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"THE KARATE KID (2010)"
(2010) (Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Mild Extreme Moderate None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Extreme Minor Heavy Minor Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None Heavy Extreme Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Feeling isolated after moving to China with his mother, a 12-year-old American boy is taught kung fu by an older maintenance man in order to deal with a local bully.
PLOT:
Dre Parker (JADEN SMITH) is a 12-year-old boy from Detroit who's moving with his widowed mom, Sherry (TARAJI P. HENSON), to Beijing after her job transfers her there. Despite being befriended by another foreigner and taking a liking to young violinist Meiying (WENWEN HAN), Dre hates his new home and life. And that's mainly due to Cheng (ZHENWEI WANG) and his bully friends who've had the kung fu training mantra -- no weakness, no pain and no mercy -- of their stern Fighting Dragons instructor, Master Li (RONGGUANG YU), drilled and beaten into them.

Luckily for Dre, his building's older maintenance man, Mr. Han (JACKIE CHAN), knows a thing or two about martial arts and helps defend the boy from Cheng and his bullies. But the only way he can stem any future attacks is by agreeing to enter Dre into a martial arts competition where the Fighting Dragons -- and particularly Cheng -- are the heavy favorites to win.

Realizing he must deal with Dre's smaller size and change his attitude and mindset, Mr. Han sets out to teach him the real principles of kung fu and prepare him to do his best in the upcoming competition.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's a good bet those near the same age of the protagonist (12) will be enticed by the film, especially if they're into martial arts.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For bullying, martial arts action violence and some mild language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JADEN SMITH plays a 12-year-old boy who's decidedly less than pleased to be uprooted from Detroit to Beijing with his mom when her job transfers her there. He's somewhat disrespectful toward her at times, but befriends and takes a liking to Meiying. He must also contend with Cheng and others bullying and beating him up. That is, until Mr. Han decides to teach him real kung fu, thus making the small for his age boy proficient at defending himself. He uses brief profanity and briefly kisses Meiying.
  • JACKIE CHAN plays the maintenance man for the building in which Dre, his mom, and others live. He reluctantly agrees to teach the boy kung fu so that Dre can defend himself, but does so in unorthodox but deliberate and eventually effective ways. He uses very brief profanity (in telling Dre to stop using the same), briefly drinks, and must contend with the anniversary of the accidental deaths of his wife and their son in the past.
  • TARAJI P. HENSON plays Dre's mom who tries to make the best of their move to China and hopes to make the transition work out for Dre.
  • ZHENWEI WANG plays the local bully who torments and physically beats up Dre, and then faces him during the big martial arts competition.
  • WENWEN HAN plays a local girl and aspiring violinist who takes a liking to Dre but must contend with her father forbidding her from seeing him again.
  • RONGGUANG YU plays Cheng's stern martial arts instructor who instills his teaching mantra -- no weakness, no pain, and no mercy -- into his students. He relishes the thought of them beating up Dre and orders two of them to purposefully injure the boy during the competition.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this PG-rated drama. Profanity consists of a few minor expletives, while some colorful phrases are also uttered. There's one slightly suggestive bit of dialogue and a brief kiss.

    Violence consists of various scenes of martial arts fighting, some of which contain some fairly severe and graphic blows and intent to injure others. Some of that results in bruises, and those scenes and moments of bullying might be unsettling and/or suspenseful for some kids. The martial arts fighting and other behavior could be enticing for kids to try to imitate.

