Yesterday I set out on the spur of the moment to go see the new Karate Kid with my daughter and her friend. Being an 80s kid the original was iconic for me -- and I had a bit of a celebrity crush on Ralph Macchio.
While the plot was essentially the same in both movies, "kid forced to move to "strange new land" against his will, befriends the wrong girl, is stalked and beat up by a gang on psycho karate bullies (led by an even more psycho teacher), gets trained on the "true" meaning of karate, wipes the floor with the bullies at the tournament, and ultimately gets the girl.
But there are some differences. "Daniel "(Macchio's character) was 17 - "Dre"- Jaden Smith's was 12. California was the strange new land in the original, China was the new land in the 2010 version. Dre's mother seemed to be more involved than Daniel's mother was in the original.
With the exception of Pat Morita's portrayal of Mr. Miagi, I think the acting was much better than in the original movie. Jackie Chan was good, and it was fun to see him in a more serious role rather than the silly stuff he normally does, but he's no Morita and he knows it. This was demonstated in an early scene where Chan is trying to catch a fly with chopsticks, and gives up and grabs a fly swatter.
Jaden was very expressive -- his performance reminded me a lot of his father, Will Smith's performance in Seven Pounds. Han Wen Wen was adorable as Mai Jing, and I preferred her to Elizabeth Shue as Ali. I hope she gets an opportunity to do more things.
All and all it was a fun movie to see, and I would reccommend it.