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The Martial Arts Kid

The Martial Arts Kid

Jan. 01, 2014 USA
Your rating: 0
8.8 1,097 votes

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When a troubled teen from Cleveland experiences bullying in Cocoa Beach, he soon learns Martial Arts to gain confidence and self-defense skills.

Original titleThe Martial Arts Kid
IMDb Rating8.1 147 votes
TMDb Rating3.8 2 votes

(7) comments

  • ddragonwMay 16, 2015Reply

    More than just a ”remake” or ”homage”!

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • rannynmOctober 15, 2015Reply

    Entertaining and Inspiring

    This film is very entertaining. It is a story that many people will
    relate to, not just martial arts fans. Although people who are into
    martial arts will probably relate best to the moves in the film, there
    are many different things that everyone will relate to and enjoy.

    There is a range of genres in Martial Arts Kid. Of course, since the
    subject is about martial arts, there are some great action-packed
    scenes. However that isn’t the entire story. There is a bit of romance,
    which plays out smoothly and there is a sense of comedy in a few scenes
    – not too much to make the film a joke, but not so little that it is
    too serious.

    The story starts when a troublemaker named Robbie moves to a new town
    to live with his uncle and aunt because his grandmother refuses to deal
    with him getting in trouble all the time. In this new town he starts
    getting bullied. At the same time, he decides to start learning martial
    arts in his uncle’s dojo. He learns to fight – not to beat the bully up
    (and become a bully himself), but to defend and stand up to the bully.

    At the beginning, the acting seem a bit fake. The emotions feel forced
    and, a few times, the dialogue also feels forced. However, later in the
    film it becomes very natural and smooths out. The film is labeled as a
    bully film, which I think is a wrong label. It is a nice action- packed
    film with lots of good messages and morals. But, I don’t think it is a
    bullying film. The story addresses bullying but doesn’t really
    concentrate on it enough to make it a bullying film. Some of the shots
    are just spot on and perfect.

    My favorite scene is when he first learns that his uncle and aunt are
    martial arts black belts. They are at the beach getting something from
    the car when a man with a knife comes up to them. Robbie tries to be
    brave and stand up to him but, when his aunt sees the knife, she does
    some amazing martial arts moves and takes him down. Robbie just stands
    there in awe.

    This film has a little bit of mature content, mostly when they are
    fighting. So I recommend it for ages 11 to 18. I give it 4 out of 5
    stars because, in the beginning, the acting feels a little fake.
    However the story is entertaining the whole time and the direction is
    perfect too.

    Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

  • AlbertV79October 29, 2015Reply

    I got a lot more than what is expected…definitely worth seeing!

    I’ve been a fan of Don ”The Dragon” Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock for a
    long time and when I heard about this film, I was quite excited. They
    were perfectly cast as Glen and Cindy, a couple who take in troubled
    nephew Robbie and soon become his mentors in the martial arts when he
    is bullied.

    The film does convey its anti-bullying message, but in a way, the film
    also changes the way people may perceive martial arts as a whole and
    that is what also stands out between Wilson’s Glen and T.J. Storm’s
    Coach Kaine. Their differences of opinions as to how martial arts
    should be conveyed is truly personified not only by them but by Robbie
    and Kaine’s student Bo, who is the one who bullies Robbie.

    Jansen Panettiere and Matthew Ziff really break out in the film as they
    did great jobs in their roles of Robbie and Bo respectively. Plus if
    you are a martial arts fan, you will see most of the cast is comprised
    of martial artists with some legends of the field and world champions
    playing themselves as mentors.

    This truly is marketed towards the family and speaking not only as a
    film fan, but as a parent as well, this is one that is suitable for
    families and is a break away from your generalization of martial arts
    films. Definitely worth checking out!

  • Anita ClayNovember 2, 2015Reply

    A Review from Black Belt Magazine

    Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future Is The Martial Arts Kid a
    knockdown, drag-out fight flick in which Don ”The Dragon” Wilson and
    Cynthia Rothrock lay waste to gang bangers and drug dealers? Nope. It’s
    more accurate to describe it as a family film in which an ordinary teen
    discovers the meaning of the martial arts.

    However, because I’m a few years past being a teenager, it wasn’t the
    movie’s portrayal of the trials and tribulations of teen life in the
    21st century that appealed to me most. What I really enjoyed was the
    way the movie paid homage to the men and women who helped spread the
    martial arts in America. Both in front of and behind the camera, the
    stars were out in force.

    Wilson and Rothrock may have retired from competition decades ago, but
    they still can throw down — and they get a few chances to do exactly
    that. Among other encounters, Wilson takes on martial artist T.J.
    Storm, and Rothrock dispatches some baddies on the beach. The man who
    choreographed those close encounters is veteran martial artist, actor
    and stuntman James Lew, perhaps best known for his work in Big Trouble
    in Little China.

    Another martial arts veteran contributed her expertise to the making of
    the movie: Cheryl Wheeler served as co-producer. You probably recognize
    her name. She’s a former Black Belt columnist and WKA kickboxing champ
    who’s done stunt work in scores of movies — including fight-doubling
    for Rene Russo in Lethal Weapon 4, which featured one of my favorite
    male-on-female fights.

