Martial Arts

Smith excels in the fighting scenes but can otherwise come across as a bit ‘girly’.

Hmm…. This is a remake/reboot of the original 1984 Karate Kid film, with Jayden Smith taking the Ralph Macchio role. His mother gets a job in China and after they relocate there, he soon becomes the victim of playground bullies. Jackie Chan (playing the Mr Miyagi role although here called Mr Han) takes him under his wing and teaches him kung fu. You will probably remember the ‘wax on wax off’ training scene from the original. Well here it’s all about putting your jacket on, taking it off and hanging it up. Not as catchy but surprisingly effective in a fake movie fight.

The fighting sections of this film are better than the original and there is of course the equivalent of the original’s ‘crane kick’ to finish the film, but the rest of the movie lacks charm. There is also no fight between Mr Miyagi and the bullies’ abusive kung fu teacher which is a disappointment. In fact the film lacks any sort of edge and it’s also hard not to feel (much of the film was filmed in China, sometimes in quite sensitive locations) that the Chinese government had a hand in limiting what was and what wasn’t possible. This does feel very much like a children’s film, so I will be generous and give it an average 5/10