Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Karate Kid - ***

The 1980s are cool... again. Or at least that's what Hollywood thinks. 80s throwbacks, homages, updates, re-makes, reboots, and spoofs are all the rage these days, and the new Karate Kid had all the potential, and expectation, to simply be lumped in as another generic rip-off of a popular 80s classic. Surprisingly that's not what it actually is. Instead it's not only a worthy re-make, but also a really good film in its own right. The best thing that I can say about the The Karate Kid is that it feels new. Though it tells the same story as the original film, but in a different way, which is always nice, despite what fans might think. Why bother watching a re-make if it's exactly the same as the film on which it's based? Maybe it's just that the story is transplanted to China and follows a twelve year-old Jaden Smith, but it has a freshness to it that will make you forget to look for similarities with the original. At 140 minutes, the film runs a little too long and, to be honest, the first half hour could easily have been trimmed, though it does contain a few nice character moments. But once you get past that, and Jackie Chan enters, it's a really enjoyable film. I never thought I'd say it, but Jackie Chan gives an amazing performance, one of the best of the year, even. And Jaden Smith isn't so bad, either. It's not a perfect movie, but it's a lot better than it needed to be.

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