Box art for The Karate Kid (2010)

The Karate Kid (2010)

action & adventure, children & family, drama, sports

In Columbia Pictures' The Karate Kid, 12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) could've been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother's (Taraji P. Henson) latest career move has landed him in China.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 9
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Remake has new stars, new country, but same winning spirit.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Karate Kid remake is a faithful adaptation of the original but because the central character is 12 instead of 16, the language and romance is appropriately scaled back, even though the violence is a bit more startling. There's not much cursing (a few uses of the word "ass") or sexuality (mild flirting and one chaste kiss), but there are a whole lot of fight scenes. The Chinese bullies are pretty merciless both off and on the mat. They're even willing to do some unethical moves to secure a championship. But when it comes down to it, this is a friendship story between old and young, East and West, and that's a fine message for young kids.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how this is ultimately a fish-out-of-water story. How is Dre even more of an outsider than the original's Daniel? What are the cultural differences that make it difficult for Dre to fit in? Do outsiders always meet with bullying, or are there ways to make it easier to get along?
  • What do Dre and Mr. Han teach each other? Is it believable that an older man and a 12-year-old would become best friends?
  • While the first Karate Kid dealt with class, this one subtly deals with race and culture. How does Dre's different background affect his ability to fit in? Why? Did the movie challenge or reinforce any stereotypes? Kids: How do you treat people from different backgrounds or those who are new in town?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: The new Karate Kid runs with the original's underdog structure, mixed with on-screen fights and words of wisdom, but major changes rip the heart out of what was a touching coming-of-age journey anyone could relate to.

- Ben McEachen, Sunday Times (Australia), Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

The common objection goes, why remake a classic film? It's never going to be as engaging as the original and it's a lazy way make a buck. You'll feel even more jaded when you realize the movie's producers, ber famous Hollywood couple Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, have cast their own son as the titular star. While it does''t hold up to the 80s coming-of-age story, the production's biggest twist is that it's surprisingly good. The cinematography features gorgeous scenery of China which adds some authenticity to the surroundings. The title is actually a misnomer since the competition is all about Kung Fu not Karate. But why is everyone so young? The chief bully looks like he's around 10. He's not threatening and has zero personality. Granted, Jackie Chan is excellent as a maintenance man who teaches martial arts. Jaden Smith gives a relaxed performance, but he's too overly confident for us to ever be worried for him. As a result, the drama isn't as powerful as it could have been. Padding the plot to a ridiculous 140 minutes is unnecessary torture.

- hobster1, Friday, December 3, 2010

3 stars

A decent re-make that isn't an exact carbon copy, which is a good thing! I think setting this one in China was a good call, and what better master than Jackie Chan to teach him. Would have been nice if it was a bit shorter in length and a few more fight scenes at the tournament etc. However it is still a very enjoyable film.

- Deano78, Friday, November 26, 2010

3 stars

Cast: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P. Henson, Wenwen Han, Zhenwei Wang, Rongguang Yu, Zhensu Wu, Zhiheng Wang, Shi Jia L, Yi Zhao Director: Harald Zwart Summary: After moving to Beijing with his mother, Dre (Jaden Smith) falls prey to a bully, so he takes lessons from martial arts master Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) in this remake of The Karate Kid. While Mr. Han teaches Dre to defend himself, he also imparts some important life lessons. Meanwhile, Dre struggles with the unfamiliar language and cultural barriers he encounters in his new country. My Thoughts: "I am usually not a fan of films being remade, but I really enjoyed this one. It really felt like it's own film instead of a remake of the 1984's classic. It's funny, intense at times, and definitely entertaining. Jaden Smith has definitely got the same confidence on screen as his famous father, Will Smith. He was really good in his role as Dre Parker. Loved that Jackie Chan was cast as Mr. Han, he was fantastic in the role. I would like to see him in more dramatic roles like this. Just a great cast with some great acting. Zhenwei Wang was also impressive. A great family film."

- LWOODS04, Wednesday, November 24, 2010