The Karate Kid (2010 film)
|The Karate Kid|
|Directed by||Harald Zwart|
|Screenplay by||Christopher Murphey|
|Story by||Robert Mark Kamen|
|Edited by||Joel Negron|
|Music by||James Horner|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing (International)|
EDKO (China and Hong Kong)
132 minutes (Hong Kong/China cut)
|Box office||$359.1 million|
The Karate Kid, known in China as The Kung Fu Dream, is a 2010 wuxia martial arts drama film directed by Harald Zwart, and part of The Karate Kid series. It stars Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan in lead roles, and it was produced by Jerry Weintraub, James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz and Jaden's parents Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. The plot concerns 12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) from Detroit, Michigan who moves to Beijing, China with his mother (Taraji P. Henson) and runs afoul of the neighborhood bully Cheng (Zhenwei Wang). He makes an unlikely ally in the form of an aging maintenance man, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), a kung fu master who teaches him the secrets of self-defense. The screenplay by Christopher Murphey was from the story written by Robert Mark Kamen for the original The Karate Kid. Unlike the original, this remake is set in China, and, despite the movie's misleading title, features Kung Fu instead of Japanese-Okinawan Karate. The film's music was composed by James Horner. It is an international co-production between China, Hong Kong, and the United States.
Principal photography took place in Beijing, China, and filming began in July 2009 and ended on October 16, 2009. The Karate Kid was released theatrically worldwide on June 11, 2010, by Sony Pictures. The film earned $359 million on a $40 million budget.
12-year-old Dre Parker and his widowed mother Sherry, are leaving Detroit travelling to Beijing after Sherry gets a job transfer at a car factory. Dre goes to a nearby park where he eyes a young violinist, Meiying, who reciprocates his attention, but a 14-year-old Chinese boy named Cheng, a rebellious Kung Fu prodigy whose family is close to Meiying's, holds a grudge against Dre and keeps them apart by brutally attacking, teasing and bullying Dre every time he gets the chance to. After a school field trip to the Forbidden City, Dre throws a bucket of dirty water over Cheng and his gang as revenge, enraging them. They chase him across the city streets, corner him at a backstreet alley, and brutally beat Dre up until he is saved by the maintenance man, Mr. Han, who fends off the boys and reveals himself to be a Kung Fu master.
Mr. Han heals Dre's injuries using Ancient Chinese medicine methods of fire cupping as he tells him that Cheng and his friends are not inherently bad, but made so by their teacher Master Li, who teaches his students to show no mercy towards their enemies. Intrigued, Dre asks if Mr. Han could teach him Kung Fu. Mr. Han refuses and brings him to meet Li at the Fighting Dragon studio to make peace. Li harshly rebuffs the peace offer and challenges Dre to a fight with Cheng. Mr. Han instead proposes that Dre compete against Li's students one-on-one at the upcoming open Kung Fu tournament, requesting that his students leave Dre alone to train for the tournament. Li begrudgingly agrees to the terms as long as Dre shows up at the tournament.
Mr. Han promises to teach Dre Kung Fu and begins to train him by emphasizing movements that apply to life in general. He conveys that serenity and maturity, not punches and power, are the true keys to mastering the martial art. He teaches this by having Dre perform repetitive motions using his jacket, which teaches Dre real muscle memory moves. Han takes Dre 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 an ancient Taoist well. After many weeks of grueling and laborious training, Mr. Han soon gives Dre a day off. Dre goes to see Meiying, persuading her to cut school for a day of fun. She is nearly late for a violin audition that was pushed up a day without her knowledge. Her parents thus deem Dre a bad influence and forbid her from ever seeing him again.
Dre heads to see Mr. Han, but finds him apparently drunk and depressed, smashing the car he was working on. A devastated Mr. Han tearfully explains to Dre that he crashed the same car years ago, and that his wife and 10-year-old son were killed in the crash. He fixes the car every year but smashes it to remind himself of what happened; this inspires Dre to train harder to help his teacher overcome his trauma and get past the incident. Mr. Han assists Dre in writing and reciting a note of apology in Mandarin to Meiying's father, who accepts Dre's gift and apology, promising that Meiying will attend the tournament to support Dre.
