The 2010 remake of the 1984 film The Karate Kid is anything but a remake. Harald Zwart (whose last big title was Pink Panther 2), showed a new brilliance by making an old story new with a classic feel.
Did I say classic? I did. Single Parent family with a disrespectful kid takes a trip and while the opening credits show some shots of a charming, run down, rainy city as the music plays and before you know it, they've arrived. The kid gets a wake up call. The kid gets the girl. The kid proves himself. Jackie Chan acts. Everything a classic movie needs.
So let's dissect it a bit. The silly, but lovable hooligan Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) is forced to move to China with his mother and quickly learns that you should never flirt with a chinese girl. Or something like that. But knowing his stubborn ruffian ways it gets him into trouble only to be saved by a chinese version of Jackie Chan who teaches him the right way to life which not only changes Parker's life, but the lives of those who once opposed him.
Smith's debut lead performance proved deserving of an opening credit. His snarky attitude, mixed with his childlike spontaneity makes him a lovable character throughout his journey. Along with Jackie Chan playing a father-like mentor figure it provided a perfect balance of actiony kung fu and developmental (yet touching) back story. Put all of this in a honest to goodness Beijing China, and balance the length of each sequence of plot to an appropriate time limit and you have not only a remarkable remake of an already great movie. But at the same time a beautiful new movie with a similar plot, aptly nicknamed The Kung Fu Kid.