Film Corner!

Scene of cab pulling up to apartment building in a city setting, and Ralph Macchio Jaden Smith (son of superstars Will and Jada) is saying goodbye to friends/family. His mother, Taraji P. Henson, says, "I feel like we're on a quest to start a new life." They fly on Air China to Beijing, China—their new home, where they have relocated because of his single mother's job. Jaden is positively Macchio-like in his surly petulance. Scenes of Jaden getting picked on by meanie Chinese kids. (Please disregard that this is a rather different cultural message than a poor East Coast Italian white kid getting picked on by rich West Coast "non-ethnic" white kids—and please try not to notice that this a clunky-ass metaphor for US insecurities about its own failing empire and emergent Chinese dominance.) Mr. Miyagi Mr. Han, aka Jackie Chan, steps in to save Jaden. "The only way to stop them is to face them; I will teach you," he says, and Jaden's training begins. The iconic "wax on, wax off" scene has apparently been replaced with "take your jacket off and hang it up; take it down and put it on; now take it off and hang it up" which is so not as cool. Montage of training scenes set against hip-hop music. Jaden will totes learn to beat up Chinese kids—yeah! Hey, why is this film called The Karate Kid when he's being taught kung fu? Maybe they should have just called it Japanese, Chinese, Whatever! And then, just in case you were still considering seeing this film, they give you one more reason not to: Jackie Chan goes after a fly with chopsticks; when it lands on a wall, he smacks it with a flyswatter. It's like that classic moment in Raiders of the Lost Arc when Indy exasperatedly shoots a dude wielding a scimitar—what a humorous reversal!—except without the inconvenience of actually being surprised by it in the film.

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