The Karate Kid (2010)
The Kid: Dre Parker (Jaden Smith)
The Toughness: In this remake of the 80s classic, the action has been transported from LA to Beijing, but the story remains the same: uprooted kid falls for a girl at his new school, and has to overcome adversity in the form of high-kicking peers.
Uprooted kid then gets taught martial arts by kindly older gent (Jackie Chan), and through bizarre, repetitive training rituals gathers the skills to take on his oppressors in a fighting tournament. He's a pretty formidable little fighter by the end of it, but we'll never know if he could beat Ralph Macchio's Daniel.
Watch Out For: His original-aping crane kick.
The Kid: Mindy Macredy/ Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz)
The Toughness: Little Mindy may only just be high-school age, but she shows Kick-Ass how it's done when it comes to taking down bad guys. Trained by her father (Nic Cage) as part of a vengeance mission against crime-lord Frank D'Amico, she's a weapons expert, and knows how to take a bullet.
She takes things to a whole new level when costumed as Hit-Girl though, donning a purple wig and all manner of frankly awesome weaponry, including a staff made up of two katanas, and various semi-automatic goodies from daddy's collection. She delivers a nice line in expletives, too.
Watch Out For: The deceptive 'innocent school kid' disguise.
Home Alone (1990)
The Kid: Kevin McCallister (Macauley Culkin)
The Toughness: Kevin is more resourceful and smart than physically tough, which is largely a survival necessity due to his neglectful parents. The runt of the litter, Kev proves his worth when he's accidentally abandoned while his family go to Paris for Christmas.
After using his deception skills to make his house appear fully occupied, things get physical when the burglars decide to strike on Christmas eve ("This is my house, I have to defend it!"). Innovative booby traps include icy steps, strategically placed Micro Machines, and swinging paint cans.
Watch Out For: Known accomplices include Creepy Old Beardy Guy across the road.
The Last Airbender (2010)
The Kid: Aang (Noah Ringer)
The Toughness: Aang is a bender (stop sniggering) unfrozen after being trapped under ice for one hundred years. He may just be the Avatar who can unite all the benders and bring peace back to the world.
The bald-headed, tattooed kid is skilled in martial arts, and is as handy with his fists and feet as he is with his glider staff. That's not even to mention his spiritual powers which mean he can control the elements, and is at ease dispatching large groups of aggressors. His powers have even seen him fend off the overwhelmingly negative reviews to post decent box office takings in the States.
Watch Out For: His use of the ocean which gives him an unfair advantage.
3 Ninjas (1992)
The Kids: 'Rocky' (Michael Treanor), 'Colt' (Max Elliot Slade) and 'Tum Tum' (Chad Power).
The Toughness: The brothers Douglas get taught ninjitsu by their Japanese Grandpa (Victor Wong) when they visit him over the summer. It's just a bit of fun to begin with, until the lads have to put their training into practice to help out their FBI agent father.
Equipped with only wholly inappropriate ninja nicknames given to them by their mentor, the trio have to take on Hugo Snyder, a criminal their father is after. Snyder has his own brace of ninjas, and sends them after the boys, prompting the film to become something like the limp offspring of Home Alone and The Karate Kid . Inexplicably, the film spawned three unwelcome sequels.
Watch Out For: Your pressure points, these kids know how to exploit them.
Let the Right One In (2008)
The Kid: Eli (Lina Leandersson)
The Toughness: Despite her appearance, Eli is actually an ancient vampire, and she needs to feast on human blood to survive. She gradually builds a tender friendship with bullied loner Oskar, who dreams of seeking revenge on his tormentors.
Little does Oskar know that by night Eli is out feasting on the residents of their sleepy, snowy town. Although, he eventually comes to realise that there could be some advantages to having a super-strong immortal creature of the night on your side.
Watch Out For: If she's coming round to your place, make sure you invite her in.
Village of the Damned (1960)
The Kid: David Zellaby (Martin Stephens) and his cronies.
The Toughness: David and his telepathically bonded crew are more likely to assault you mentally than physically. The shuddersome albino anklebiters were born under extremely strange circumstances: everyone in the village suffers a mysterious bout of unconsciousness, and then, two months later, all the women are pregnant with babies who develop at a greatly accelerated rate.
The Midwich moppets have the power to control the villagers' minds: if you're not careful they'll have you driving into a wall or shooting yourself.
Watch Out For: Their mind-control techniques. Imagining a brick wall is the only way you can insulate yourself.
