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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 184 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: 46 out of 66
  2. Negative: 16 out of 66
  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. Jan 26, 2013
    I loved it! I did not think it would be so good. Loved the story, and I think the kids a great actor! Most of the people who hate it, are just mad about a child hood movie being redone. It`s good enough to watch again! Expand
  3. Oct 9, 2010
    "I Was Ultimately Shocked by this Compelling remake , tho running 2 and a half hours , the violence is toned up for a PG movie , but this movie is one of the many feel-good movies of the year , and i enjoyed almost Every second" .. A- Expand
  4. Sep 21, 2010
    I don't know if it's because i set my "mental karate movie bar" to low, or because it is actually a good movie but i liked it. The plot was interesting and the actors played very well, Jaden Smith showing that he has much potential in the acting career and Jackie Chan, being more serious than funny this time, pulled it off and gave a great performance. Good movie. Expand
  5. Mar 24, 2013
    Favorable over the original.
  6. Nov 2, 2010
    All in all this remake of the 1984 hit is not nearly as good as the original, but doesnâ
  7. Jan 9, 2011
    This movie could have been a really good movie if they didn't use the title of Karate Kid and if they didn't use Will Smith's son.

    I'm a traditionalist, but understand that Jackie Chan was in this movie because they told him it would be The Kung Fu Kid and not The Karate Kid. Yep, in other countries it was different, but in America, some young hot shot idiot thought it would be a good idea to make some money off the old series.

    Yet, it was all Jackie Chan who carried the movie and I'm glad to see he won't be making another version of it (at least it seemed that way).

    As for Smith's acting career, he'll make movies just as long as he has his dad and mom helping him out. He'll get support from them until he has made enough millions on his own, but if he continues to act like his father then he will end up being the same old boring, one dimensional, wise ass.

    This movie isn't worth the time or money to see. It is far too full of plot holes and poor execution. While the scenery is some times worth the view, I can get the same awe inspiring look at China from a National Geographic special.

See all 66 User Reviews