Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith, Taraji P. Henson
Directed By: Harald Zwart
Written By: Script: Christopher Murphey, Story: Robert Mark Kamen
Its a tough ask to re-make a hit and tougher when the original is a classic hit. Harald Zwart took upon this challenge and yes he did succeed to some extent. Since the original was set way back in 80's the freshness to the movie is brought by moving the whole setup to the birth place of Kung-Fu i.e. China.
Dre (Jaden Smith) along with his mother is forced to move to China from Detroit. As they move to Beijing Dre as any 12 yr old is curious and amazed by his new surroundings. He tries to make friends, plays basketball with his boys from the neighborhood and while playing notices a sweet girl Mei Ying practising violin. As he starts talking with her, Cheng a family friend of Mei and his friends start a fight and beat Dre up. Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) Dre's building's maintenance man comes to Dre's rescue when he is surrounded by Cheng and his friends. Han agrees to help Dre and train him in Kung Fu for an open tournament where Dre would face Cheng. Han first makes Dre realise the importance of discipline and then trains him in Kung Fu. While Han helps Dre in self-defense, Dre helps Han in getting over his personal tragedy. How Dre overcomes fear and wins fight and respect of his opponent Cheng with the help of Mr.Han is the whole story.
Like father like son, we saw the glimpse of Will Smith's prodigal son Jaden in "The Pursuit of Happyness" and here is the trailer of things to come. Jaden as Dre is brilliant, he lives upto the name. He is good in emotions, brilliant with his action and splendid with his expressions. As a 12 year old looks confused and broken when he is not accepted and ill- treated in the place which is scheduled to be his new home, Jaden is perfect. The scenes where he lets at out at his mother for moving to Beijing and specially the very emotional sequence where hears about Mr. Han's personal tragedy are couple of examples of the Jaden Smith's potential.
I have always seen Jackie Chan either fighting or making us laugh but this is one of few roles where he has to convey his thoughts through his facial expressions as Mr. Han hardly speaks. He is one of the best Kung Fu masters seen on screen but here he subdues his skills and brings in more calm and ease to them.
The action sequences are good with some really beautiful ones being shown during the tournament. The best actually is the last sequence where Jaden knocks out Cheng. Few dialogues are funny and sequences have been kept nice and simple. The spirit of the movie is kept intact as well, when Dre says to Han that he still wants to fight coz he is still afraid and wants to leave the tournament with his head held and not afraid. The writers have kept the spirit and feel of the original intact and have added few elements that make the movie likable and fresh.
Its nice movie which you can watch if you have some absolutely free time to spend. Not a bad effort, watch it for Jaden Smith and our good boy Jackie Chan.
Plus : Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan's performance.
Rating : 7/10