Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 191 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: 12-year-old Dre Parker could've been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother's latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying—and the feeling is mutual—but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre's feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng. In the land of kung fu, Dre knows only a little karate, and Cheng puts “the karate kid” on the floor with ease. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has no one to turn except maintenance man Mr. Han, who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life. (Sony Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. 91
    What's fun is how the new Karate Kid embraces and vastly improves the cliches, keeping the plot cleverly updated for a generation that never heard of Ralph Macchio.
  2. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Jaden may have to carry the burden of family celebrity, even as he carries his new film. Expertly.
  3. 75
    The new Karate Kid brings fresh life and perspective to the classic tale of perseverance and cross-generational friendship, thanks to Harald Zwart's sensitive direction and two exceptionally appealing stars.
  4. The Karate Kid will probably work best for young audiences unaware of its predecessor – or of much of anything else for that matter.
  5. Does the movie have anything new to say, anything different from John G. Avildsen's 1984 original, with Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita? Not particularly.
  6. It's a measure of the times that the new version of The Karate Kid manages to be longer and bigger-budgeted than the original while having lesser impact.
  7. 38
    A popcorn picture that thinks it’s “The Last Emperor,” The Karate Kid is about as likely to grab your youngster’s attention as any other propaganda film made by the Chinese government.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 67
  2. Negative: 16 out of 67
  1. Jun 26, 2012
    Jaden Smith's first star vehicle The Karate Kid (the movie was sold out since the 11:15am show when I saw it) I was truly impressed as I only went in with modest expectations. Not only was it a very good remake, it's the best movie so far this summer, and it stands on it's own two feet and surpasses the original in a lot of ways (which one is better will probably be generational. From the standing ovation these kids at the theater I attended gave this film I'm pretty sure from 15 or so on down, it will be this one.) But first off, let me start by saying this: To anyone who doubts that Jaden Smith can act (which he ironically already proved in The Pursuit of Happyness), is a star, or deserved this movie: See The Karate Kid. I don't care how you see it. Pirated. Bootleg. Or the old fashion way (like I saw it cause I'm cool like that) by buying a frickin' ticket and sitting in an auditorium with a bunch of cheering 10 year olds (I swear I've never seen kids give a movie a damn near standing ovation like they did during this film's finale). Jaden Smith has just silenced his haters. From here on out, if you don't like Jaden Smith: fine. Whatever petty reason you've given yourself to make you not like an innocent 10 year old. Fine. But you can't say he's not talented. Cause he is. If nothing has proven it to you before, THIS will. He carries the film on his little shoulders, shows leading man qualities (has a 10 year old ever done that?!?!? And Im being serious here). Has a ten year old ever acted in a film and not only carried it but possessed the charm, charisma, quick wit, comedic timing, dramatic presence and physicality of a hero all in the same movie?!?!? I shutter to think, I couldn't think of any leaving the theater. If they have, please point them out to me so I can say bravo to them to. His performance was truly great and the fact that he did all of his own stunts and clearly learned kung fu and looks not only believable but in command of the craft is some sort of a mini-miracle. This little dude is miniature Will Smith of the highest caliber. He WILL be a star (pun, intended). Only thing can stop that is, well, him. Barring any personal issues, the kid will go far. Very far. He has it all. And as cliche as it may sound the biggest development to come out of the Karate Kid is that "A Star is Born". Don't believe me: watch it for yourself. But I digress, I only spent so much time on the Jaden issue because all the unwarranted hatred thrown his way is beyond disturbing. I have never seen such vitriolic speech directed towards a kid in my life. Not even the kid from Problem Child and he was a certified a-hole! But anyway, the movie is good. Jackie Chan was surprisingly really good (and I mean really really good like Oscar-nominee good) in a dramatic turn as Dre Parker's mentor. The action was better than the original's and the heart and soul was just as engaging and entertaining. Though lacking the iconic "wax on, wax off"-moment what they do with "jacket on, jacket off" was truly surprising and pretty good stuff when you realize what Mr. Han was really teaching him. Instead of the "Crane Kick" we do have another pose and it's pretty damn good too. To me, the original will always be special. I remember Daniel-son, and Mr. Miyagi is a fuggin' legend in every sense of the word. I'm actually utterly surprised this remake was so well made and engaging. Even though every one in the theater knew the outcome, everyone was still cheering and/or elated and moved by the movies "big moments". That in itself is pretty impressive. It's like if people were still surprised even though they knew who the killer(s) were in Scream 4 before seeing it. Could you imagine that? Yea, I couldn't either. Which is why I'm surprised at how good this remake was. Expand
  2. LindaT.
    Jun 11, 2010
    I love the movie! I took my granddaughter r Rosalind and she throughly enjoyed it. LJT Stone Mountain, GA.
