Ragging is a given in a new institution, educational or professional. We get over it. Being ragged in a new country, where language is a barrier and the means Kung Fu is plain nasty.

Quite Obviously, the country is China, and Dre (Jaden Smith) is not happy about being uprooted from Detroit, thanks to his Mom’s (Taraji P. Henson) transfer. Dre is a kid with an attitude, just the wrong type sometimes.

When he spots Meiyeng, the pretty violinist, the 12 yr old makes his move, but pays a big price when a jealous boy thrashes the daylights out of him. Dre lives in fear, avoiding the big bullies till one day Mr.Han (Chan) unexpectedly saves him with some impressiveKung Fu. Chan’s skills are no secret, and the serious fight scene has a hint of cheekiness as he manages to make the bullies beat each other up with them. On Dre’s insistence he starts training him, survival in an impending tournament the kid’s constant prayer.

Grueling training sessions- a mixture of new and traditional methods- on the Great Wall of China and in a mountain top Temple take a closer look at the culture. Discipline and respect are the guidelines in this practice that is actually meant to make peace and not war. As these are inculcated in him, Dre learns the right attitude.The movie emphasizes on emotions and relationships. The beautiful friendship between master and student grows as they imbibe lessons from each other in some touching moments. Ditto for Mother and son.

Smith is a natural with his genes, and when he swaggers onto that mat to compete, you’re rooting for him. The movie belongs to him despite Chan’s presence. Scenes overlap seamlessly with the use of visuals and the music is bang on!

The content can’t be criticized but its unnecessarily long and the movie is not quite inspiring when compared to others of the same genre.However one leaves with a clear message.

To quote Mr. Han ‘Life can knock us down, but we can choose whether or not to get back up.’

[rating: 2.5]

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