It's interesting how you can go into a movie with certain reservations, and occasionally, even though those concerns are essentially justified after seeing it, the overall experience is so satisfying that they don't quite matter any more – or at least as much. Even as a child of the 1980s and a fan of the original, I didn't have strong feelings about the prospect of remaking The Karate Kid, but I admit I was bothered by the name of a film that now would take place in China and feature kung fu. (it may come as news to some that not all Asian ethnicities are the same.) Also, as much as I like budding star Jaden Smith, his age (12) and scrawny build made it difficult to imagine watching him getting beaten up, even by other kids supposedly his age.
But all of those concerns became immaterial when I sat down to watch Harald Zwart's respectful, well-acted remake. Quite possibly the crowd-pleasingest movie I've seen all year, The Karate Kid masterfully captures the charm and humanity of the 1984 original, providing an experience to which all summer movies should aspire.