Has anyone ever thought about how Jackie Chan is in so many Black movies, and there are so many Black People in Jackie Chan movies? It only made sense that a Jackie Chan reboot of The Karate Kid would have Black people. That came to happen in 2010 when Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith starred together in The Karate Kid.
Dre Parker is moving from Detroit to Beijing as his mother has a new teaching job. However he refuses to learn Mandarin because he wants to stay in Detroit. Dre quickly falls for Meiying a violinist. However, that upsets Cheng a young Kung Fu bad boy. Cheng and his friends beat the crape out of Dre. When they attend a field trip Dre gets revenge on them by dumping dirty water on them. Unfortunately, they catch him and beat him so bad the maintenance man, Han has to save him. It turns out Han is a master martial artist who has no problem kicking kids into dumpsters and all around beating them senseless.
Han takes Dre to his house and makes him remove his clothes. He then uses fire cupping to heal Dre's injuries. That scene was way weirder than it needed to be, I'm just being honest. Han ensures Dre the kids aren't evil, but their teacher is. They confron the teacher Master Li who attempts to fight Han but settles for Cheng vs Dre at a martial arts tournament.
Han promises to teach Dre and forces him to do household chores and respect his mother to get better at martial arts. Dre's new confidence allows him to begin a relationship with Meiying, but her father puts a quick end to that when he causes her to almost be late to a violin practice. Dre learns that Han crashed a car killing his wife and son. This is the reason Han fixes the car and then destroys it every year. This is also why Han has decided to treat Dre and his mother as if they were his family. In a touching scene Dre drags Han outside and forces Han to actually teach him some martial arts for the first time.
When it comes time for the tournament, we get some callbacks to the original. Han doesn't know the rules. Dre gets taken out by an illegal move. Han pulls out some magic healing. Dre comes back to win. He's met with respect and admiration by Chenge. Meiying's father allowed her to attend the meet, and she cheered Dre on. Happy ending.
The film was clearly made for a younger audience than the original film, and I think that may be one reason that people disliked it. Dre is 12. Daniel was 16. Dre was not going to get into the same kind of shenanigans. I wish the characters were a little older, only so they could be a little more fleshed out. Cheng and Meiying are just as important to the story as Dre, but we don't really know anything about them. The love story is also kind of awkward, because they're 12, but it is treated as if they're adults. Dre showing up alone after dark at Meiying's home to beg her father for forgiveness, just feels silly. However, at the same time Dre isn't the jerk that Daniel is. Let's be real, Daniel did a lot of wild things that were uncalled for, even when Johnny wasn't bothering him or allowed to touch him.
Still, I think the film has been a victim of revisionist history. People say it was terrible, but if you go back to 2010 it made almost 9 times the budget at the box office. Even Roger Ebert stated it wasn't as powerful as the original, but it was still a good movie. I think the age of the kids makes some things awkward, but I still enjoyed. The scene when Dre forces Han to work through his problems with training is still a great scene because that's what Han had been trying to teach Dre. The only reason we didn't get a sequel is because nobody liked the script, but all the actors had signed on to do another. Is it going to blow your mind? No. It isn't incredible, but it's far from the garbage fire people like to believe it was.
You can check out some of my fiction at 12 AM Fiction or follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast.