Some good things, but mostly bad. I hate to say that about a Will Smith (co-producer) movie. But that’s the way it is.
There was homage paid to the original Karate Kid. As a bit of parody, when (Mr. Han) Jackie Chan attempted to catch a fly with his chopsticks, he became frustrated with the effort and instead resorted to a flyswatter. Then, at the end of the final match, Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) strikes a pose reminiscent of the crane position used by Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) in the 1984 original. And as a bit of physical comedy, some eye games are played with other actors that were reminiscent of Crocodile Dundee’s efforts with some dogs.
The intercultural aspect was good. Treating the Chinese as humans, no enemies, is a positive.
The first negative goes to the theme. In the 1984 original, karate is learned for both honor and to defend another person. In this edition, kung fu is learned for the purpose of dealing with personal fears. The sense of honor was not as rich. The movie could have been much better in this respect.
But how can anyone take lightly any such treatment of Communism? Dre Parker wore a red star shirt, directly promoting Communism. Images of Mao were, as it is today, plastered all over the screen. Police were everywhere — at the schools and on street corners. Yet the people were treated as though they were as “free” as we might think of free. (Maybe that’s what our nation will look like once those 16,000 new IRS agents take the field.)
The system of government is ignored entirely. Why? To make a few bucks? Not an honorable goal. Ok, I’ll be more generous — to simply make a movie about a kid facing problems in our present world as it is. Still, I have to ask why the over-simplification. Yes, our government and larger corporations that are at peace with PROC ignore the reality as well. The consequence is that I do believe this is a place for moral outrage against a system of government that enforces mandatory abortion (with the past assistance of US tax dollars via Planned Parenthood), which murdered tens of millions of its own people, and fought us in the proxy Korean conflict (where my Dad served). Communism is evil. It is “scientific” (evolutionary) atheism at its worst. Taking it so lightly, even in making the movie, deserves our contempt and outrage. I wonder what the forthcoming remake of Red Dawn holds in store for us.
But no more money. Maybe the old fundamentalist piety about not paying for evil by going to movies has something to it.