Posts Tagged ‘TheKarateKid’

The Karate Kid

Posted: March 28, 2018 in Movies


Aw man what can I say about The Karate Kid? I love this film. It was one of those flicks I watched again and again as a kid and still today. It’s aged great and thanks to a great screenplay, solid direction and likeable cast it has lost none of it’s charm. Released in 1984, directed by John Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen the movie would go on to prove a hit and become a fave of any kid who was a product of the 1980’s.

The story is simple. A young kid from New Jersey is forced to uproot to The Valley in California. Daniel ain’t rich and he’s not popular but he’s likeable and relatable. That’s a key point because had actor Ralph Macchio not been so good in the role the whole film wouldn’t have worked. Back to the plot, Daniel becomes the target of a group of arsehole bullies, after some beatings he finds help in the form of Mr Miyagi (an excellent Pat Morita), a kind hearted older guy, who takes Daniel on as a student in the art of karate! But mixed in with the karate stuff, the reason I think the film stands out, is a story about friendship and love. That sounds so corny but it’s true.

Oh let me count the reasons why I love this film. It’s so 80’s in the best way and a true way. The soundtrack is brilliant, the fashion is pure of the decade (check out the red leather jackets!) and the messages of the film aren’t full of irony, snark or shade. It’s a pure film, one that sadly is very much of it’s decade and you don’t see enough of today. The Valley, set just outside of Hollywood, was a fixture for me growing up too, from some of the books I read to the shows and the movies I watched. The whole film is a snapshot of a time that has passed by but must have been such a cool point in history to come of age.

Okay enough of all that. Back to the karate. The fights in the film are done well. It’s bad when Daniel gets his ass kicked. Not because he’s likeable but because it’s bullying and in any form that shouldn’t be downplayed nor made light of and it’s to the films credit that it doesn’t. What hammers the point home is a class angle which I found interesting as I watched the film as a adult. Daniel and his working mum aren’t exactly rich. It’s the rich kids who are the bullies. The privalged. Cobra Kai, the town dojo who head bully Johnny and his buddies are a part of, is run by a nutcase by the name of Kreese (Martin Kove). Kreese’s encouragement of Johnny and his buddies bullying of Daniel is awful and his “no mercy” attitude goes on to explain just why Johnny and his goons behave the way they do.

The characterisation is great in this. As I’ve said Daniel is likeable and you root for him but it’s the other great characters and strong actors who bring them to life that really works in the films favour. Elisabeth Shue (Adventures in Babysitting) plays Ali, the subject of Daniel’s affections and Johnny’s ex. What could have been a throwaway role is, thanks to the excellent Shue and good writing, a great character who brings a lot the film. Even Johnny gets moments of depth that show he’s not a total moron but a kid who needs better role models. The film ends in such an interesting way I always felt it was a missed oppertunity the relationship between Johnny and Daniel wasn’t explored in later films. And of course Mr Miyagi. The heart of the movie and I am convinced Pat Morita would have gained great acclaim for his layered role had The Karate Kid came out today. Miyagi ain’t just the wise old man. He’s a guy who has lived a life, some of it sadly shaped by tragedy, who like Daniel just wants to keep his head down and live a full life free of crap. His friendship with Daniel makes the movie.

Three more films would follow the original in this franchise but I don’t think any of them are as good as the original. It’s no use me recomending this film because you’ve no doubt seen and love it. I haven’t seen the remake nor plan to. I will say keep an eye out for Cobra Kai. It’s a new series debuting soon on You Tube as part of their original programing. The series follows on from this movie and is set thirty odd years later. The Karate Kid is a great movie and maybe you should give it another watch if it’s been some time just to remind yourself how great it is.



This is cool. You Tube Red, which I know almost nothing about beyond it being the site’s paid streaming service, will debut Cobra Kai this May. What looks so cool about this is that it acts as a direct sequel to the original Karate Kid movie and picks up the rivalry between Daniel and Johnny thirty odd years later.

Original stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka both return to their iconic roles and in a neat twist the series will be told from Zabka’s characters point of view. I love that.

Yes Johnny was a arsehole in the original movie but the film wouldn’t have worked as well as it did if it wasn’t for the strong performances and characters. It looks like Johnny’s life hasn’t gone according to plan, until a chance encounter offers him a chance of redemption but without loosing his style! Going off the trailer it looks like it’s Daniel who has turned into a not so nice guy this time out. So this series defo looks right up my street as a big fan of the original movie.  It also looks very funny.

Cobra Kai, created by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, will launch early May in the United States via You Tube Red. In the U.K. and Ireland it looks like you’ll have to purchase or rent (?) each episode as You Tube Red is not available here. OR you could be like me and just wait and hope the series gets an eventual DVD release!