temple in the Wudang Mountains. There, Dre witnesses a woman making a cobra reflect her movements and later drinks the water from a Taoist well. After many weeks of laborious training, Mr. Han gives Dre a day off. Dre goes to see Meiying, persuading her to cut school for a day of fun. This makes her nearly late for a violin audition, which was originally supposed to be next day but was moved up, and her parents thus deem Dre a bad influence, forbidding her from ever seeing him again.

Dre heads to see Mr. Han, but finds him drunk and depressed, smashing a car he was working on. Mr. Han tearfully explains that he crashed the same car years ago, killing his wife Zhang and 10-year-old son Gong Gong. Every year, he destroys the car on the anniversary of the accident and spends the rest of the year fixing it to punish himself. Dre decides to train harder and help his teacher overcome his trauma. Mr. Han assists Dre in writing and reciting a note of apology in Mandarin to Meiying and her father. Meiying's father accepts Dre's apology. In return, he promises that Meiying will attend the tournament to support Dre since his family never breaks their promises.

At the tournament, the under-confident Dre starts defeating all of his opponents. Enraged, Li orders Liang, one of his students, to injure Dre in the semi-finals. Liang reluctantly does so by delivering a series of crippling blows to Dre's leg. He gets disqualified as a result, and Dre advances to the finals against Cheng. Dre pleads with Mr. Han to heal his leg via the fire cupping method. Realizing this is more about overcoming Dre's fear than anything else, Mr. Han complies.

The final match starts. On Li's orders, Cheng attacks Dre's injured leg. This causes Dre to lose balance. Dre struggles but manages to get up and uses the snake stance he saw at the temple. The move is successful, and Dre catches Cheng with a kick to the head, defeating him. Dre wins the tournament, earning the respect of Cheng and his classmates. Cheng presents Dre with the trophy and all of the Fighting Dragon students bow down to Mr. Han, accepting him as their new master, leaving Li defeated.




A remake of the original Karate Kid entered the development in the late 2008.[8][9] Variety reported at the time 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".[10] Jackie Chan told a Los Angeles Chinatown concert crowd in 2009 that he was leaving for Beijing to film the remake as Jaden Smith's teacher.[9]

Despite maintaining the original title, the 2010 remake does not feature karate, which is from Okinawa (Japan), 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.[11] This theory held true in the People's Republic of China, where the film is titled The Kung Fu Dream (Chinese: 功夫梦).[12] In Japan[13] and South Korea,[14] 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 the title of the film, but Jerry Weintraub, one of the producers, rejected the idea. Weintraub was also the producer of the original Karate Kid.[15]


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.[16] The film began filming in July 2009 and ended on October 16, 2009.


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.[17] The score was released on June 15, 2010.[18]

Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith recorded the official theme song to the film "Never Say Never", written by Adam Messinger, Bieber, Travis Garland, Omarr Rambert, and others, and produced by The Messengers (Adam Messinger and Nasri Atweh). The music video was released on May 31, 2010.[19]

The film started with "Do You Remember" by Jay Sean featuring Sean Paul and Lil Jon. "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 film. 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.[20] "Bang Bang" by K'naan featuring Adam Levine and "Say" by John Mayer are also featured in the movie.[21] 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.


The film premiered May 26, 2010, in Chicago, with appearances by Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, and a brief surprise appearance from Will 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 of the Los Angeles Times said that the editing ultimately resulted in "two slightly different movies".[16][23]

Home media[edit]

The Karate Kid was released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 5, 2010, by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, and it was released on Mastered in 4K Blu-ray on May 14, 2013.


Critical response[edit]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 66% based on 211 reviews, and an average rating of 6.17/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "It may not be as powerful as the 1984 edition, but the 2010 Karate Kid delivers a surprisingly satisfying update on the original".[24] Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[25] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, the highest of the franchise.[26]

Ann Hornaday described Jaden Smith as a "revelation", who "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. Which is precisely why The Karate Kid winds up being so likable itself".[27] 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".[28] 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".[29][30]

Simon Abrams of Slant Magazine gave the film one and a half stars and noted that "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".[31]

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[4] 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.[32] It closed on September 18, after 101 days of release, grossing $176 million in the US and Canada along with an additional $182 million overseas for a worldwide total of $359 million, on a moderate budget of $40 million.[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

People's Choice Awards 2011[33]

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

2011 Kids' Choice Awards[34]

2011 MTV Video Music Aid Japan[35]

2011 MTV Movie Awards[36]

32nd Young Artist Awards[37]

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

2010 Teen Choice Awards[38]

  • Choice Summer: Movie (Nominated)

Additional films[edit]

Shortly after the film's release, a sequel was announced to be in development, with Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan and Taraji P. Henson all reprising their roles. Breck Eisner was initially set to direct,[39] but by June 2014, the film had gained new writers and lost Eisner as the director.[40] In April 2017, Eisner returned as director,[41] but in October, Chan stated that the initial script for the film did not work well.[42]