    Tense family material is present, as are various thematic elements. There's brief alcohol content along with a little bit of crude humor.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from welding sparks.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, varying amounts of handheld camerawork (some of it fairly bouncy) occurs at various points in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see a bottle of booze and a glass by it as we see Mr. Han using a large mallet to smash the car he's been rebuilding. He appears intoxicated, but we then learn that he's more emotionally distraught (over the anniversary of the car-accident deaths of his wife and young son).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • After Mr. Han removes a dead fly from his fly swatter with his chopsticks, wipes them off, and continues eating, Dre comments that's nasty and that he's going to go throw up (he doesn't).
  • Dre's face is bruised and he has a black eye after Cheng beats him up.
  • Dre tells Meiying that his mom said that if you eat standing up, it gives you gas.
  • Seeing a bunch of scorpions shish-kabobbed on a stick, Dre tells Meiying, "That's gonna give you some serious gas."
  • Dre has a large bruise on his leg from being hit there repeatedly during a competition.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Mr. Han initially doesn't speak to Dre when the boy shows up to inform him that they have no hot water in their place.
  • One of the bullies mock imitates Dre's dancing moves as the latter tries to entertain Meiying. Cheng then comes over and grabs papers from Meiying's hands and then slaps them from Dre's hands when he picks them up. Cheng then proceeds to beat up Dre just for the fun of it. For the rest of the film, he (and others) bullies Dre.
  • Dre routinely leaves his jacket on the floor despite what his mom tells him, and then hangs it up with an attitude.
  • Dre acts like something of a brat toward his mom on various other occasions.
  • There's hard sparring contact in Master Li's class, and he gets mad at Cheng for letting up at the end of a victory. Cheng then delivers a hard blow to his defeated opponent's head, followed by Master Li slapping Cheng hard to get his point across to him. He then stops Mr. Han from leaving the room and grabs his arm.
  • After her parents apparently chastise her for associating with him, Meiying regrets to inform Dre that they can no longer be friends.
  • Master Li tells one of his students that he doesn't want Dre beaten, but wants him broken, and thus instructs him to injure Dre. The student reluctantly does just that, repeatedly smashing Dre's leg.
  • Master Li instructs Cheng to purposefully target and break Dre's injured leg during their bout.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling and/or suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Dre hides to avoid Cheng and his bully friends at school.
  • Cheng and two other bullies surround Dre and take, empty and then kick his backpack.
  • We see a martial arts student balancing on one leg right in front of an upright cobra on a stone protuberance far off the ground (for those unsettled by and/or scared of snakes and/or heights).
  • We see various live scorpions in a bucket (for those unsettled by or afraid of them).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You're killing me" (not meant literally), "Dude, I'm from Detroit," "What's up?" "Negative, not a chance," "That's nasty. I'm gonna go throw up," "They're tight," "Yeah, I'm fluent," "Cut it out, grumpy," "What about to kick somebody's ass?" "Stop saying 'ass,'" "I was kinda freaking out," "Pick up your jacket!" "Peace," "That's gonna give you some serious gas" and "Rock and roll."
  • The martial arts fighting, skills, stunts and other action might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate.
  • We see miscellaneous graffiti in Detroit.
  • Mr. Han flicks a toothpaste cap so that it hits Dre in the neck and thus gets his attention.
  • To heal Dre's bumps and bruises, Mr. Han lights something small on fire, puts that in various glass globes, and then spreads the small flames across Dre's bare chest.
  • Dre holds onto the back of various delivery vehicles, allowing them pull him along on his skateboard.
  • Mr. Han has Dre repeatedly put on his jacket, take it off, drop it to the ground, pick it up, hang it up, and then put it back on again (as part of his training).
  • We see various martial arts students practicing their skills, including one doing the splits with their feet up on two surfaces, another balancing on just two fingers, and a third in a one-leg balance pose right in front of an upright cobra on a stone protuberance far off the ground.
  • Trying to mesmerize his mom just as he saw a martial arts student do to a cobra, Dre intently stares at his mom.
  • Mr. Han trains Dre by standing on the other side of a hanging sheet and hitting him through that with a punching bag tied onto a stick.
  • We see a bottle of booze and a glass by it as we see Mr. Han using a large mallet to smash the car he's been rebuilding. He appears intoxicated, but we then learn that he's more emotionally distraught (over the anniversary of the car-accident deaths of his wife and young son).
  • Mr. Han trains Dre by rapidly hitting tennis balls at him.
  • Dre does the splits on two sides of a railing.
  • One martial arts competitor has a pseudo Mohawk haircut (shaved but not barren on the sides).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Cheng suddenly knocks Dre's lunch tray to the floor.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful, ominous and heavily dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • The song "Bang Bang" is heard on the soundtrack, and has lyrics such as "She was walking around with a loaded shotgun, Ready to fire me a hot one, It went bang-bang-bang, Straight through my heart" and "She shot me, She shot me, Bang-Bang, She Shot Me" but all of that is meant in a romantic/smitten rather than literal gun sense.
  • The song "Poker Face" plays as Meiying dances on an arcade dance machine game, but isn't heard in full so we're not sure if lyrics such as "I'll get him hot, show him what I've got" are heard or not.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 4 asses, 1 damn and 1 use each of "God" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Sherry shows a little cleavage.
  • We see Dre shirtless on various occasions (during training, while posing like a bodybuilder, being healed by Mr. Han, etc.).