    As I mentioned, Wilson and Rothrock are center stage in The Martial
    Arts Kid, where they’re surrogate parents for troubled teen Robbie
    (Jansen Panettiere). Yes, critics fired a few shots at Wilson and
    Rothrock’s performances in the early years of their acting careers, but
    their skills have improved substantially. In fact, their scenes with
    Robbie are among the most engaging parts of the movie.

    I also loved the film’s nods to history. I’m talking about things like
    Rothrock’s character hailing from Scranton, Pennsylvania, the city
    where the star actually grew up. And things like the dojo her character
    co-owns hosting seminars with real martial arts luminaries like Pete
    ”Sugarfoot” Cunningham, Gerry Blanck, Christine Bannon-Rodrigues,
    Olando Rivera and Jeff Smith. And details like using old competition
    photos of Rothrock to adorn the walls of said dojo.

    The positive messages that run through The Martial Arts Kid make it
    perfect for youngsters who are in the martial arts, as well as those
    who should be. But there are plenty of gems that make it fun to watch
    even if you’re a generation removed from that target audience.

    — Robert W. Young Editor-in-Chief, Black Belt magazine

  • James Wilson ([email protected])January 16, 2016Reply

    A family film with REAL martial artists and a message.

    THE MARTIAL ARTS KID is a film Produced, and acted by real martial
    artists. In fact there are more Champions, Grandmasters and Masters in
    this film than any ever made. Because of this and the fact it is an
    anti bully themed family film the fighting was purposely made to not
    appear fancy with wire works and flashy techniques so that fighting
    would not appear to be pretty or fun. The fighting is more realistic,
    and the training is the same. Two All Time GREAT martial artists Don
    The Dragon Wilson and Lady Dragon Cynthia Rothrock are instructors
    here. Though there is humor and action it is the message that matters
    here. If you love martial arts then this is the one for you.

  • The_Phantom_ProjectionistNovember 15, 2016Reply

    ”Obviously I have something to learn about old-school traditions”

    Family-friendly martial arts films seem to be making a slow comeback,
    THE MARTIAL ARTS KID among them. This isn’t an action movie, but a
    coming-of-age drama with a martial arts backdrop. Like most
    intentionally ”wholesome” movies, it provides plenty of opportunities
    for eye-rolling , but it’s also charming in key moments and actually
    features some good fight scenes.

    The story: A troubled teen (Jansen Panettiere) is sent to live with
    relatives in Florida, where the guidance and tutelage of his martial
    arts-practicing uncle (Don Wilson) and aunt (Cynthia Rothrock) help him
    overcome bullying and gain the confidence to turn his life around.

    The film focuses on drama and character development, in which regard
    it’s a mixed bag. Though it addresses real-world problems, this is not
    a very realistic movie: to keep the relationships between the good guys
    as healthy as possible, the producers avoid nuance and grit to the
    point that they make THE KARATE KID seem like a hardcore drama.
    Nevertheless, this is part of the movie’s charm, and it’s kind of
    refreshing to see characters embrace goodness with such gusto. Wilson
    and Rothrock are clearly into their mentor roles, and while some of
    Panettiere’s scenes can be pretty cringe-worthy, most of his
    shortcomings are the fault of the script and he remains a likable hero.

    The martial arts are afforded a lot of reverence, with the filmmakers
    going out of their way to present a realistic picture of the hero’s
    development. It gets a little preachy, and MMA fans may not appreciate
    the portrayal of ”practical” fighting as a means of bullying, but I
    think the movie gets its point across. (It could have managed this even
    without the endless parade of cameos from real-life practitioners, but
    oh well.) Also, while the seven full-length fight scenes aren’t the
    centerpiece of the picture, their quality exceeded my expectations.
    Panettiere’s a good little fighter with potential, but I was more
    appreciative of the comebacks staged by his costars. Rothrock has a
    pretty good match with taekwondo champ Inga Van Ardenn, while Wilson
    has arguably the best fight of his career against T.J. Storm. They’re
    not the best fights you’ll see this year, but definitely not the worst.

    I’m not sure whether Wilson & Co. can get through their remaining
    careers doing crowd-funded family flicks, but at least in this case,
    the picture was worth it. While not timeless, it’s a fun movie that may
    encourage an interest in martial arts among younger viewers. Treat it
    as a rental, but don’t be terribly surprised if this inspires a

  • garyoperatorNovember 23, 2016Reply

    Fun movie with strong Anti-Bullying theme for family and adults alike thru martial arts values with awesome fights thrown in.

    Wow, all you really need to sell this movie is to say Don the Dragon
    Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock star in it, but the move is so much more
    than a film about great martial artists fighting. There are some
    exciting fight scenes in it and they play into the message of
    Anti-Bullying which is the main theme of the movie. This is a fast
    paced story about a troubled teen who finally grows up with the help of
    the persistence of family, a girl, traditional values of what martial
    arts is really about, and it is just a super cool fun family martial
    arts anti-bullying movie with a message for everyone, young and old
    alike that everyone who has the privilege of watching will enjoy.

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