‘The Karate Kid’ DVD Review

A review by G-FUNK

Director: Harald Zwart

Cast: Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith

Plot: A young American boy moves to Beijing when his mother gets a job transfer. Unable to adapt he winds up the victim of a gang of bullies. Eventually he seeks training from the handyman who happens to be a master of karate kung-fu.

Review: Here’s what really bugged the hell out of me – this movies producers. If you’re the type of tiresome bore (like me) who actually pays attention to the credits at the beginning of the movie you would’ve noticed that this particular movie was produced by Will and Jade Smith. Putting this together with the young lead actor being one Jaden Smith, a young lad who happens to resemble to two Hollywood actors, you may have deduced that this is in fact their son. This bugs me.

"Is your Dad filming us?" "Yeah, he films everything just in case the papparazzi needs it."

“So what?” you may be asking. Sure it’s not unreasonable that parents should be involved in their children’s careers at that age. Sure, he’s a bit more privileged than the average kid, but you can’t hold that against him. I don’t get the sense that this is simply the Smith’s helping their kid along though – this wasn’t a well written script that they happened across and wanted to ensure their kid got the part. This just screams ‘marketing’. They’ve taken a well known film, pointlessly remade in a more marketable format, changed the setting to a more scenic locale and thrown Jackie Chan into the mix. Even though it is now factually inaccurate they kept the title the same as it’s a known brand.

This is not parents helping their kid along in his art, it’s rich parents marketing their kid to the world as a celebrity and they haven’t waited until he reached puberty. The kid’s probably having fun going on a holiday to China’s most famous landmarks and learning kung-fu with Jackie Chan, but one has to wonder how much say he’s had in this career path, or going to school, or whether he raps with Justin Bieber for the theme song in which he name-drops his father. The same was done with his sister when she recorded a trite pop-song.

I have no idea what's happening here.

The viewer winds up with the sense that this movie would have never come about it Will and Jade Smith didn’t have a child they wanted to sell to the world.

One the other hand the movie is plenty entertaining. The kid is charismatic, the story is well developed and the performances feel genuine. The finale requires viewers to suspend disbelief on a pretty epic level, but it’s successful in what it does.

Score: SEVEN outta TEN