The Karate Kid (film)

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 August, 2010, 12:00am

As in the original, The Karate Kid focuses on a new kid in town who is bullied, meets a mysterious caretaker who teaches him an ancient martial art using unexpected methods, then takes on his enemy in a tournament.

It follows the original storyline almost to the letter. Sadly, it's just not as good. While Jaden Smith is undoubtedly 'one to watch', and while his comic timing is scarily like his dad's early stuff, he's just not right here.

The original Karate Kid, Ralph Macchio, was puny, and his character was 16 and poor. Jaden's Dre Parker recently arrived in Beijing, so you have to assume his widowed mother has a fairly good job. He has a worryingly muscular physique. Also, he's 12 and at an international school - the lack of grit makes the bullying that leads to his becoming the Karate Kid less believable.

That's not to say this is a bad film: the shots of the gorgeous Wudang Mountains, the fight scenes, the chemistry between Jaden and Jackie Chan, his onscreen mentor, and the fact the film pays tribute to the 80s classic make it worth seeing. But don't expect a new mantra; 'wax on, wax off' trumps the new version every time.