  • Meiying and Dre briefly kiss, seen in person and then in silhouette on a screen.
  • Sherry jokes that she went into the wrong restroom (due to being unable to read the signs) and encountered a 90-year-old man who thought he was going to get a little treat.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • From wall markings noting significant points in Dre's life, we see that his dad died after Dre's 9th birthday.
  • Sherry is concerned about Dre upon seeing he has a black eye, but he keeps claiming he ran into a tree.
  • Dre lets his mom know that he isn't happy with their move and that he hates his new home and life.
  • We see a bottle of booze and a glass by it as we see Mr. Han using a large mallet to smash the car he's been rebuilding. He appears intoxicated, but we then learn that he's more emotionally distraught (over the anniversary of the car-accident deaths of his wife and young son). We see a Chinese newspaper article about that, and Mr. Han then explains -- through tears -- that he was driving and having an argument with his wife when he lost control and she and their son were killed. He also states that every year he fixes the car, but that ultimately doesn't fix anything (meaning it doesn't bring them back).
  • Sherry is worried about Dre's safety during his various bouts in the martial arts competition, especially when his leg is wounded.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • From wall markings noting significant points in Dre's life, we see that his dad died after Dre's 9th birthday.
  • Dealing with bullies.
  • Moving to and living in a foreign country.
  • Martial arts training.
  • Mr. Han stating that people in the U.S. should have on-off switches for their overall hot water in order to save the planet.
  • Meiying being concerned about what would happen should she not be accepted into the Beijing Academy of Music.
  • The various Chinese landmarks (The Forbidden City, the Great Wall, etc.) on display in the film.
  • The comment that there are no bad students, just bad teachers.
  • The comment that being still is different than simply doing nothing.
  • Master Li's training mantra of no weakness, no pain and no mercy.
  • Mr. Han initially teaching Dre through what seems like mundane repetition (putting on a jacket, taking it off, throwing it to the floor, picking it up and then hanging it up, etc.) that later pays off due to that reflexive conditioning.
  • The notion of chi, described by Mr. Han as the power from within.
  • After her parents apparently chastise her for associating with him, Meiying regrets to inform Dre that they can no longer be friends.
  • The comment that you have the choice of staying down or getting back up after life knocks you down.
  • We see a bottle of booze and a glass by it as we see Mr. Han using a large mallet to smash the car he's been rebuilding. He appears intoxicated, but we then learn that he's more emotionally distraught (over the anniversary of the car-accident deaths of his wife and young son). We see a Chinese newspaper article about that, and Mr. Han then explains -- through tears -- that he was driving and having an argument with his wife when he lost control and she and their son were killed. He also states that every year he fixes the car, but that ultimately doesn't fix anything (meaning it doesn't bring them back).
  • Dre stating he has to fight Cheng in the last bout, despite being injured, so that he doesn't have to be scared anymore.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Cheng comes over and grabs papers from Meiying's hands and then slaps them from Dre's hands when he picks them up. He then pushes Dre to the ground, prompting Dre to rush him, but Cheng trips him to the ground. Dre then rushes him again, but this time Cheng flips him over hard to the ground. Cheng then blocks Dre's punch, punches him hard in the chest, and then kicks him hard to the ground. Dre then manages to land a backhand across Cheng's face, but Cheng then hits, kicks and flips Dre to the ground where he punches him hard (leaving his face bruised in the following scene).
  • Cheng suddenly knocks Dre's lunch tray to the floor, prompting Dre to shove him backwards (with a teacher then stopping anything further from happening).
  • After trying to hide from them, Dre throws dirty water on Cheng and his bully friends, and then takes off running, with them in hot pursuit. During this, he knocks down crates to try to block their pursuit, and all of them scamper up over roofs and over walls until they eventually surround him in a courtyard. He's then grabbed and thrown to the ground, followed by two bullies holding him while Cheng repeatedly punches him hard in the chest and/or gut. Cheng then kicks him hard and is about to punch him again when Mr. Han grabs that punch. Cheng and the other bullies then try attacking Mr. Han who beats them up not through direct contact by him, but by having them accidentally punch or kick each other, wrapping some in one's jacket, and spinning one around to hit the rest, all while avoiding and/or blocking their various punches, kicks and such.
  • There's hard sparring contact in Master Li's class, and he gets mad at Cheng for letting up at the end of a victory. Cheng then delivers a hard blow to his defeated opponent's head, followed by Master Li slapping Cheng hard to get his point across to him. He then stops Mr. Han from leaving the room and grabs his arm.
  • We see a bottle of booze and a glass by it as we see Mr. Han using a large mallet to smash the car he's been rebuilding. He appears intoxicated, but we then learn that he's more emotionally distraught (over the anniversary of the car-accident deaths of his wife and young son).
  • During the final tournament, there are various instances of hard contact during the various bouts (punches, kicks, flips, etc.). That includes Cheng landing with his elbow on one opponent.
  • Master Li tells one of his students that he doesn't want Dre beaten, but wants him broken, and thus instructs him to injure Dre. The student reluctantly does just that, repeatedly smashing Dre's leg.
  • During the final competition fight, Cheng kicks Dre off the stage and he lands hard on the floor. Dre then gets in his own share of blows (flip, punch, etc.). but under orders by Master Li, Cheng purposefully targets Dre's injured leg, causing him great pain. Even so, Dre stays in there and delivers a kick to Cheng's head.



  • Reviewed June 8, 2010 / Posted June 11, 2010

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