Karate Kid (2010), The
Not suitable under 8, not recommended 8-12, PG to 15 (Violence, Disturbing scenes, Themes)
This topic contains:
- overall comments and recommendations
- details of classification and consumer advice lines for Karate Kid (2010), The
- a review of Karate Kid (2010), The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 July 2010.
Overall comments and recommendations
|Children under 8
||Not suitable due to violence and disturbing scenes
|Children aged 8-12
||Not recommended due to violence, disturbing scenes and themes
|Children aged 12-15
||Parental guidance recommended due to violence and themes
About the movie
This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.
|Name of movie:
||Karate Kid (2010), The
|Consumer advice lines:
||Action violence, bullying violence and themes
This review of the movie contains the following information:
A synopsis of the story
Twelve year old Dre Parker
(Jaden Smith) and his mother Sherry (Taraji P Henson) move from Detroit to
Beijing. There they live in a new apartment building called 'Beverly Hills' and
Dre attends the local school. While visiting a nearby park, Dre strikes up a
friendship with Meiying (Han Wenwen), a young girl who plays the violin.
However, Dre’s encounter with Meiying attracts the attention of the school head
bully Cheng (Zhenwei Wang) and his gang who target Dre for attack.
It is soon apparent that Cheng is intent on doing
serious injury to Dre, but Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), the maintenance man for Dre’s
apartment building steps in. Mr. Han is a Kung Fu master and makes short work
of the bullies.
Mr. Han then encourages Dre to go to the Kung Fu
academy where Cheng is a student, in the hope that they can reason with Cheng
through his instructor Master Li (Rongguang Yu). Unfortunately Master Li is
just as big a bully as Cheng, and Mr. Han decides that the only way he can
assist Dre is to enter him in a Kung Fu tournament where he will fight Cheng
one to one.
From this point on the film focuses on Mr. Han
teaching Dre Kung Fu and Dre’s blossoming relationship with Meiying, as the day
for the Kung Fu tournament draws near.
Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.
Bullying; martial arts, tweenage romance; grief and guilt over the death of family members
Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.
Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.
The Karate Kid (2010) contains intense
segments of graphic martial arts violence enacted by young boys against other boys,
and also frequent bullying. Much of the violence shown could be imitated by
children who might see Dre and other characters as role models. Other
than some bruising, the film depicts no real life consequences that would
result from injuries caused by the acts of violence; no blood or real injury
are depicted. Examples of violence include:
- While in a park we see Cheng push and shove
Dre, causing him to fall face first on the ground. In retaliation, Dre charges
at Cheng and we see Cheng flipping Dre over his shoulders resulting in Dre
lying upset on the ground. Dre gets up and punches Cheng in the face, knocking
Cheng onto his back. Cheng retaliates by punching and kicking Dre hard in the
chest knocking Dre off his feet. Cheng then punches Dre hard in the eye leaving
Dre lying on the ground holding his eye in pain. Later we see Dre with a large
ugly bruise covering much of one side of his face, applying makeup to hide the
bruise from his mother.
- In an act of deliberate bullying, Cheng
knocks a food tray out of Dre’s hands covering Dre in food. Later we see Cheng
and his gang rip Dre’s school bag out of his hands and tip the contents over
- Mr. Han flicks a tooth paste top at Dre
hitting him in the face.
- During a training session Master Li tells
his young students to show “no weakness, no pain and no mercy”.
- In retaliation to being bullied by Cheng
and his gang, Dre throws a bucket of filthy water over Cheng and his gang. Dre
is eventually restrained by the bullies while Cheng powerfully punches Dre twice
in the stomach. We see Dre lying on the ground in pain and very upset.
- There is a stylised fight between Cheng’s
gang and Mr. Han who manages to make the boys punch and kick each other rather
than making contact with him By the end of the fight all the bullies are left
lying injured on the ground. .
- Cheng fighting another boy at Master Li’s
Kung Fu academy, punching and kicking his opponent until his opponent is left
lying on the ground. Master Li tells Cheng to finish off his opponent and Cheng
powerfully punches his opponent in the head, knocking him unconscious. Master
Li then slaps Cheng hard across the face, saying “No mercy in life - your enemy
- During training, Mr. Han and Dre exchange
numerous punches, blocks and kicks, none of which appeared to cause Dre harm.
One of the training exercises involves Mr. Han punching Dre through a curtain
with a boxing glove attached to a pole.
