Starring: Jaden Smith, Jacki Chan, Taraji P. Henson, Wenwen Han, Rongguang Yu, Zhenwei Wang
A remake of the 1984 classic (read review here), the movie tells film-makers exactly how a remake should be made. Rather than lifting each and every thing from the original movie and simply reproducing it in modern times, the movie greatly improves on the story, setup and cast to not just replicate the original but to make it better and more appealing to modern audiences. Dre Parker (Smith) has moved to China with his mother (Henson) since she got a new job in Beijing. Dre finds it extremely hard to adjust with the Chinese students and soon gets bullied by Cheng (Wang) and his friends when Dre tries to befriend Meiying (Han). Dre bears the brunt and is regularly beaten up due to their superior Kung Fu skills that Dre just doesn’t have. Dre’s apartment house maintenance man Mr. Han (Chang) sees Dre’s situation and agrees to help him. Peace talks with Cheng’s Kung Fu master, Master Li (Yu) go nowhere and Mr. Han proposes a fight at the Kung Fu tournament. Dre must train under the guidance of Mr. Han regularly if he wishes to emerge as the final winner and win back his honour. The movie carefully replaces USA with China, Karate with Kung Fu and Mr. Miyagi with Mr. Han but leaves everything else to be the same. Lovers of the original would not cry foul but instead love the remake for what it is. It may not take the movie to another level but it lives up to its reputation which is more than just enough. Jackie Chan sheds his Chinese Kung Fu warrior image to take on a more peaceful, unfit Kung Fu master and does a lot by doing so little. Good enough or maybe a bit better than the original too.
Thumbs up: Jackie Chan
Thumbs down: Doesn’t substantially improve the original
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