When you mess with The Karate Kid, you're messing with greatness. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, so when I watch the original, it's like taking a trip back to my youth. This remake of that great 80s film could have been a collosal waste of time, but this film manages to create its own world and features two excellent performances by its leads.
You know the basics of the story: Kid moves to a new place, ends up getting bullied by a gang of martial arts thugs, andreport this review for TOS violationes under the tutalage of an older Asian gentleman so he can overeport this review for TOS violatione the odds, defeat the bad guys and win the girl. All you really have to do is replace Reseda with Beijing, a 17 year old Italian kid from Jersey with a 12 year old black kid from Detroit, and karate with kung fu (this is my biggest beef with the film - you couldn't name it The Kung Fu Kid?).
You figure this would make the sequel fairly useless, but the story worked then, and it still works now (though this, with its 140 minute running time, takes a lot longer to get there). You've also got very good performances from Jaden Smith, channeling the charisma of his parents, and Jackie Chan, who may not be able to live up to Pat Morita's Oscar nominated performance, but brings an interesting darkness to his Mr. Han. Their have very good chemistry together. If I feel like watching a Karate Kid movie, it'll probably still be the original, but this one is actually a very good remake that will win over kids who have never seen the original.