While the scenery in China was gorgeous and the acting was quite good, it just didn't have the heart of the original. I can understand wanting to revisit such an iconic film, but to me, the original was better left alone. Why not come up with something completely original instead of trying to fit the old into a new mold? The original was a story about teenage romance and the angst of being the new guy and not fitting in, and while this film is trying to do sort of the same thing, I never felt the love and connection between Dre and Mr. Han that was there between Daniel and Mr. Miyagi. Mr. Han's back story involved a car accident taking the lives of his wife and child and every year, he rebuilds the car that was in the accident, only to demolish it on the anniversary of their deaths. Again, it's one of those things that probably looked really good on paper, but just feels paper thin and contrived in the film.
Taraji P. Henson came off as annoying, but Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan were great in their roles. It's cool to see Chan in the role of mentor and watching him beat up a gang of kids by making them attack each other in typical Chan style was lots of fun. They did change up the ending somewhat and that was a good thing, but overall, the film just left me cold.
Considering the lovely Chinese vistas, the film looks wonderful on Blu-ray. Everything is crisp and sharp, so high def is the way to go for viewing The Karate Kid. Special features include an interactive map with the locations from the film so you can click to get more info on each place, production diaries that cover all aspects of training, the actors, the locations and such, a full-fledged making-of featurette that repeats some of the content covered in the production diaries, but is still quite deep, a Justin Bieber/Jaden Smith music video, and finally Chinese lessons. I thought the inclusion of the Chinese lessons was cool, but I found the audio to be clipped at the very beginning of each lesson. Maybe this was a PS3-specific thing, but still, that put a damper on it, to say the least. There is a cool alternate ending with Jackie Chan fighting, which is definitely worth watching, plus the film comes not only packaged with a Blu-ray disc, but also a Digital Copy and DVD copy.
Overall, if you go into The Karate Kid forgetting the original and thinking of it as The Kung Fu Kid, since after all, Dre learns Kung Fu and not Karate, you'll probably enjoy it more. While it's a feel-good good martial arts movie, to me, it's just not The Karate Kid.