Great Sunday afternoon entertainment for the family, points of interest being Jacky Chan, Will Smith's son, 12-year-old Jayden Smith, and the unique combination of wit and comedy that comes through black and Chinese collaborations. The plot of this updated version stayed true to the original - single mum moving away with her son who's bullied in school because of his crush on a girl and in a state of being beaten out of his senses, the young protagonist found protection and defence from a handyman who turns out to be a kungfu master in the closet.
What's enjoyable and delightful about this movie for me is the absence of a Hollywood Asian actor adopting a fake Asian accent. What's authentic is that for once, in an action movie, Jacky Chan, as kungfu master Mr Han, didn't overact to show his stuff. The 12-year-old protagonist, Drey Parker, also wasn't trying too hard to be Chinese but was surprised that power or physical prowess begins with personal discipline over the smallest things in life such as picking up his jacket and hanging it on a stand - stuff that would please his mum. So it was no surprise that his kungfu master would pick up this lack of personal discipline and use it to hone his kungfu skills. As a mum of 3 teens who dump their clothes all over the place, this was the stuff of sheer pleasure and gratification! Even with black mums, even in China, teens should pick up their clothes!
Drey's morphing from prey to prowess was gradual considering of course that this is a movie. Scenes from Great Wall of China and other postcard quality locations became backdrops only because of the intensity and authenticity of Mr Han persona. My daughter's favourite scene was when Mr Han sat and cried in the car that killed his wife and son. For me, the frame for a poignant moment was when he recalled that on that fateful night, he was enraged over something that he could not even remember later but it was powerful enough to cause him to lose focus and crash, leading to their deaths. What an awesome reminder that we often lose the big picture over small stuff with our closest ones, leaving us with only mountains of regret and fragments of happy memories.
The development of the friendship between Mr Han and Drey Parker through the sharing of private pains made it real and vulnerable, and they left it as that. Which makes it real and not over-optimistic.
There was one scene apparently from a mountain-top where a female kungfu disciple was perched outside a building in a stationary position facing a cobra. Drey stared mesmerized for a long time waiting for something to happen between the snake and the woman when Mr Han explained that it is not the woman following the serpent but the serpent mimicking the woman. Then Drey concluded, "She's controlling the cobra bydoing nothing?" From Mr Han came the wisdom: "Being still and doing nothing are very different things."
Very true. I'm so aware that often times, when I'm alone with God that I'm more engaged in my thoughts than with Him! Indeed, being still and being available to God are also very different things!
Out of this movie, I love the Jacky Chan I saw, the China I saw, the persuasion toward things Chinese I saw, and the little Karate Kid I saw who looks he could be my nephew! Love the movie!