The Karate Kid (2010)
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The Karate Kid (2010) Plot
12-year-old Dre Parker leaves Detroit for Beijing after his widowed mother Sherry gets a job transfer at a car factory. There, Dre meets Meiying, a young violinist who reciprocates his attention. However, 15-year-old Cheng, a rebellious Kung Fu prodigy whose family is close to Meiying’s, keeps them apart by constantly attacking, teasing and bullying Dre. As revenge, Dre throws a bucket of dirty water over Cheng and his gang after a school field trip to the Forbidden City. Enraged, they chase, corner and brutally beat Dre at an alley. Mr. Han, a maintenance man who repaired for Sherry, intervenes and fends off the boys, revealing himself to be a Kung Fu Master.
Mr. Han heals Dre’s injuries using the ancient Chinese medicine methods of fire cupping. He explains that Cheng and his friends are not inherently bad, but made so by Master Li, who teaches his students to be merciless towards their enemies. Intrigued, Dre asks if Han could teach him Kung Fu. Mr. Han refuses and instead brings him to Li’s Fighting Dragons studio to make peace. Li harshly rebuffs the peace offer and challenges Dre to a fight with Cheng. Mr. Han instead counters that Dre compete against Li’s students at an upcoming Kung Fu tournament. He requests that his students leave Dre alone to train until then. Li begrudgingly accepts as long as Dre shows up at the tournament.
Mr. Han begins to teach Dre Kung Fu by emphasizing movements that apply to life in general. He conveys that serenity and maturity, not punches and power, are the true keys to mastering Kung fu. Han makes Dre repeatedly take off and pick up his jacket. Through this, Dre develops muscle memory. Han takes him to a Taoist temple in the Wudang Mountains. There, Dre witnesses a woman making a cobra reflect her movements and later drinks the water from a Taoist well. After many weeks of laborious training, Mr. Han gives Dre a day off. Dre goes to see Meiying, persuading her to cut school for a day of fun. This makes her nearly late for a violin audition, and her parents thus deem Dre a bad influence, forbidding her from ever seeing him again.
Dre heads to see Mr. Han, but finds him drunk and depressed, smashing a car he was working on. Mr. Han tearfully explains that he crashed the same car years ago, killing his wife Zhang and 10-year-old son Gong Gong. Every year, he destroys the car on the anniversary of the accident and spends the rest of the year fixing it to punish himself. Dre decides to train harder and help his teacher overcome his trauma. Mr. Han assists Dre in writing and reciting a note of apology in Mandarin to Meiying’s father. Meiying’s father accepts Dre’s apology. In return, he promises that Meiying will attend the tournament to support Dre.
At the tournament, the under-confident Dre starts defeating all of his opponents. Enraged, Li orders Liang, one of his students, to injure Dre in the semi-finals. Liang reluctantly does so by delivering a series of crippling blows to Dre’s leg. He gets disqualified as a result, and Dre advances to the finals against Cheng. Dre pleads with Mr. Han to heal his leg via the fire cupping method. Realizing this is more about overcoming Dre’s fear than anything else, Mr. Han complies.
The final match starts. On Li’s orders, Cheng attacks Dre’s injured leg. This causes Dre to lose balance. Dre struggles but manages to get up and uses the snake stance he saw at the temple. The move is successful, and Dre catches Cheng with a kick to the head, defeating him. Dre wins the tournament, earning the respect of Cheng and his classmates. Cheng presents Dre with the trophy and all of the Fighting Dragon students bow down to Mr. Han, accepting him as their new master, leaving Li defeated.