The Karate Kid is essentially a Bollywood launch movie. Only the star being carefully constructed here is Jaden Smith, the almost 12-year-old son of superstar Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Jaden made his film debut in The Pursuit of Happyness but in The Karate Kid, he takes on the mantle of a leading man. And this pint-sized, genetically blessed boy wonder is more than up for the challenge.
The film showcases Jaden?s talent in every situation ? like Hrithik Roshan in Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, Jaden can fight, dance, romance, weep and skate-board with equal aplomb.
The film is a faithful remake of the 1984 blockbuster of the same name, which made Ralph Macchio a teenage pin-up and won Pat Morita, an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. Only here director Harald Zwart has Dre, the young, fatherless boy played by Jaden, moving from Detroit to Beijing.
Apart from the culture shock and inability to even serve himself food because he can?t use chopsticks, Dre finds himself facing a set of bullies who are of course Kung Fu experts. Enter Mr Han, the maintenance man played by Jackie Chan, who becomes Dre?s Kung Fu master, mentor and father figure.
Mr Han helps Dre to find his inner warrior and earn respect. And also helps him to stay friends with the most charming girl in school.
The Karate Kid is your standard fish-out-of-water, underdog story and even viewers who haven?t seen the original will know exactly what?s coming. There are no surprises here.
But the film has enough dramatic sweep to provide satisfaction. There isn?t much effort to penetrate Chinese culture - most Chinese people just seem to want to touch Dre?s hair - but there are some beautiful visuals of the country, including the requisite training shot on top of The Great Wall.
At two-hours plus, the film is far too long. The momentum flags with Dre?s love track and Mr. Han?s unnecessary back-story but as long as the script sticks to Kung-Fu, there is fun to be had.
Jackie Chan is sadly subdued but he gets one crackling fight sequence in which he doesn?t so much beat up his opponents as make them beat each other up.
But of course The Karate Kid belongs to Jaden Smith who is charismatic and remarkably self-assured. He puts fun into the formula here.
Fans of the original film are unlikely to be impressed with this bigger budget reboot but tweens, especially boys, will enjoy the Kung Fu action.