The problem with remaking a movie that is a classic to a generation is the temptation to do everything in a new way and still try to tell the same story. It is often better to forget about the old story and storyline entirely and just retell the story in your own way without trying to make it fit with the classic. The Karate Kid has two things going for it Jackie Chan and location. Jaden Smith might be an actor one day but right now he has no chops whatsoever and the only reason he could have been cast in this role is his physical prowess - though I find it hard to believe that there isn/'t some other kid in Hollywood with equal physical skill who can actually recite a line without appearing to have learned it by rote.
For all the fans of the chop-socky genre the major flaws in this movie are clear. First the camera work in the fight sequences is choppy and the angles deliberately concealing. The bigger flaw though are the training montages which don/'t respect the timeline of the fighters development - that is just sloppy which is a word that easily characterizes this movie. There is an upside to watching this "second movie on a rainy day" selection and that is the nuanced performance of Jackie Chan. While Chan is best known for his martial skills, and those are on display briefly in this movie, it is his performance as the damaged Mr. Han that shines through the awkward script and bovine direction.
Wasted entirely in this film are the skills of veteran actress Taraji P. Henson who gets little screen time and when she does get screen time has to deal with a script that is so trite one wonders if the actors weren/'t corpsing every five minutes on set. Still she is immensely pleasant to look at which is probably why she was cast in the roll in the first place.
Not even a completist who sat through the abysmal The Next Karate Kid would be tempted to add this to their Karate Kid collection. The first two movies were enough - Ralph Macchio was the Karate Kid and Pat Morita was the master (with all due respect to Jackie Chan - Morita was a stellar actor). Give this one a pass.