The Incredibles (2004)
The Kid: Jack-Jack (voiced by babies Eli Fucile and Maeve Andrew)
The Toughness: Born to superheroic parents, there was a good chance Jack-Jack would be gifted with some kind of powers, but for much of the film it seems he was born 'normal'.
It's only when Jack-Jack gets left with the babysitter (only glimpsed in the film and expanded on in glorious short Jack-Jack Attack ), that his true powers are revealed. He can literally do everything: float, fly, teleport, burst into flame, shoot laser beams from his eyes, transform into a demon and metamorphose into metal. If Brad Bird ever makes a sequel, all eyes will be on Jack-Jack…
Watch Out For: The spontaneous combustion.
Spy Kids (2001)
The Kids: Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara)
The Toughness: Carmen and Juni Cortez think that their parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) are totally boring, ignorant of the fact that they're actually superspies in the True Lies vein. When the folks are taken hostage by TV presenter Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming) the kids find out the truth about their parents and have to head up the rescue effort.
The kids' strength is admittedly aided by some pretty top-notch gadgetry, including various forms of rocket propulsion, and a ludicrously nifty watch. Kudos to Rodriguez for making what could have been an awful kid-flick into properly entertaining family fun.
Watch Out For: Their backchat.
The Children (2008)
The Kids: Miranda (Eva Sayer), Paulie (William Howes), Leah (Raffiela Brooks) and Nicky (Jake Hathaway).
The Toughness: Miranda and Paulie are travelling with their parents to spend New Year at their aunt's house. Paulie is ill throughout the journey, and he seems to pass on the bug to Leah and Nicky, the children of the household they're visiting. A series of creepy events gradually unfold, during which it seems the children are turning on their parents.
Before long, the cat has gone missing and the parents are getting concerned for their lives as the children's behaviour gets ever more aggressive and their attacks become more vicious. The film manages to wring a suprising amount of unsettling chills from its admittedly daft-sounding premise.
Watch Out For: Any offers of sledge rides you might get from innocent-looking children.
The Flintstones (1994)
The Kid: Bamm-Bamm (Hlynur Sigurdsson)
The Toughness: Barney Rubble is able to adopt a kid after best pal Fred Flintstone lends him some money. For some reason, Barney and wife Betty choose a young savage raised by a pack of wolves.
A bowl cut and a few lessons in manners later, Bamm-Bamm is more socially acceptable, but he still possesses freakish strength. He also carries a trademark club around with him, but generally prefers to play nice with Pebbles Flintstone.
Watch Out For: His misleading cuteness.
Peter Pan (1953)
The Kid: Peter Pan (voiced by Bobby Driscoll)
The Toughness: The boy who never grew up spends his days frolicking in Neverland and causing much annoyance to his enemy, Captain Hook. He's also backed up by his army of Lost Boys.
As well as being pretty handy with a dagger, Peter Pan has the distinct advantage of being able to fly. His cockiness and swagger mean that he's as likely to infuriate you as hurt you, should you ever be drawn into a duel with him.
Watch Out For: His fairy companion, Tinkerbell.
Bugsy Malone (1976)
The Kid: Fat Sam (John Cassisi)
The Toughness: Fat Sam is engaged in something of a turf war with rival gang leader Dandy Dan. He's basically the Don in short pants (well, not even short pants, proper pinstripe gangster threads). Tough-talking Sam ain't one to mess with, and he has his fingers in all sorts of pies: sarsparilla, grocery stores, boxing promotion and nightclubs.
Apparently cast after director Alan Parker asked for the naughtiest kid in his stage school cast, John Cassisi exudes more menace than any twelve-year-old rightfully should.
Watch Out For: His star boxer Leroy, who also deserves a spot on this list.
The Kid: Clark Kent (Jeff East, before he becomes Christopher Reeve)
The Toughness: In between crash-landing on Earth in the buff and donning his signature red cape, Clark Kent was a teen with issues. The one formerly known as Kal-El is at a distinct genetic advantage on our planet, what with its weaker gravity, and the power he draws from our 'yellow' sun.
Clark's inherent good nature prevents him from opening a can of whup ass on his tormenter, jock Brad, but just imagine what he'd have been capable of doing if he wasn't so pure of heart. The kid can outrun a train for chrissakes. Pa Kent is largely to blame for teaching the child to control his anger.
Watch Out For: Pretty much any of his super-powers really, you don't stand much of a chance.