Up to date information about children's entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

The Karate Kid: For Kids of All Ages

Karate Kid 2

The best part of The Karate Kid, according to KIDS FIRST! jurors, Margie and Joseph Sarrao (9), was all the Kung Fu, especially when Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) fought with a broken leg.  Indeed, there is a lot of Kung Fu action in this movie, a fact that is sure to please kids of all ages.  It is, however, also a story of friendship, redemption, getting up when you are knocked down, learning to live in a foreign culture, and good sporstmanship.  Oh, yeah, it is also a story about bullying – a concept many American kids understand.

In Karate Kid, Dre befriends Meiying (Wanwan Han), a girl at his school, but unwittingly dishonors her family.  Viewers will think it’s funny to watch Sponge Bob in Chinese, but Dre is learning to navigate in a culture very different from ours – from eating different foods to watching “Sponge Bob” in Chinese, to the Chinese idea of honor.

Good sportsmanship and bullying are also central themes in this movie.  Dre makes an enemy of the school bully.   At one point, they beat Dre up 5 against 1!  They are definitely not good sports. They are willing to do anything to win, even cheat.  But Dre doesn’t handle this situation well, either.  He doesn’t tell any adults about the bullying.  Both his mom (Taraji P. Henson) and his school’s headmistress would help him if they knew.  This is a good lesson for real life.

As a “child of the 80’s,” when the first Karate Kid was made, I was hesitant to watch this remake.  But I really enjoyed it!  It is very well made. Will Smith definitely “pulled out all the stops.”  Jaden Smith is a very emotive young actor.  The plot is exciting.  The scenery is amazing!   And… there are lots of things for parents to discuss with their kids after the movie (or watch it just for fun!)

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