Montreal Film Journal:
I'd never seen a Harald Zwart-directed picture before, as his filmography seems iffy ("One Night at McCool's", "Agent Cody Banks", "The Pink Panther 2"...), but he handles "The Karate Kid" with a lot of skill. Or at least, he's surrounded himself wisely with, notably, cinematographer Roger Pratt, composer James Horner and French Canadian production designer François Séguin (a frequent collaborator of Denys Arcand and François Girard).
Add a cute little romance between Smith's Dre and a Chinese girl, a bunch of semi profound philosophical/spiritual lessons, and detours by some amazing Chinese locations (the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Wudang Mountains, etc.), and you get a truly rewarding picture.