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|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$359 million|
The Karate Kid (known as The Kung Fu Dream in China) is a 2010 family martial arts drama film directed by Harald Zwart, and part of The Karate Kid series. It stars Jaden Smith, Taraji P. Henson 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 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 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 Karate Kid received mixed reviews and it earned $359.1 million on a $40 million budget. The plot concerns 12-year-old Dre Parker (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.
Dre Parker, an African-American teen, and his mother Sherry Parker move from Detroit to Beijing after she gets a job transfer at her car factory. After a day at a park, Dre eyes a young violinist, Meiying, who reciprocates his attention, but another boy Cheng, a rebellious kung fu prodigy whose family is close to Meiying's, attempts to keep them apart by physically attacking Dre, and later bullies him at school. During an attack, the maintenance man, Mr. Han, comes to Dre's aid. When Cheng and his friends try to interfere, Han defeats each of them in close combat, showing himself to be a kung fu master.
Han helps heal Dre's injuries using fire cupping as he tells the boy that those students aren't bad but their teacher is. Intrigued, Dre asks if Mr. Han could teach him kung fu. Han refuses, but brings him to meet Cheng's teacher, Master Li, at the Fighting Dragon studio to make peace. Li, who teaches his students to show no mercy toward their enemies, challenges Dre to a fight with Cheng. Han instead proposes that Dre compete against Li's students at an open martial arts tournament, and that the students leave Dre alone to train for the tournament. Li accepts the offer but warns Han that if Dre does not show up at the tournament, he will personally bring pain to Han and Dre.
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 then takes Dre to a Taoist temple in the Wudang Mountains where he trained with his father, and Dre witnesses a woman making a cobra reflect her movements and drinks the water from an ancient Taoist well.
As Dre's friendship with Meiying grows, they share a kiss at a festival. Dre persuades Meiying to cut school for a day of fun, but 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 seeing him again.
During their training, Han gives Dre a day off. Dre seeks an explanation that night and finds Han apparently drunk, smashing the car he was working on. Han explains to Dre that he crashed the same car years ago, and that his wife and ten-year-old son were killed in the crash. Han fixes the car every year but smashes it to remind himself of what happened; this inspires Dre to train harder to help his teacher get past the incident. Han assists Dre in writing and reciting a note of apology in Mandarin to Meiying's father, who accepts and promises 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 Dre's semi-final opponent Liang (one of his pupils) to break Dre's leg. Liang is shocked at this order but obeys under Li's intimidation. As the match continues, Liang seizes Dre's leg and delivers a crippling blow, after which he is automatically disqualified. Dre can advance to the final to face Cheng but has a limited time to return to the ring or Cheng will claim the crown. Dre pleads with Han to heal his leg via the fire cupping method. Han tries to talk his student out of it but does it eventually. Thus Dre is set to face Cheng in the final.
Cheng begins reflecting Dre's movements and goads him into charging Dre. The match goes back and forth and is tied at two points apiece, with the next point to determine the champion. Despite his leg injury, Dre 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 asks the presenter for permission to present Dre with the trophy. All of the Fighting Dragon students bow to Mr. Han in respect, accepting him as their new master.
Li attempts to strike Cheng out of anger for losing the final but Han appears and blocks Li, resulting in a fight between the two instructors. While Li momentarily bests Han, Han pins Li down with a leg-to-head lock, and angrily reminds him of his own rule: no mercy. Before Han attacks, Dre appears and discourages Han from attacking; the Fighting Dragons bow to Mr. Han, and the two leave. As a defeated and humiliated Li rises, Sherry and Meiying begin to depart. Then Sherry turns and punches Li in the jaw, presumably after discovering that he ordered his students to brutally attack her son.
- Jaden Smith as Dre Parker (德瑞∙帕克 Déruì Pàkè)
- Jackie Chan as Mr. Han (S: 韩先生, T: 韓先生, P: Hán-xiānsheng)
- Taraji P. Henson as Sherry Parker (雪莉∙帕克 Xuělì Pàkè), Dre's mother
- Wenwen Han (韩雯雯) as Meiying (美莹 Měiyíng)
- Zhenwei Wang as Cheng (陆伟程 Lù Wěichéng)
- Yu Rongguang as Master Li (李师傅 Lǐ-shīfu)
- Luke Carberry as Harry (哈里 Hālǐ), a boy who befriends Dre
- Shijia Lü (吕世佳) as Liang (梁子浩 Liáng Zǐhào), a friend and classmate of Cheng's
- 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), a friend and classmate of Cheng's.
- Cameron Hillman as Mark (马克)
- Ghye Samuel Brown as Oz (奥兹)
- Bo Zhang (张 博) as Song (宋), a friend and classmate of Cheng's
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.
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, and it was released on Mastered in 4K Blu-ray on May 14, 2013.
The Karate Kid received mixed reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 65% based on 205 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)
Shortly after the films release, a sequel was 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. In April 2017, Eisner returned to direct the sequel. In October of the same year, Jackie Chan stated that the initial script for the film was not working very well, but the newer one being worked on was much better.
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