The Karate Kid is an IP that has probably gone on for much longer than any of its creators ever imagined. After all, the first couple of films were very much a reflection of their time: The fear of a rising Japan and its impact on America as well as the coming of age during the Reagan era in the United States.
How do you follow this kind of story, especially in 2010? If you’re The Karate Kid, you simply adapt to the circumstances of the time and that’s what brings us to 2010’s iteration of this story.
How to Download The Karate Kid (2010)
You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. Check out also our review of the original film from 1984 and the follow-up TV series Cobra Kai.
The Movie Review
Starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, right off the bat, you can see that things are both similar and very different from before. Rather than focusing on Japan, this film uses China instead but doesn’t simply juxtapose one over top of the other. Shifting this focus results in a fresh take on the core material and one that both modernizes and differentiates it from the last attempt at reviving and reimagining the series (1994’s The Next Karate Kid).
Also, kung fu replaces karate as the art of choice in this film which, again, conforms with the overall setting and tone change. From here, we get much the same story with a child prodigy being honed by a master practitioner to overcome himself and his adversaries in the ring.
This is really the crux of the movie, too, and where audiences will either love or hate it. If you’re in for a fun time but don’t want to dwell too much on what’s going on in the movie, 2010’s The Karate Kid is perfectly fine. When you consider the original and its now extended lore via Cobra Kai, this film might come up somewhat short in that it lacks the depth and nuance that the original series was able to develop over time.
Action-wise, you’ve got Jackie Chan here, and that brings a lot to the table when it comes to making action sequences come alive and feel immediate. Outside of Jackie Chan, however, most of the cast does their job but you don’t really latch on to any one character. This might be the gift and the curse of having such a big name like Chan on the ticket. He’s both a draw and a distraction yet always contributes where it matters and that’s his place in the story’s arc.
Which The Karate Kid Is a Better Film?
Is it better than the original? As with many things, that’s probably a debate best left for elsewhere, but it certainly has a different, fresh vibe to it. This is a positive when you look at remakes that either can’t step out of the original’s shadow or that fail to recognize the heritage that the original form brought to the world. 2010’s The Karate Kid does neither and comes at it with its own fresh look at things. Whether you like it or not is largely a matter of your own tastes.
- Jackie Chan is always fun
- The movie is an easy watch
- Action sequences are more compelling than you would expect
- Not as many iconic characters as in the original
- As an action movie, it’s just ok
- Probably best for fans that aren’t deeply tied to the original series