At the tournament, the under-confident Dre is slow to achieve parity with his competition but soon begins beating them and advances to the semifinals. Cheng does the same by violently finishing off his opponents. Dre then beats Master Li's students, causing Li to order one of his students named Liang, Dre's semi-final opponent, to injure Dre. Liang reluctantly does so by delivering a series of crippling blows to Dre's leg, resulting in an automatic disqualification. Dre can advance to the final to face Cheng but has limited time to return to the ring or Cheng will claim the trophy by default. Dre pleads with Mr. Han to heal his leg via the fire cupping method. Mr. Han reluctantly does so when Dre tells him that he just wants to overcome his fear. Thus, Dre is set to face Cheng in the final.
The match goes back and forth with Dre gaining a 2-to-1 lead. On Li's orders, Cheng further hits Dre on his injured leg with a powerful kick, thus causing Dre to lose balance. Tied at two points apiece, with the next point to determine the champion, Dre struggles but manages to get up and uses the snake stance used by the woman at the temple. The move is successful, and Cheng changes his technique and charges at Dre, who does a flip and catches Cheng in mid-air with a kick to his head, winning the tournament along with 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 in respect, accepting him as their new master, leaving Li defeated. Ending the movie, Dre and Mr. Han walk off happily as the music plays.
- Jaden Smith as Dre Parker (德瑞∙帕克; Déruì Pàkè). Based on Daniel LaRusso.
- Jackie Chan as Mr. Han (韩先生; 韓先生; Hán-xiānsheng), a Chinese maintenance man who becomes Dre's instructor and mentor. Based on Mr. Miyagi.
- Taraji P. Henson as Sherry Parker (雪莉∙帕克; Xuělì Pàkè), Dre's mother. Based on Lucille LaRusso.
- Wenwen Han (韩雯雯) as Meiying (美莹; Měiyíng), a violinist and Dre Parker's love interest. Based on Ali Mills.
- Zhenwei Wang as Cheng (陆伟程; Lù Wěichéng) Based on Johnny Lawrence.
- Yu Rongguang as Master Li (李师傅 Lǐ-shīfu). Based on John Kreese.
- Luke Carberry as Harry (哈里; Hālǐ), a boy who befriends Dre. Based on Freddy Fernandez.
- Shijia Lü (吕世佳) as Liang (梁子浩; Liáng Zǐhào), a friend and classmate of Cheng's. Based on Bobby Brown.
- Ji Wang (王 姬) as Mrs. Po (博太太; Bó-tàitai), the principal of Dre's new school. Based on TBA.
- Zhensu Wu (武振素) as Meiying's father. Based on Mr. Mills.
- Zhiheng Wang (王志恒) as Meiying's mother. Based on Mrs. Mills.
- Yi Zhao (赵 毅) as Zhuang (秦壮壮; Qín Zhuàngzhuàng), a friend and classmate of Cheng's. Based on Jimmy.
- Zhang Bo (张 博) as Song (宋), a friend and classmate of Cheng's. Based on Tommy.
- Cameron Hillman as Mark (马克; Máke)
- Ghye Samuel Brown as Oz (奥兹)
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 (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. 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. The feature started was being filmed in July 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. 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 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 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 of the Los Angeles Times said that the editing ultimately resulted in "two slightly different movies".
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." Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, the highest of the franchise.
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)
Shortly after the film's release, a sequel was announced to be in development with Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan and Taraji P. Henson reprising their roles as Dre Parker, Mr. Han and Sherry Parker respectively. Breck Eisner was initially set to direct, but in June 2014 the film had gained new writers and lost Eisner as the director.
Relation to Cobra Kai
In a 2021 interview with Slashfilm, the writers of Cobra Kai stated that they will not be using characters from the 2010 remake, as they are not a part of the "Miyagi-verse": "We’ve ruled that out completely. Jackie Chan is mentioned in season 1 of the show as a human, so I think in our world, Jackie Chan is an actor and a performer. If the characters on our show have seen a movie called The Karate Kid, they’ve seen that one."
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