Media

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - November, 2010

ARTICLE INDEX

"The Karate Kid" (2010) (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Adrian Wittenberg

movie-november-2010-the-karate-kid

Synopsis

Dre Parker (Jaden Smith), lives alone with his mother (Taraji P. Henson) after his father died several years ago.  The mother moves the family to China for her career and together they start a new life.  Dre tries to fit in at school and makes a couple friends including Mei Ying (Wen Wen Han) a girl who he is particularly fond of.   The friendship doesn't fare well for Dre because the girl is also friends with a schoolyard bully named Cheng (Zhenwei Wang), who is an exceptional fighter.  Dre gets routinely beat up by the bully and his gang as he tries to date Mei Ying, until one day a handyman from Dre's apartment complex named Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) intervenes in the beating and teaches the gang a lesson.  Dre asks Mr. Han to teach him Kung Fu so he can fend for himself and Mr. Han reluctantly agrees after accidentally committing Dre to compete against his rivals at a big Kung Fu tournament.  With little time to spare, Mr. Han and Dre work together to better Dre's fighting skill so he can avoid a public beating at the tournament.

Specifications

  • Sony Pictures
  • 2010, Color, Rated PG, 2 Hr 20 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2:40:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: MPEG4-AVC
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Wenwen Han, Rongguang Yu
  • Directed by Harald Zwart
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Martial Arts
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

This film is tied down to being a remake of a classic to leverage risk and I think it was a terrible mistake because the movie didn't need any such connection for it to work.  Jaden is obviously talented at both acting as well as martial arts and this movie could have been considerably better if they started with a clean slate that featured Jackie Chan as a teacher and Jaden Smith as a student of Kung Fu and a story that didn't have to parallel the original Karate Kid.  In fact after watching this, I am interested to see if Jaden continues with martial arts training and does future films with Jackie Chan or any other martial artists.  I did enjoy this film quite a bit however.  The scenery is amazing and Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith have really good synergy together. Jaden Smith plays the part really well and the fighting in the film is technical and enjoyable to watch.   I'd say the film develops slowly and isn't as magical as the original but it's an entertaining film nonetheless and is great for the whole family.

Technical

The video presentation of the film was excellent.  Scenery looks realistic without being over saturated.  There are some vivid color scenes such as the opening sequence of the Kung Fu school and the scenes at the Chinese festival.  The transfer of this film to Blu-ray was done impeccably and there is excellent detail throughout.  For the audio, The Karate Kid features a 5.1 DTS-HD 5.1 Master audio track.  This movie is a drama more than it is an action film so it's not loaded with surround sound effects.  The sound is good however and what brings it to life is James Horner's musical score.  The film is geared towards younger pop culture so the soundtrack is filled with Horner and hip-hop which brings energy to the whole production.

Extras

The extras on this disc really look like they were all part of a big "making of" featurette and were chopped up into the relative pieces.  The alternate ending is definitely worth watching as it features a fight scene between Jackie Chan's character and the wicked Kung Fu instructor.  I enjoyed watching the extras because I think the extra scenery and background about China is interesting.  Extras include On Location: The Karate Kid Interactive Map of China, Alternate Ending, Production Diaries Hosted by Jackie Chan, Chinese Lessons, a music video by Justin Bieber, The Making of The Karate Kid, and additional BD-Live content.