Friday, October 22, 2010

The Kung Fu Dream - The Karate Kid - 功夫夢

The Karate Kid (The Kung Fu Dream/功夫夢) is a 2010 film starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. The film is a revamp of the iconic 1984 film that starred Ralph Macchio and the late Pat Morita. The movie is based in Detroit and with the majority, in Beijing, China.

The Cast
Jaden Smith - Dre Parker - The Kung Fu Kid
Jackie Chan - Mr. Han - The Kung Fu teacher
Taraji P. Henson - Sherry Parker - Dre's mother
Zhenwei Wang - Cheng - The Bully
Yu Rongguang - Master Li - The Bully's Master
Wen Wen Han - Mei Ying - Dre's crush

The Story
Dre, a twelve year old, moves to Beijing, China with his mom. Dre befriends a blond dood in his building and they play some pick up ball at a park adjacent to his apartment building. Mei Ying is also at the park studying her music notes and catches the attention of Dre. Dre gets up the courage to talk to her and starts to impress her. Cheng enters the picture and beats up Dre pretty bad, leaving him with a black eye as a souvenir. The next day, at school, Dre bumps into both Mei Ying and Cheng again. This time, things get worst as he's bullied even more. Dre starts to avoid Cheng and his cohorts. One day, Dre is chased down and beaten badly before Han steps in to rescue him. The next day, the two go to make amends with Cheng at his school. However, Master Li wants to challenge Han on the spot. Han suggest that they settle the score at an upcoming Kung Fu tournament. From that point on, Dre spends everyday training with Han. As a learning experience, Han takes Dre to Wudang Mountains. It is there that Dre sees a women have a stare down with a cobra. Back in Beijing, Mei Ying and Dre become closer and closer and eventually kiss at a festival. On the day before Mei Ying recital, Dre leads her to cut school for a day to relax. They travel around to various places in Beijing. Mei Ying's recital has been changed to the current day and she is picked up and shuttled back to school. The results of her recital were not reveals or I just don't remember. But her parents force her to cut off her friendship with Dre. Dre finds out about Han's wife and son on the anniversary of their death. Dre helps Han to find reason to move on. They continue to train for the tournament. Mei Ying shows up during the day of the tournament to cheer on Dre. What do you think happens from here on out? ^_^

My Thoughts
The movie was actually pretty enjoyable. It was a pleasant surprise because the original one from 1984 and its sequel in 1986 have this special place in my heart, as it presented asians on screen when there were very little representation. It hasn't gotten much better 25 years later, but its still a reminder. In this case, dood is in China. China! The story featured twelve year olds having the hots for each other and that freaked me out. Because my daughters are not that far off from that. Urgh.

The settings and the use of landmarks in Beijing and Wudong Shan were pretty amazing. I though it was great to see how ex-pats can function in China. They did have to use a little karate as Dre was trying to learn it when Han comes to fix his door knob.

In all, this is a movie I'll have to watch with my daughter(s) someday. I think this version is slightly more editable than the 80s versions for her.

BTW - got this as a $1 rental at a Red Box.

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