Dre Parker(Jaden Smith) moves to Beijing from Detroit because his mother Sherry Parker(Taraji P Henson) has taken up a new job in Beijing. Dre has trouble adjusting to the new culture and also the new school. At his new school, he develops a liking to Mei Ying. But he is bullied by Cheng a fellow student and his friends.
Although his mother tries excitedly to get him hooked on to China and everything China, Dre is unable to. He likes Mei Ying but fears Cheng who beats him up in a showdown. Vengeful, Dre throw dirt at Cheng and his friends by following them surreptitiously. When Cheng and his friends confronts Dre after chasing him, the maintenance guy at Dre’s apartment Han(Jackie Chan) arrives just in time to save him.
Since Han knows Kung Fu, Dre requests him to teach him. But Han takes Dre to Cheng’s martial arts teacher for making peace. Instead of making peace there, Cheng’s teacher throws a challenge which Han accepts. Now, Han has to teach Dre Kung Fu and prepare him for a tournament wherein he will fight with Cheng.
Harald Zwart directs this movie. The movie has a heavy dose of martial arts based action. But the emphasis is on a child who finds it difficult to get acceptance in the new surrounding, finding an equivalent to father in a teacher and standing up in spite of hardships. It is the emotional angle that make the movie interesting. The action scenes and also romance shown in the movie are better suited for an older age group than the age group shown in the movie.
When we walk into the theater, Jaden Smith’s lineage is the major factor which we carry with us. He is the son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Jaden’s portrayal of Dre’s loneliness, frustration and desperation is an endearing one which makes us forget about his lineage in the early phases of the movie itself. He is excellent in scenes where he shows the attitude in Kung Fu, where he watches Mei Ying dance and where he persuades Han in helping him heal fast for the final fight.
Jackie Chan gives a very restrained performance as Han to complement Jaden’s character. He gives a brief glimpse of his funny side immediately after the fight where he saves Jayden from Cheng. Jackie Chan continues to awe us with his style of fighting although he only fights once in the movie. He gives a balanced portrayal of Han without going overly dramatic or philosophic.
Taraji P Henson provides the funniest moments in the movie with her actions and also dialogues. In spite of being loud, she still makes us sympathize with a single mother!
Watch this. Although the action is too violent for 12 year old, it is still pleasant to watch.