  3. AlanG
    Jun 23, 2010
    This movie is really cool.
  4. kyles.
    Jun 12, 2010
    For that low score by kyle smith, i got no problem with the score itself, but ur reason are as stupid as they come, propaganda by the chinese government, have you even watched the movie or just saw the trailers, cause they make the bullies and master of the bullies complete ass holes. either you havent watched the movie or you need to learn the meaning of propaganda. as for the movie itself, it has its highs and lows, the fighting is great, especially for little kids. the stunt double for jaden smith was great, and the other kids were great as well. jackie chan had one good fight scene (which i understand, but kinda wished there were more). the training scenes were to be expected so that could either be bad or good depending on your views. the only true problem i have with the film is that it seems to promote jaden smith too much, as opposed to letting him succeed by him self. overall a good movie, still prefer the original tho, just for the simple fact that its the original. Expand
  5. ChadS.
    Jun 14, 2010
    Some things are sacred. With bated breath, you wait for the line, but the line goes unspoken, and you're relieved, because the line can retain its immaculacy and filmic chastity in the celluloidal time capsule. After all, there can only be one "sweep the leg". (Martin Cove circa 1984, still the best.) More importantly, there can only be one crane kick. At the pivotal moment, when victory or defeat hangs in the balance, Jaden Smith does his own thing, allowing Ralph Macchio to keep Danny LaRusso's signature move all to himself. Should the major studios get around to remaking the whole of eighties cinema, even Walter Hill's "Crossroads", in which Macchio outduels Steve Vai like "The Shredder Kid" for his soul, let the new Eugene Martone(aka "Lightning Boy") vanquish Dweezil Zappa instead. Vying with the John G. Avildsen original for bragging rights, this overlong but surprisingly effective(and pertinent) "Karate Kid" rendering has the advantage of its vivid Chinese backdrop, which sets up a fish-out-of-water scenario that any English-speaking moviegoer can identify with. The movie never really answers as to why Sherry(Taraji P. Henson) had to drag his son halfway around the planet, instead of, say, Seattle. China intimidates; China is the new Japan. Economically speaking, China owns us, on account of the borrowed money(three-trillion and counting) lended to us by the hard-charging superpower, which comprises the bulk of our national debt. This simple fact, America's vulnerability to our easterly neighbor, most definitely is ingrained firmly within the narrative. Prior to China joining the WTO(World Trade Organization) in 2001, an American like Trey might have been looked upon with awe, and not treated with such animosity from Cheng(Zhenwei Wang) and his friends, who are so thoroughly brainwashed by the "no mercy" philosophy of their "sensei", they resemble WWII Japanese soldiers descending on Nanking, due to their unflagging single-mindedness for destruction, as Dre becomes the victim to a sort of "Detroit Massacre" when the merciless Cheng nearly kills Dre in a one-against-five confrontation. But then, out of nowhere, it's Mr. Han to the rescue, just like the Ash song "Kung Fu"("C'mon, Jackie Chan/Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, oh."). No doubt about it, China has come a long way since Mark Salzman's "Iron and Silk", the 1987 film about an American English teacher's adventures in Changsha, Hunan, a more innocent time when the Chinese denizens probably still revered the America lifestyle. Back then. Michael Jackson was "bad", not dead. And Detroit still stood a fighting chance for an economic renewal. Expand
  6. Sep 28, 2010
    The original Karate Kid is not necessarily a classic in my eyes, but it is a film that I remember watching it as a child. So I was not too ecstatic watching it except for the fact Jackie Chan was in it, someone who actually has knowledge of martial arts. The film does an adequate job in recreating the "classic" film with its somewhat altered story of the cliched "boy gets girl" and "boy gets revenge." But what makes this film from being a good movie is the age of the characters. While I am not saying Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith, is an unsuited actor, but the age of the children is too young to be effective. Is a 10 year old vengeance really valid, or is it just an act of impulse? What made the original movie lovable was that the audience connected with the main character and ended up rooting for him. It is kind of difficult when the person you are cheering for is fighting for simply a frivolous rivalry. Expand
  7. BrandonB.
    Jun 16, 2010
    I just want to ask Chad S. what the f*ck a "celluloidal time capsule" is.

See all 67 User Reviews