Mandarin Tuesday: Movie Reviews

Mandarin Tuesday: Movie Reviews

As an elementary student, watching Mandarin movies was a blast. Now that we’re all plagued with stress and schoolwork, a moment away from all the negativity is what we need right now — and what better way to do that than revisit two of our favorite movies from class? (Plus, Jackie Chan appears in both of them!)

The Karate Kid (2010)

© Columbia Pictures

What movie has two iconic actors? I’ll tell you what: The Karate Kid! But not just any other Karate Kid movie — the one with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith!

The Karate Kid (2010) is always going to be one of my childhood favorites. Although there were similar versions to this movie, I must say that this one beats them all. This is an example of what a good movie must be, as it has one of the best storylines that would inspire any teenager or kid. 

It starts off with an emotional scene. Dre (Jaden Smith) was 12 years old when he lost his father. He had to start a new life in China because of his mom’s work. It was tough for Dre because he didn’t know Chinese and had trouble making friends. More of his classmates started to make fun of him and he had to find ways to protect himself. Soon after meeting a mysterious man named Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), Dre realized his love for karate. With the help of Mr. Han, Dre learned to fight with passion, earning himself the utmost respect. 

Watching this movie when I was in sixth grade was a very exciting moment. I remember the teacher pulling down the projector and I knew that it was going to be a good class. I think the main reason a lot of people would enjoy the movie is that it gives you a sense of comfort, knowing that one day there would be a moment in your life where good things would start to happen. But don’t take my word for it – why don’t you try watching (or rewatching) the movie yourself?

Chinese Zodiac (2012)

© Jackie & JJ Productions

I have watched this film over five times because my Mandarin laoshis1 would show it to us every year. This movie was released on December 12, 2012 and is suitable PG-13 (there are some action parts which could be disturbing to younger viewers). It’s great because it explains some legends of Chinese culture, specifically its zodiac. The story is about Jackie Chan, playing the character Jackie, a treasure hunter, finding the 12 Zodiac heads that were stolen from a Beijing palace in the 19th century. The heads are those of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac that represent different human qualities. Jackie goes through a series of events to recover each one and has some comedic moments to help further the plot. 

If you’re worried about not understanding the Chinese in the movie, there are English subtitles available. It was a good movie because it explains why the zodiacs are important to China to a bigger audience.

These two movies are the best Chinese-English movies to watch whenever you have free time. They highlight Chinese culture while being very entertaining. We recommend that you watch both The Karate Kid and The Chinese Zodiac if you would like to learn more about China and its traditions while having fun!

1Chinese word for “teacher” (老师)

Article by Joo Ha C. and Constance L. (Grade 9); Feature image by Katrina R. (Grade 12)

Reviews are uncommissioned, unpaid, and represent the personal views of the author. They should not be taken to represent the views of Dragon’s Print and Cebu International School.


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