In August 2023, it was reported that Jackie Chan would be reprising his role from the 2010 film in a new "Karate Kid" film.[43] By November of the same year, Chan officially joined the cast alongside Ralph Macchio in their respective roles as Mr. Han and Daniel LaRusso. The studio announced a world-wide open casting call for an actor to star as the movie's iteration of the titular character. Jonathan Entwistle will serve as director from a script written by Rob Lieber, where the plot will involve a teen from China moving to the east coast and beginning to study martial arts. Karen Rosenfelt will produce the film, with principal photography scheduled to commence in spring 2024.[44] Originally scheduled to be released on June 7, 2024, the film was delayed to December 13, 2024, in part as a result of the 2023 writers and actors strikes.[45][46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "The Karate Kid". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Karate Kid (2010) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "The Karate Kid (2010)". BFI. Archived from the original on September 15, 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d "The Karate Kid". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on September 8, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  5. ^ "THE KARATE KID rated PG by the BBFC". bbfc. Archived from the original on July 16, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  6. ^ 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. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  7. ^ "The Karate Kid Archived October 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine". Film Business Asia. Retrieved on November 10, 2012.
  8. ^ Reynolds, Simon (March 31, 2009). "Movies – News – 'Karate Kid' redo retitled 'Kung Fu Kid'". Digital Spy. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  9. ^ a b Brian Warmoth (May 6, 2009). "'Karate Kid' Remake Keeping Title, Taking Jaden Smith to China". MTV Movie Blog. Viacom. Archived from the original on July 9, 2017.
  10. ^ Fleming, Michael (November 10, 2008). "Jaden Smith set for 'Karate Kid' redo – Entertainment News, Los Angeles, Media". Variety. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  11. ^ Larry Carrol (January 7, 2010). "Jackie Chan Unsure of Karate Kid Remake Title, Reveals Fate of Wax On, Wax Off". MTV. Viacom. Archived from the original on April 6, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2010.
  12. ^ "电影《功夫梦》_影音娱乐_新浪网". Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  13. ^ "映画倫理委員会(映倫) - 審査作品".
  14. ^ "등급자료조회 - 영화온라인등급분류서비스".
  15. ^ Horn, John. "'Karate Kid' update breaks down some Chinese walls". Los Angeles Times. May 30, 2010. Retrieved on August 27, 2012.
  16. ^ a b Horn, John. "'Karate Kid' update breaks down some Chinese walls". Los Angeles Times. May 30, 2012. Retrieved on August 27, 2012.
  17. ^ "Breaking news! James Horner to take over The Karate Kid remake". Film Music Reporter. March 24, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  18. ^ "ScoreKeeper Previews James Horner's Score for The Karate Kid!". Ain't It Cool News. June 3, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  19. ^ "Music Video: Justin Bieber feat. Jaden Smith – Never Say Never" Def Pen Radio; May 31, 2010
  20. ^ Anderson, Kyle (June 1, 2010). "Rain, Drake Score Summer Songs 2010 Write-In Votes". MTV. Viacom.
  21. ^ "Music from Karate Kid". Archived from the original on July 9, 2019. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  22. ^ "PHOTOS: The Karate Kid Chicago Premier". NBC Chicago. May 27, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  23. ^ Wurm, Gerald (April 27, 2014). "Karate Kid, The (Comparison: HK DVD - International Version) -". Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  24. ^ "The Karate Kid (2010) Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  25. ^ "Karate Kid, The reviews at". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  26. ^ Fritz, Ben (June 13, 2010). "The business behind the show". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  27. ^ Ann Hornaday (June 11, 2010). "This old plot has new punch". Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 11, 2012.
  28. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 9, 2010). "The Karate Kid movie review & film summary (2010)". Archived from the original on February 11, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  29. ^ Claudia Puig (June 11, 2010). ""The Karate Kid" remake honors its cinematic ancestors". USA Today.
  30. ^ Owen Gleiberman (June 11, 2010). "Movie Review: The Karate Kid". Entertainment Weekly.
  31. ^ Simon Abrams (June 8, 2010). "Review: The Karate Kid (2010)". Slant Magazine.
  32. ^ "Weekend Estimates: Karate Kid Defeats A-Team". June 13, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  33. ^ "People's Choice Awards: Fan Favorites in Movies, Music & TV -". Archived from the original on June 4, 2011.
  34. ^ "Kids' Choice Awards: Winners Gallery!". Archived from the original on April 9, 2011.
  35. ^ jpopasia. "MTV Video Music Aid Japan Awards 2011 - Nominees". JpopAsia.
  36. ^ "2011 MTV Movie Awards - Awards Show Highlights and Winners -". MTV.
  37. ^ "32nd Annual Young Artist Awards - Nominations / Special Awards".
  38. ^ "Teen Choice Awards 2010 Final Nominees".
  39. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (April 7, 2014). "'Karate Kid 2' Locks Breck Eisner To Helm Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan".
  40. ^ "'Karate Kid 2' Gets New Writers, Loses Director Breck Eisner". ScreenRant. June 26, 2014.
  41. ^ "Breck Eisner Will Direct 'Karate Kid 2' (Jaden Smith & Jackie Chan Return)".
  42. ^ "Jackie Chan Gives Update On Karate Kid Sequel". LRM. October 6, 2017.
  43. ^ Arun Venugopal (August 9, 2023). "Jackie Chan is Set to Reprise his Role in the New 'Karate Kid' Movie". Max Blizz. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  44. ^ Kit, Borys (November 21, 2023). "Jackie Chan, Ralph Macchio Team for New 'Karate Kid' Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 21, 2023. This theory held true in the People's Republic of China, where the film is titled The Kung Fu Dream (Chinese: 功夫梦).
  45. ^ Cite error: The named reference Future_Deadline was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  46. ^ Donnelly, Matt (July 28, 2023). "'Beyond the Spider-Verse' Taken Off Sony Release Calendar as Strikes Delay 'Kraven' and 'Ghostbusters' Sequel to 2024". Variety. Retrieved July 28, 2023.

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