The Karate Kid
Release Date: July 8, 2010
12 year old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) was enjoying the height of popularity in Michigan before his mother’s latest career move landed them in Beijing China. The African-American boy struggles to fit in but finds a friend in Chinese girl Mei Ying. However the class bully takes offense at this culturally unacceptable pairing and downs Dre with a series of swift kung fu moves. Dre will have to master the martial art if he is going to survive in this new land, but all he has to help him is a seemingly useless maintenance man – played by Jackie Chan.
When the original Karate Kid was released in 1984, audiences gave it such an unexpected welcome that producers went on to release three sequels. Clearly there are high hopes for this latest re-imagining of the franchise. There are a few stumbling blocks for those who remember the original feature, not the least of which is that, despite the title, the story is built around kung fu, a completely different martial art. Furthermore, this time around the bully is motivated more by racism than testosterone. But the triumph-of-the-underdog storyline is intact, right up to the inspiring face-off at the end. It’s also a pleasure to see Jackie Chan in a role a little more serious than a B-grade American comedy. The content is as safe as the original for holiday viewing, but a duration of close to two-and-a-half hours may make it hard going for younger children.
Rating: CC G
Release Date: Sundays, 8:35 PM
These days I wonder if period drama represents one of the safest destinations in the televisual landscape. For one thing you don’t have to worry about scriptwriters dropping in obscenity in an effort to make their stories sound ‘gritty’ and ‘real’. For another the morality of the period tends to naturally guard against the sort of revealing clothing or gratuitous sexual acts that are part and parcel of modern drama. In that context the four-part series Little Dorrit comes as a welcome relief.
Little Dorrit is the next in a long line of BBC period dramas, this time drawing on a lesser-known novel by Charles Dickens. The story focuses on a family that has fallen on hard times and is sustained by the work the humble efforts of Amy Dorrit (Claire Foy). The unlooked for return of a merchant’s son from the far east begins a string of events that may return the fortunes of the Dorrits and deliver Amy into the arms of the man she admires.
A twist-and-turn love story, Little Dorrit represents an easy watch with welcome insights into the difference disinterested good deeds can make in the lives of less fortunate people.