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Film / The Karate Kid (2010)

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"Life will knock us down, but we can choose whether or not to stand back up."
"Kung Fu lives in everything we do, Xiao Dre. It lives in how we put on the jacket, how we take off the jacket. It lives in how we treat people. Everything... is Kung Fu."
Mr. Han

A Continuity Reboot of The Karate Kid series that premiered in June 2010, borrowing elements of the first one but set in Beijing, China. Jaden Smith (Will Smith's son) plays the lead role of Andre "Dre" Parker and Jackie Chan is the old mentor, Mr. Han. There is almost no karate in this film; the lead character trains in kung fu instead.

Sits outside the main Canon of The Karate Kid Franchise.note 


The Karate Kid (2010) contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Jaden's father Will Smith did a parody of Karate Kid on an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with Pat Morita, the original Miyagi, guest starring.
    • Also, at one point Dre was just relaxin all cool and shooting some basketball outside of school and is then interrupted by bullies.
  • Adult Fear: A very painful and realistic one for Mr. Han. During an argument with his wife while driving, they would end up in a horrific crash that would kill her and their son. Beyond the painful relatability of losing one's family so quickly, the fact that your last memories of them were arguing over something you cannot even remember just makes it feel worse.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Han gives Dre a white jacket at the end of his training.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Cheng is a sadistic little creep. The rest of the Fighting Dragons too, especially the teacher, Li who, true to the film's inspiration, is pretty much a Race Lifted John Kreese.
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  • Artifact Title: Being set in China, the film uses kung fu rather than karate.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: The kung fu tournament in the film seems to be evoking the ruleset of ancient lei tai duels: it doesn't seem to have any dressing code, lacks protective gear of any kind or even gloves, is full-contact, and allows throwing, submissions moves and even some striking on the ground. In real life, full-contact kung fu tournaments are usually held under sanshou/san da rules, which are essentially and aesthetically Kickboxing with some throwing allowed, so they don't resemble the wild ruleset in the film at all (and needlessly to say, most legal combat sports in the world demand protective gear whenever they are geared to children).
  • The Atoner: Mr. Han tells Dre that he was distracted by an argument with his wife, and the crash killed her and his son, so he fixes up the car and smashes it up again on the anniversary of their deaths, hoping to atone for his guilt, which inspires Dre to train harder.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Mr. Han shows up and effortlessly defeats Cheng and his gang and stops them from beating up Dre.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Viewers who knew Mandarin would have pegged Meiying's father as a potential source of conflict early on once they heard Cheng and Meiying's first conversation (which didn't show up in the subs).
  • Bratty Half-Pint:
    • The kids who bully Dre are perfectly willing to attack an adult in their way. Unfortunately for them, it is a retired martial artist (aka Jackie Chan) who they are targeting.
    • Dre also shows a degree, especially earlier in the film.
  • Brick Joke: On Dre's first day of his new school, he's wearing the school uniform. The principal told both him and his mother that they only wear them on uniform day. Later on, it's the school field trip and it's also uniform day. Guess who's not wearing the uniform... Later he meets up with Meiying saying "Look, uniform on uniform day." This time he gets it right.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: When Dre gets beat up by Cheng's whole gang after provoking them into chasing him, we see for a moment that Dre was so scared he actually soiled himself.
  • Buffy Speak: "Fiery cup thing."
  • Clothing Combat: Mr Han uses one kid's jacket sleeves to tie up two other kids who are beating up Dre.
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury: Dre gets into a fight with one of the bullies at school, leaving him with a black-eye. The next day, he wears some of his mother's makeup and a hat to school to try and avoid suspicion. It fails when the teacher mentions that hats aren't allowed in school; his mother takes off the hat, seeing that he's wearing makeup and realizes that he's been in a fight. She panics over this while Dre tells her it's nothing.
  • Colour Coded Armies: The tournament. Dre is in white and Cheng and his team are in black and red. The other teams, which pretty much serve as cannon fodder, are dressed in green, purple, and blue.
