Principal photography took place in Beijing, China, and filming began in July 2009 and ended on October 16, 2009. The Karate Kid was released theatrically worldwide on June 11, 2010 by Sony Pictures. The Karate Kid received mixed reviews and it earned $359.1 million on a $40 million budget. The plot concerns 12-year-old Dre (Smith) from Detroit, Michigan who moves to Beijing, China with his mother (Taraji P. Henson) and runs afoul of the neighborhood bully (Zhenwei Wang). He makes an unlikely ally in the form of an aging maintenance man, Mr. Han (Chan), a kung fu master who teaches him the secrets of self-defense.
Dre Parker and his mother Sherry Parker move from Detroit to Beijing after Sherry gets a job transfer at her car factory. After a day in a park, Dre develops a crush on a young violinist, Meiying, who reciprocates his attention, but another boy Cheng, a rebellious kung fu prodigy whose family is close to Meiying's, attempts to keep them apart by violently attacking Dre, and later bullies him at school. During an attack, the maintenance man, Mr. Han comes to Dre's aid, and when Cheng and his friends try to interfere, Han defeats each of them in close combat, revealing himself as a kung fu master.
After Han mends Dre's injuries using fire cupping, Dre asks if Mr. Han could teach him kung fu. Han refuses, but meets Cheng's teacher, Master Li, at the Fighting Dragon studio to make peace. Li, who teaches his students to show no mercy to their enemies, challenges Dre to a fight with Cheng. Han instead proposes that Dre compete against Li's students at an open martial arts tournament, and also requests the students leave Dre alone to train in time for the tournament. Li accepts the offer, but warns Han that if Dre does not show up during the tournament, he will personally bring pain to Han and Dre.
Han promises to teach Dre kung fu and begins to train Dre by emphasizing movements that apply to life in general, and that serenity and maturity, not punches and power, are the true keys to mastering the martial art. He teaches this by having Dre go through various actions with his jacket, which teaches Dre muscle memory moves. Han then takes Dre to a Taoist temple in the Wudang Mountains where he trained with his father, and Dre witnesses a woman making a cobra reflect her movements and drinks the water from an ancient Taoist well.
As Dre's friendship with Meiying continues, they share a kiss at the festival. Dre persuades Meiying to cut school for a day of fun, but when she is nearly late for her violin audition which was brought forward a day without their knowledge, her parents deem him a bad influence and forbid her from spending more time with him.
During the course of their training, Han gives Dre a day off. Dre goes to Han that night and finds Han, apparently drunk, smashing a car he was working on. Han tells Dre that he crashed the same car years ago, and that his wife and ten-year-old son were with him and died in the car crash. Han fixes the car every year but smashes it to remind himself of what happened, which makes Dre work much harder in his training in order to help Han forget about the incident. Han assists Dre in writing a note of apology to Meiying's father in Chinese; he accepts and promises that Meiying will attend the tournament to support Dre.
At the tournament, the under-confident Dre is slow to achieve parity with his opponents, but soon begins beating them and advances to the semifinals, as does Cheng, who violently finishes off his opponents. Dre comes up against Liang, one of Li's more sympathetic students and the least vicious of Dre's tormentors, who (under Li's goading) severely hurts Dre's leg and Liang is disqualified as a result, while Dre is taken to the infirmary.
Despite Han's insistence that he has earned respect for his performance, Dre convinces Han to mend his leg by using fire cupping in order to continue. Dre returns to the arena, facing Cheng in the final. Dre delivers impressive blows, but Li orders Cheng to break Dre's leg. Cheng is horrified at the order, but obeys under Li's intimidation. As the match continues, Cheng seizes Dre's leg and delivers a vicious blow, doing further damage. Dre struggles to get up, and attempts the reflection technique to manipulate Cheng into changing his attack stance. Cheng begins reflecting Dre's movements and it goads him into charging Dre, but Dre flips and catches Cheng with a kick to his head, winning the tournament along with the respect of Cheng and his classmates. Cheng, instead of the presenter, awards Dre the trophy, and the Fighting Dragon students bow to Mr. Han in respect, accepting him as their new master.
- Jackie Chan as Mr. Han (S: 韩先生, T: 韓先生, P: Hán-xiānsheng)
The maintenance man who teaches Dre kung-fu.
- Jaden Smith as Dre Parker (德瑞∙帕克 Déruì Pàkè)
A young boy from Detroit, Michigan who is bullied by another student, and learns to stand up to him in a kung-fu tournament.
- Taraji P. Henson as Sherry Parker (雪莉∙帕克 Xuělì Pàkè)
Dre's mother, who is very protective of him.
- Wenwen Han (韩雯雯) as Meiying (美莹 Měiyíng)
Dre's crush who quickly befriends him, and eventually becomes his girlfriend.
- Zhenwei Wang as Cheng (陆伟程 Lù Wěichéng
The primary antagonist; the school bully and top student of Master Li.
- Yu Rongguang as Master Li (李师傅 Lǐ-shīfu)
A kung-fu teacher who instructs his students to be merciless towards their enemies.
- Luke Carberry as Harry (哈里 Hālǐ)
A boy who also befriends Dre.
- Shijia Lü (吕世佳) as Liang (梁子浩 Liáng Zǐhào)
A friend and classmate of Cheng's who is the least savage of Cheng's group. However, he is instructed by Master Li to cripple Dre during the tournament.
- Ji Wang (王 姬) as Mrs. Po (博太太 Bó-tàitai)
The principal of Dre's new school.
- Zhensu Wu (武振素) as Meiying's father
- Zhiheng Wang (王志恒) as Meiying's mother
- Yi Zhao (赵 毅) as Zhuang (秦壮壮 Qín Zhuàngzhuàng)
A friend and classmate of Cheng’s.
- Cameron Hillman as Mark (马克)
- Ghye Samuel Brown as Oz (奥兹)
- Bo Zhang (张 博) as Song (宋)
A friend and classmate of Cheng’s.