- During the Kung Fu tournament we see
stylised martial arts fighting between pre-teen boys involving punches and
kicks to the head, face and body, some of which were powerful enough to knock
the opponent out of the ring. At one point the referee has to restrain Cheng to
stop him from beating his opponent senseless.
- On Master Li’s instruction a boy repeatedly
punches Dre in the knee joint in a deliberate attempt to cripple him. When we
next see Dre he is lying on a bed with a badly bruised leg wrapped in ice, and
we hear a doctor telling Dre that his injury is too severe for him to continue
in the tournament.
- During the final fight, Dre punches Cheng
in the face, wraps his legs around Cheng’s neck in a scissor hold, and flips
Cheng over his shoulders. Master Li tells Cheng to break Dre’s leg and Cheng
punches Dre in his injured leg. Dre lies
on the ground in severe pain with tears in his eyes. Dre, standing on his one
good leg performs a back flip and kicks Cheng in the face, knocking Cheng to
Material that may scare or disturb children
Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.
In addition to the above-mentioned violent
scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb
children under the age of five, including the following:
- In an attempt to heal injuries to Dre’s
chest, Mr. Han places heated glass cups on Dre’s chest, set some liquid on fire
and rub the fire over Dre’s chest. The flames do not burn Dre, but appear to
relieve his pain.
- A woman practising Kung Fu stands on a stone
wall facing a very large cobra which imitates her movements.
- Mr. Han, in an intoxicated state, smashes a
car with a sledge hammer. Mr. Han tells Dre that he was responsible for the
death of his wife and ten-year-old son in a car accident; Mr. Han was driving
the car. He breaks down crying and we hear that each year he fixes the car and
then smashes it on the anniversary of the death of his wife and son.
Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.
Children in this age group may also be
disturbed by the violent and disturbing scenes described above.
Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.
Children in this age group may also be
disturbed by the violent and disturbing scenes described above.
Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.
Some children in this age group may also be
disturbed by some of the scenes described above
The following products are displayed or
used in this movie:
The cartoon Sponge
Bob Square Pants (in Chinese) is depicted a couple of times
None of concern
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some nudity and sexual activity in
this movie, including:
- Dre and Meiying go on a date to a Chinese
festival that celebrates love. They watch a shadow puppet play and lean in and
kiss each other on the lips
- Dre’s mother wears a dress that reveals
- In one scene twelve year old Meiying is
seen wearing a short dress that exposes her thighs. She dances in a sensual
manner complete with hip movements and seductive facial expressions. The music
accompanying Meiying’s dance contains sexual lyrics relating to pole dancing,
and gambling metaphors with sexual innuendo. When Meiying finishes her dance we
hear Dre tell her “You’re hot.”
Use of substances
There is some use of substances in this
- In one scene we see Mr. Han acting in an
intoxicated manner an see a half empty bottle of alcohol sitting on a table.
The Karate Kid contains a couple of
low-level swear words and mild put-downs. Examples include:
- Mr. Li refers to Dre as “The little thing.”
- Kick their arse, damn it, stupid.
In a nutshell
The Karate Kid (2010) is a martial arts
action drama that is a remake of the 1984 film of the same name. It targets a
preteen/early teen male audience, but the film’s level of violence, which is
far more intense than that in the original film, makes it more suited to an
The film includes several overt positive
messages. However, at times the positive messages conflict with what the film
- The best fights you have are the ones you
- There are no bad students just bad
- Kung Fu is not about fighting, it is about
making peace with your enemy.
- The only person you need to control is
- Life will knock us down, but we can choose
to get back up.
- A true friend is one who makes our life
- Confronting bullies will allow you to loose
your fear of them.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children
- Confronting fears: Dre lives in fear of
bullies but, by confronting those bullies in a Kung Fu tournament, he both loses
his fear of them and gains their respect.
- Keeping promises: Dre and Meiying make a
promise to each other which they go to some length to keep.
- Empathy: Dre displays high levels of
empathy to both Meiying and Mr. Han
This movie could also give parents the
opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their
real-life consequences, such as:
- the real life consequences of engaging in
violent acts such as those depicted in this film. In the film we see
children/pre-teens severely beating each other to the point of unconsciousness,
but other than some very occasional bruising the film does not depict any blood
or realistic injury. Adults may wish to discuss how in real life violence such
as that depicted in the film would result in severe injury, if not death.
- the harmful effects of bullying, non-violent
methods of dealing bullies and how children can access support to assist with