  • Comforting Comforter: A rather sweet scene when Dre falls asleep onto Mr Han's lap and a hesitating Mr Han places a hand on his shoulder.
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: The scene involving the hot water switch.
  • Crippling the Competition: Done twice by the Fighting Dragons, on Master Li's orders.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The first fight between Cheng and Dre does not go well for Dre at all.
    • Cheng and his gang in turn get effortlessly defeated by Mr. Han when he shows up and protects Dre.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • Cheng is the one who gives Dre the winning trophy. Then, he and the other boys who had bullied and fought with Dre also pay their respects to Mr. Han. Master Li is also forced to congratulate Mr. Han's victory, much to his dismay.
    • Averted in the the alternate ending/deleted ending, in which Master Li doesn't suck it up. Mr. Han has to stop him from beating his students, to which Li starts a fight and Han humiliates him in front of an entire spectator crowd as a Continuity Nod to the original films. These scenes were taken out because the producers believed it took too much focus away from Dre's character winning.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Chinese tend to stay silent out of respect after a performance of any sort. So after Meiying's recital, they were opt to remain silent. However, Dre, who came from United States, cheered and clapped. This invoked anger from his crush's father.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The movie was called "The Kung-Fu Kid" internally, since of course Dre is not learning karate like Daniel did in the original film, he's learning kung fu.note  However, producer Jerry Weintraub insisted on keeping the original title for brand recognition and marketing.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: As part of Dre's training, Mr. Han takes him up a tall mountain to the Dragon Well, where drinking from it purportedly make one invincible. The well is a shallow fountain with a yin-yang symbol in the center.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: One of Cheng's cronies tells him to stop hurting Dre, after he has beaten him up significantly.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Subtly done with Li in two scenes. First, when an injured Dre returns to the tournament, the tournament's spectators are impressed, but Li only mockingly applauds, suggesting that he considers Dre's slim chances of winning rather than his courage and fighting spirit. Later, when his own students show their respect to Mr. Han by bowing, he is shocked rather than angry. Which means that he fails to understand why young students would respect a successful, yet kind teacher.
  • Eye Cam: When Cheng beats Dre up for the second time, we see that Dre is so badly hurt that his vision is impaired.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: "I don't want him beaten; I want him broken" and "Break his leg."
  • Genre Blind: The gang of bullies seem to think they can take on an adult man who has just exhibited an uncanny level of athleticism for a man his age and appearance. Unsurprisingly, the man is revealed to be a kung fu master and they get their asses kicked.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Justified, as Dre is horrible at Chinese and tries to learn bits and pieces. The Chinese people around him either speak English with a heavy accent or don't speak it at all.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Fighting Dragons bow to Mr. Han in respect after Dre defeats Cheng in the tournament finals, to Li's dismay.
  • Kneel Before Frodo: After Dre wins the tournament, Cheng and the other Fighting Dragon students bow to Mr. Han, accepting him as their new master.
  • Kung-Fu Kid
  • Left Hanging: The subplot of Meiying practicing for an audition to be accepted to the Beijing Academy of Music. We see the audition, but never find out if she was accepted or not nor just what her instructor meant by "you know what this would mean for your family". We can only assume it was a matter of honor, like when Dre qualified for the tournament finals (even if just because his opponent was disqualified) and was told he honored his family.
  • Love Triangle: A bit of a case with Dre and Cheng who both have a crush on Meiying, who chooses Dre.
  • Magic Feather: They don't say it, but the Dragon Well that gives awesome kung-fu powers was just for a confidence boost. Possibly downplayed as the characters knew full well it was simply folklore and never actually believed that the well would grant any powers.
  • Mama Bear: In a deleted alternate ending scene, when Li attempts to strike Cheng for losing, Han stands up to Li and pins him down with a leg-to-head lock, reminding him of his own "no mercy" rule, and Dre talks him out of attacking him. Just before she departs, Sherry punches Li in the jaw for ordering his students to attack her son.
