Friday, June 18, 2010

The Heir to the Summer Blockbuster

Will Smith owned the slot for the summer blockbuster since "Independence Day" the summer of 1996. As long as he was the favorite goofy hero, he had the summer locked up. After he slid into the dark side with "I am Legend" and "Seven Pounds" he relinquished the summer.

Now that spot belongs to his son Jaden, in "Karate Kid." My sons were big fans of the 1984 release of "Karate Kid." But this latest release speaks to a new generation of urban youth who have a greater degree of martial arts exposure than the kids of 30 years ago. The international element keeps it from being just another black movie. If you can buy the premise of a single black Mom being transferred from Detroit to Beijing to work for an auto manufacturer, you can believe the frumping-down of Taraji P. Henson as the Mom (even a hottie has to work).

Jaden is a natural, and young enough not to appear weak when hiding from the bullies. I loved the interplay with Jackie Chan.

The movie is rated PG. The fight scenes are not bloody, but there was enough punching to make me hide my eyes a few times. The audience when we saw it at noon today was mostly white parents and kids around Jaden's age. The local Karate School used the opportunity for a promotion, with flyers and passes for a month of free lessons. The ticket sellers were even dressed in robes.

I'm awaiting the reports from my green-belted grandgems when they see it. I give it four stars. (I didn't fall asleep at all.)

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