The Karate Kid (2010 film)
|The Karate Kid|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Harald Zwart|
|Screenplay by||Christopher Murphey|
|Story by||Robert Mark Kamen|
|Music by||James Horner|
|Edited by||Joel Negron|
|Box office||$359.1 million|
The Karate Kid is a 2010 Chinese-American martial arts action drama film directed by Harald Zwart. It stars Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan and Taraji P. Henson in lead roles, and it was produced by Jerry Weintraub, James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz and Jaden's parents Will and Jada. The screenplay by Christopher Murphey was from the story written by Robert Mark Kamen for the original 1984 film of the same name. Unlike the original, this remake is set in China, and features Kung Fu instead of Karate. The film's music was composed by James Horner.
Principal photography took place in Beijing, China and filming began around July 2009 and ended on October 16, 2009. The Karate Kid was released theatrically worldwide on June 11, 2010 by Sony Pictures. The Karate Kid received mixed reviews and it earned $359.1 million on a $40 million budget. The plot concerns 12-year-old Dre (Smith) from Detroit, Michigan who moves to Beijing, China with his mother (Taraji P. Henson) and runs afoul of the neighborhood bully (Zhenwei Wang). He makes an unlikely ally in the form of an aging maintenance man, Mr. Han (Chan), 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 Sherry gets a job transfer at her car factory. After a day in a Chinese park, Dre develops a crush on a young violinist, Meiying, who reciprocates his attention. Cheng, a rebellious bully kung fu prodigy whose family is close to Meiying's, attempts to keep the two young ones apart by violently attacking Dre and later bullies him at school, as Dre is too weak to stand up for himself. During an attack one day, the maintenance man Mr. Han comes to Dre's aid, revealing himself as an ancient kung fu master.
After Han mends Dre's injuries using fire cupping, Dre asks if Mr. Han could teach him kung fu to get revenge on his attackers. Han refuses, but meets Cheng's teacher Master Li to make peace. Li, who teaches his students to show no mercy to their enemies, insists that Han or Dre must fight his students. Seeing a poster for an open martial arts tournament, Han instead proposes that Dre compete against Li's students there and also requests that the stronger students that Li teaches leave Dre alone to train in time for the tournament, in hopes Dre will no longer be bullied. Li accepts the offer, but tells Han that if Dre does not show up, there will be trouble for both Han and Dre.
Han promises to teach Dre "real" kung fu and begins to train Dre by emphasizing movements that apply to life in general, and that serenity and maturity, not punches and power, are the true keys to mastering the martial art. 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 divine temple in the Wudang Mountains where he trained with his father years ago, and Dre witnesses a woman making a king cobra reflect her movements. He drinks the water from a secret, ancient Chinese well for good luck.
During the course of their training, Han gives Dre a day off and, as Dre's relationship with Meiying continues, he persuades her to cut school for a day of fun. However, when Meiying is nearly late for her violin audition which was brought forward a day without their knowledge, her parents deem Dre a bad influence, forcing Meiying to end her friendship with him. Dismayed, Dre goes to Han that night, only to find him smashing a car he was working on, apparently drunk. Han tells Dre that he crashed the same car years ago during a dispute with his wife, and that 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 help him remember the day they died. Dre works much harder in his training in order to help Han get over the incident. Han assists Dre in reading a note of apology to Meiying's father in Chinese; impressed and forgiving, he accepts and promises that Meiying and her family will attend the tournament to support Dre.
At the tournament, Dre is initially intimidated, but soon begins beating his opponents and advances to the semifinals. Cheng, who finishes off his opponents violently, also does so. Dre comes up against Liang, one of Li's more sympathetic students and the least vicious of Dre's tormentors. Under Li's goading, Liang severely hurts Dre's leg and is disqualified as a result, while Dre is taken to the infirmary.
Despite Han's insistence that he has already earned respect for his performance, Dre convinces him to mend his leg by using the ancient Chinese fire cupping technique in order to continue fighting. Dre returns to the arena to face Cheng in the final battle. After Dre takes the lead, Cheng is told by Li to injure Dre's leg. Dre struggles back up, standing on just one leg, and attempts the reflection technique on Cheng. Cheng begins reflecting Dre's movements and it goads him into charging Dre - but Dre flips in the air and catches Cheng with a kick to his head. He wins the tournament along with the respect of Cheng and his classmates. Cheng, instead of the presenter, awards Dre the trophy, and the Fighting Dragons students bow to Mr. Han in respect, accepting him as their new master - much to Li's dismay.
Li attempts to strike Cheng out of anger for Cheng's failure in the ring, but Han appears and prevents Li from doing so, resulting in a vicious battle with Li. While Li momentarily bests Han, Han pins Li down with a leg to head lock, and angrily reminds him his own rule; no mercy. Before Han attacks his nemesis, Dre appears, and discourages Han from his intentions, and the two leave. As a defeated and humiliated Li rises, as she and Meiying leave, Sherry stops to turn around briefly and punches Li in the jaw, presumably from finding out that he instructed his student to attack her son.
- Jaden Smith as Dre Parker (德瑞∙帕克 Déruì Pàkè) – A young boy from Detroit, Michigan who is bullied by another student, and learns to stand up to him in a kung-fu tournament.
- 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, who is very protective of him.
- Wenwen Han (韩雯雯) as Meiying (美莹 Měiyíng) – Dre's crush who quickly befriends him, and eventually becomes his girlfriend.
- Zhenwei Wang as Cheng (陆伟程 Lù Wěichéng) – The primary 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.
- Luke Carberry as Harry (哈里 Hālǐ) – A boy who also befriends Dre.
- 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.
- Ji Wang (王 姬) as Mrs. Po (博太太 Bó-tàitai) – The principal of Dre's new school.
- Zhensu Wu (武振素) as Meiying's father
- Zhiheng Wang (王志恒) as Meiying's mother
- Yi Zhao (赵 毅) as Zhuang (秦壮壮 Qín Zhuàngzhuàng)
- Cameron Hillman as Mark (马克)
- Ghye Samuel Brown as Oz (奥兹)
- Bo Zhang (张 博) as Song (宋)
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.
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 was released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 5, 2010 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
The Karate Kid received mixed reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 66% based on 203 reviews, and the average rating is 6.2/10. The site's 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." Metacritic, another review aggregator, rated the film 61/100 based on 37 reviews from mainstream critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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".
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
- 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.
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