  • Martial Medic: In a shout-out to the first film, Mr. Han applies the fire cup healing which enables him to continue in the tournament.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • There's a scene where Mr. Han sees a fly and, after chasing it around with his chopsticks, whips out a flyswatter, smashes the fly against the wall, picks the fly off with his chopsticks, and continues eating with the chopsticks.
    • The trailer that featured this scene had "You're The Best Around" playing in the background.
    • Also, The Flying Dragons use a variation of "No Mercy" for their motto.
    • Mr. Han waxing his car.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Dre encourages Meiying to play hooky and skip school for a day, and she is almost late for her violin audition which was moved up a day. Meiying's parents are not pleased with this, and believe Dre to be a bad influence, forbidding her from seeing Dre.
  • Nonindicative Name: The movie is called "The Karate Kid," even though no karate appears in the movie.
    • They threw in a line about Dre knowing "a little Karate" to justify the Artifact Title, and the term is used as a derisive nickname a few times.
    • There are a couple of scenes of Dre trying in earnest to use karate (albeit trying to learn from an infomercial or some such thing.) The results are less than indicative of the title.
    • Dre's mother mistakes Kung Fu for Karate.
    • The original title was "The Kung-Fu Kid" (with many of the film crew using that name during production), but it was changed due to its name recognition and nostalgia factor.
  • Ordered to Cheat: Master Li orders two of the Fighting Dragons to break Dre's leg.
  • Overprotective Dad: Meiying's father disapproved of his daughter's friendship with Dre because he saw him as a bad influence to his daughter, causing her to be late for her recital and forbade her from spending time with him. However, he turns out to be much more reasonable than the stereotypical version. When Dre respectfully approaches him and apologizes (in phonetic Chinese), he reconsiders and is later seen actively cheering for Dre.
  • Parental Substitute: Mr Han acts like one of these and a friend to Dre. In return, Dre reminds Mr Han of his deceased son.
  • Parting Words Regret: Mr. Han towards his family.
  • Pet the Dog: A non-villainous example with Mr. Han (who acts like a bit of a jerk when he is first introduced). During the tournament, when Dre knocks one of the Dragons down, it is Mr. Han who helps him up. This little gesture is in sharp contrast with Li's behaviour, who considers showing the opponent kindness a sign of weakness, and even mistreats his students.
  • Post-Game Retaliation: The alternate ending has Master Li doing after his students lose to Dre. Mr. Han intervenes and trashes Li in a fight, contributing to his Humiliation Conga.
  • Puppy Love: Among Dre and Meiying, given their ages.
  • Recycled Title: Because "The Kung-Fu Kid" would have sounded silly. Ironically, in China, it's called "功夫梦" Gongfu Meng ("The Kung Fu Dream"); in Japan, and South Korea, it's called "Best Kid" (the same title that was used for the original movie in those countries), and "The Karate Kid" everywhere else.
  • The Remake: Of the 1984 film (see above).
  • Running Gag:
    • Possibly Dre's expression when he hangs up his coat for his mom. Mr. Han makes a point of making sure that "attitude" is there during Dre's "jacket-on, jacket-off" training and it has a spotlight shone on it when it shows up in the tournament.
    • People touching the Parker's hair. At one point, Dre's mother is surrounded by little kids who are happily playing with her hair. Absolutely Truth in Television, as foreigners with either important or distinctive hair in China have been mobbed by children wanting to touch it.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Dre's mother.
  • Serious Business: This is a tournament for young pre-teen kids and Master Li wants his students to break Dre's leg and defeat him completely.
  • Shout-Out: A black kid is bad at basketball and gets in trouble with a local gang of tough kids on the court? Must be genetic.
  • Surprisingly Good English: Some of the Chinese characters, including Mr. Han, Cheng, Meiying, and Mrs. Po, have a decent command of English.
  • Thug Dojo: It would hardly be a Karate Kid remake without one.
  • Underdogs Never Lose
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Jacket on, jacket off, drop the jacket, pick up the jacket, jacket on... it also has the nice side effect of disciplining Dre for his attitude.
  • We Will Meet Again: Dre gets beaten up a few times. A truce is called, pending a tournament.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Harry disappears in the last third of the film except for a few blink and miss moments at the tournament given that Dre is able to better manage himself. Another case of Truth in Television though, as anyone who moves to a foreign land can attest that they will initially stick to people with a similar background (American nationality in the case of Dre and Harry) before integrating with the local populace.


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