This popular martial arts remake of the 1984 film starring Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio stars Jaden Smith as a young boy named Dre Parker who moves to China with his mother, played by Taraji P. Henson.
Once there, Dre encounters Mr. Han, played by Jackie Chan, who teaches him defense and honor amid a new culture. Chan solidifies his reputation and martial arts skills even more with his memorable role as the local handyman who knows much more than he seems.
His inspirational words to Dre have some familiarity, but they still create a strong bond between this unlike pair. This movie has many crowd pleasing and inspiring moments packed into a considerable two hour and 20 minute running time.
Director Harald Zwart (Agent Cody Banks, The Pink Panther 2) strengthens the existing appeal to have audiences standing up and cheering by the end with a rousing climax that enhances events based on the original film. Zward and his crew boost the appeal with amazing locations that capture the culture and day-to-day life in China, especially when Dre learning how to use the showers there.
This remake also contains several references to the previous version including the famous chopstick sequence. Dre finds predictable challenges as an outside, especially when he encounters a gang of kung fu students led by Cheng, impressively played by Zhenwei Wang in his only feature film role to date.
Co-produced by Jaden’s famous parents Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Highly recommended (***1/2 out of four stars) and rated PG for action violence.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler