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Old 06-11-2010, 07:53 PM
The Karate Kid (2010)

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 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 nowhere to turn but 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

I'm sorry. It's not going to wait. I have to say it now: THE KARATE KID is easily one of the best movies of the year. And I'll be honest, I'm pretty glad to say that because it has been a pretty mediocre year for movies so far, and we're halfway through it! But before I say anything else, I need to come clean and say I haven't seen the original film. OK. Now I got that out of the way, let's begin. I liked the story a lot. Sure, underdog films are predictable, but I personally enjoy them immensely, especially if they're well made, like this film. There's a lot of heart in here.

The thing that stuck out most for me in this film is the setting of China. The film really benefits from this because there are rarely any Hollywood films that take place in this beautiful country. It's great to see scenes that are on location from the Forbidden City to the Great Wall. There's no CGI or built sets from California. The scenery is just fascinating. What you see is what you get. And seeing the story takes place in this country, there's an authentic feel that is brought to the film. The gorgeous cinematography just adds more to the "wow" factor to audiences who have never been to China.

The second thing that impressed me was the diverse cast. It's great to see Asians and African Americans filling the roles of a Hollywood film. You don't see that much these days. And the missing stereotypes is a huge plus in my book! Some of you might be hesitant about Jaden Smith playing the lead role but I gotta tell you, this kid has a lot of acting chops. His performance is vulnerable and you sympathize for his character. Oh, and this is the best performance I've ever seen from Jackie Chan. He gives a really powerful and emotional performance. There was one or two scenes that made me cry because of how raw his acting was. The chemistry between these two actors could not have been better. Taraji P. Henson is good although wasn't as great as Smith and Chan. Lastly, Wenwen Han was pretty good as Smith's love interest.

Now, the fight scenes. You wouldn't notice by the trailers but, I have to admit, they were pretty damn brutal and shocking. The fact that most of the fighting is done by kids just adds on to the surprisingly heavy quality of the film. The running time for the film is around 140 minutes, which may seem long and tedious and more than it should be, but due to the great pacing of the film, you would hardly notice it at all. It gives the characters, especially our protagonist, time to develop and grow. The score by Howard Shore is fantastic as well.

Overall, THE KARATE KID is THE movie to see this summer. The performances are freaking fantastic and the third act will certainly make you stand up and cheer. It's also a great movie for all ages. Sure, the story is predictable but it's well made and there's a lot of heart to it. If that's not good enough for an underdog film, then what is? I know it's stupid and clichéd but I'll just say it: The film is a winner! 9/10
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