Movie Reviews

Karate Kid, The (10/5/2010)

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

Directed by Harald Zwart (Pink Panther 2 and Agent Cody Banks)

Starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith

Yeah it swept my leg! (If that means nothing to you…stop reading and go rent to original.)

12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) could've been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother's (Taraji P. Henson) latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying – and the feeling is mutual – but cultural differences and the class bully, Cheng, make such a friendship almost impossible. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calmness, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life.

Yeah I stood on a chair and did that crazy crane move making that ridiculous sound…but who didn’t? I mean everyone was doing that back in 1984 when the original Karate Kid was released. Fast forward 25 years and when my awesome wife and kids surprised me with a “Daddy Date” I was doing the crane all over again…unfortunately I think I pulled a muscle this time.

Never mind me, I’ll heal. Let me tell you how much I loved the new Karate Kid. First of all Jaden Smith is legit! I’ll admit I had my doubts, but he did it…and knocked it out of the park. And after the debacle that was The Spy Next Door, Jackie Chan came back with a vengeance. Both of them are funny and sweet and tug on your heart strings a little.

The story is just as strong as the original, with the big difference being them moving to China instead of Los Angeles. But the bad guys are just as bad as the Cobras in the original and the new instructor; well he even scared me a little.

Besides great acting and a fun updated story, there are the impressive Chinese locales like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Come on, practicing Kung Fu on the Great Wall…classic.

I’m certain I will have The Karate Kid in my Blu-Ray collection…it is “Worth Buying!”

Absolutely! My family loved it!

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

Q: What are the messages (or the message) of this movie?
A: Without a doubt, the cornerstone of this film is its characters overcoming fear. Dre has to overcome his fear of the bully, Cheng. Even Mr. Han has to overcome the fear associated with his family’s past. Even at the end of the movie, when Dre is in the final match against Cheng, he says, “I have to face my fears.”

But there are a few more big messages that are revealed in the movie: learning to adjust, dealing with loss, and the importance of solid relationships.

Q: As Christians, how should we react to this movie?
A: Like Dre, we must learn to face our fears. Dre was willing to face his fears even if it meant that he would lose. We should be of the same mind and heart. The only difference is, we don’t have a mere kung fu teacher on our side, we have God on our side!

In fact, 1 John 4:4 says, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

So we can confidently face our fears, knowing that God loves us.

Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?
A: The movie is not reckless in its message about facing fears. Dre didn’t just go out and pick a fight with Cheng. Instead, he submitted himself to Mr. Han’s training, and worked hard. He learned patience and became obedient. In other words he “disciplined” himself to be able to face his fears.

We must do the same. If our fear is “sharing our faith” then we have to train ourselves how to do it. If our fear is “school work,” we need to devise a way in which we study harder and more effectively.

Whatever our fear is, we have to make a game plan for facing it.


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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