Film Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith Co-Star in Remake of Martial Arts Classic
Other than the setting shifting to
The story opens in
Upon their arrival, he makes acquaintances with an American neighbor (Luke Carberry) who suggests they go down to the park to play some basketball. There, Dre falls in love at first sight with a cute local girl (Wenwen Han) practicing her violin on the bench. So, he saunters over to flirt with Meiying, who is very receptive to his advances and asks if she can touch his cornrows.
Their cross-cultural chemistry is not lost on an overprotective friend of her family, Cheng (Zhenwei Wang), who uses Kung Fu to give Dre a black eye while issuing the warning, “Just stay away from us, all of us!” Cheng and his posse attend the same school where Dre is about to enroll, and they proceed to turn Dre’s life into a living Hell.
Enter Mr. Miyagi, I mean Mr. Han (Chan), the Parkers’ compassionate custodian. He miraculously heals Dre’s wounds with an ancient remedy and offers to teach the lad to defend himself, Asian-style. Han then negotiates a truce with Dre’s tormentors, buying time by promising to enter his protégé in the upcoming Kung Fu competition. Okay, cue the taskmaster’s offbeat teaching methods that whip the kid into a black belt.
Does any of this sound familiar? It should. A note for note remake which magically manages to make you cry at all the same emotional push points as the original.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG for bullying, violence and mild epithets.
Running time: 140 Minutes