The Karate Kid

First slide

Stirring, satisfying update of the 1984 hit shifts the action to modern China, where an unassuming kung fu master (Jackie Chan) teaches an undersized American boy (Jaden Smith) how to confront a bully while imparting other life lessons. Director Harald Zwart balances fealty for the crowd-pleasing original with embellishments that, aside from a manipulative musical score, enhance the appeal of the timeless underdog story.

Watch out for: Hard-hitting and occasionally cruel but not graphic martial arts violence, including a boy being struck across the face by an adult, the use of a crass term for the human posterior, some mild toilet humor, one instance of sexual innuendo, an unnecessary kiss between pre-teens.

Rated: USCCB: A-II; MPAA: PG

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2010