Review- The Karate Kid (2010)

If you are a fan of the original 1984 film, you will be crying blood out of your ears before the end of the opening credits. If you hated the original film, you will shoot yourself before you even sit down in your seat. Without having seen the film, it is difficult for me to describe what is so offensive about it, but I think it is safe to start with the casting.  Jaden Smith is by far too young to be playing Mr. Miyagi, and Jackie Chan is much too old to be playing Daniel-san. In addition, the young Chinese boy they got to play Johnny Lawrence doesn’t even have blond hair. Probably the worst choice, however, was casting a giant panda in the role of Kreese. I don’t care how loudly they sneeze, there is nothing less intimidating than a giant panda. With such weak protagonists and antagonists, the audience is forced to root for some of the random preliminary opponents that Daniel has to fight in the early rounds of the tournament. Of course, that is only if you are still paying attention by the time the lack-luster climax roles around. The training montages last too long, and it is painful to see the elderly Chan waxing his chest during this version’s misinterpretation of the “wax-on/wax-off” sequence. For me, though, the most perplexing element of the story is, while Mr. Miyagi is clearing teaching kung-fu, Daniel-san accidentally learns karate instead.  This, of course, is supposed to be the big payoff in the final scene when Daniel’s opponent is expecting  a Preying Mantis style attack only to be hit with an awkwardly-placed karate chop instead. There is no build-up or dramatic tension in this scene. The karate chop is the first thing that happens in the match, and Chinese Johnny Lawrence goes down immediately.  He does not stop crying until he is finally eaten by his coach, the giant panda.  The only thing satisfying about that final scene is knowing that the film is over.  Luckily, the evil studio that made this abomination did not receive one dime of my money for it. However if I happen to accidentally stumble upon it on TV someday, I will call up director Harald Zwart and demand that he give me $20 for the fury it will cause my spirit.

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