The remake of The Karate Kid was cool! As entertaining and clean as it seemed, we still have some initial reactions along with some critical thinking to help you when you view it.
Spoiler-free reviewThe Karate Kid soundtrack, by James Horner, was great, and the scenery of China was beautiful. We both thought this remake was much better than the original. Jaden Smith, the son of Will Smith, was fabulous in The Karate Kid; we think he has a great career ahead of him. Jackie Chan showed a new side with his serious portrayal of a serious character.
We both gave this The Karate Kid many thumbs up. It was clean and, aside from some martial art violence, it’s a great family movie.
The rest of our conversation contains spoilers (if The Karate Kid can really be spoiled).
The Karate Kid portrays a good family, with a father who had died rather than left his family or was a silly father, and a mother who is close to her son. Honoring your parents and family is a strong theme throughout The Karate Kid.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH. (Ephesians 6:1–3)
The Karate Kid almost came across as an advertisement for socialist China as a great place to live. There is a comment about learning the language of the country you are in, which can easily be flipped to America.
You don’t have switch in America? … Get switch; save planet.
Kung fu / martial arts
Despite it’s title, The Karate Kid is really about kung fu, but it still closely follows the 1984 The Karate Kid.
No weakness, no fear, no mercy!
The motto of the school where Dre’s compeditors are training is contrasted with Mr. Han’s advice:
The best fights are the ones you avoid.
Being ready to defend yourself and your loved ones is not the same attitude as wanting to destroy your enemy just for the sake of it. Martial arts techniques are meant for defense, not aggression.
Kung fu is knowledge or defense … to make peace with your enemy, not war.
This parallels well with what Jesus told us in His sermon on the mount:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew [5:43]–44, NASB)
Daniel says the school’s motto is an extremely negative view of martial arts. He talks about the value of martial arts as a means of defense and fitness. There is a Scriptural comment on this as well.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receivesthe prize? Run in such a way that you may win.Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I disciplinemy body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Corinthians [9:24]–27)
Blessed be the LORD, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle; (Psalm 144:1)
It’s important to keep our bodies as fit as possible. This kind of exercise is self control. It’s about strength (not “no weakness”). It’s about perseverance (not “no fear”). It’s protecting and extending mercy (not “no mercy”). For more discussion about a Christian perspective on martial arts go to Compassion365.
Kung fu is in everything we do. How we put on a jacket, how we take off a jacket, how we treat people. Everything is kung fu.
We have, as Christians, something inside us that is about everything.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians [5:22]–23)
The Karate Kid also discusses chi—the energy and essence of life.
The Dragon Well
Many believe that if you drink from this well, you will never be defeated
The pilgrimage to the Dragon Well make us think of the account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John [4:13]–14)
Dre’s reaction to Mr. Han’s description of the well is to stick his whole face into it, reminding us of Peter’s enthusiasm when Jesus was washing the disciples’ feet.
Then He poured water into the basin, and began towash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” (John 13:5–9)
Being still and doing nothing are two different things.
Great quote from the movie. This is something Christians often forget. We are continuously admonished in Scripture to “be still” or “wait on God.”
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth! (Psalm [46:10], NKJV)
Like Mary and Martha, where one was busy doing and the other was busy listening, it’s important that we stop and let God be God.
Dealing with loss and grief
Mr. Han has a terrible tragedy in his past and The Karate Kid shows him not dealing with that grief well.
Every year I fix the car and still there is nothing.
For unbelievers, there really is no way to recover from grief. There is no hope. They can keep rebuilding the car, but they won’t be able to find their way out of that hold of grief. For believers, that kind of loss has a hope of reunion and that kind of grief can teach us valuable lessons.
Life will knock us down but we can choose whether or not to get back up.”
And in the Bible it says:
for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity. (Proverbs [24:16])
There is a lesson in Karate Kid about picking yourself up and facing up to the obstacles that you face in life. Dre helps Mr. Han get through his grief by giving him something to do. There is a dangerous humanistic philosophy in that, as well, because we are not self sufficient. We need God, and we need each other. We can’t do it by ourselves.
If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (Ecclesiastes [4:10])
I’m scared. I don’t want to be scared anymore.
As Christians, we have some protection from fear—a reliance on God’s power, protection, and guidance:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
Dre wants to face his fears, but there is such a thing as a healthy fear. Sometimes there are good reasons why we should be afraid.
The Bible also admonishes us often to “fear the Lord.” There is a difference between healthy fear and respectful fear.
The Karate Kid was great fun. We both enjoyed it a lot and want to see it again. The crowd in the theater was highly involved in the movie, clapping and shouting during the tournament. There is some violence and mild language, but over all, The Karate Kid makes a great family film.
What did you think?
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