From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Karate Kid - B

Rated PG for bullying, martial arts action violence and some mild language, 140 minutes

Pleasant, entertaining but overlong "Karate Kid" remake

Those who grew up in the '80s will have a good weekend at the movies with the remake and movie version of "The Karate Kid" and "The A-Team." "The Karate Kid" is a pleasantly enjoyable if not overlong redo of the charming Ralph Macchio-Pat Morita 1984 hit film that spawned a couple of sequels. Starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith and produced by Jaden's parents, superstars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, it really should be called "The Kung Fu Kid" or "The Martial Arts Kid" and is a little redundant at times, but it's still a decent summer popcorn flick.

Dre Parker (Smith) moves with his mom Sherry (Taraji P. Henson) to China when she's transferred there with her work. He soon encounters some bullies who rough Dre up, until he meets his apartment building's maintenance man Mr. Han (Chan), who teaches him about life, love and martial arts. With Mr. Han's help, he's able to stand up to his cruel Chinese bullies but learns from Mr. Han there's more to life than just fighting.

Simplistic, humorously predictable but entertaining, much like the original "Karate Kid," this is a movie for the masses. Chan and Smith are a good team though they lack the charisma of Macchio and Morita, who'll forever be remembered with the "wax on wax off" (this time it's "jacket on jacket off"); they still have tremendous appeal that carries it through the film's chief flaws. For one, it states and restates its wholehearted messages over and over again, and at 140 minutes, it's simply much too long for a family film. It's also slow to develop the story in the film's initial chapters, as it really doesn't get going until nearly an hour into it.

Still, there are some fun moments, primarily with the teacher-student montages and you clearly know this sets up the predictable ending, but it's fun getting there. Also, for a film called "The Karate Kid," it's a tad misleading given that there's no karate in the film, it's all about martial-arts and kung-fu, but then times have changed too.

"The Karate Kid" remake is mostly memorable for the likable Chan-Smith pairing, who'll make this a hit if it resonates with a new generation.