I feel I should give a disclaimer before anyone reads this review. I love to hate this movie and hate to love this movie. I can recall seeing this movie as a child growing up and thinking it was pretty cool. Then many years went by and I had totally forgotten this film. About five years ago this movie was played every single night during the summer on HBO or Showtime. So I watched this movie with an older and more matured pair of eyes. This resulted in a different viewing experience. The following review is somewhat insidious and is deliberate in its caustic tone. Nevertheless, "The Karate Kid" is still such a guilty pleasure for me and a classic film in its own right.
I don't know where to start or stop in this movie. This motion picture captures all the 1980s staples: hair, music, fashion and dumb behavior that only transpires in a teenage film from the 1980s. All I know is I am glad Daniel LaRusso got his face kicked in the entire movie. He was the underdog I really didn't care about. As a matter of fact, I don't understand how an Italian teenager from Newark, New Jersey kept getting his butt kicked by a California teenage punk (named Johnny) riding a motorbike and wearing some red jacket. This California teenage punk is played by none other than William Zabka, who was the staple villain of teenage cinema in the 1980s.
As for Daniel's background, I feel strongly that Daniel was a bastard, you know born out of wedlock. I believe his mother was the "other woman" and this was the reason that only "Daniel and his mother" moved from New Jersey to California. I don't buy that explanation that his mother "found a better job", this is hogwash. This is only my theory. Consequently a theory is only a theory and not a fact but can result in a following that can morph public opinion and over time become the truth.
Look for a young Elisabeth Shue playing Ally (with an I, hence Ali). Ali is the estranged ex-girlfriend of Johnny (a California teenage punk riding a motorbike and wearing some red jacket). I digress, I like when Ali tells Daniel that her name is "Ali with an I" and Daniels says his name is "Daniel with an L". What a moron. Another "rock star" moment brought to you in part by Daniel LaRusso is how pleased he was when he beats Ali in a game of Air Hockey, while they are on their first date. And what was up with Daniels wardrobe? He deserved having the tar beat out of him. Did I mention that Elisabeth Shue, I mean "Ally with an I" was totally hot in this movie?
We all know that Mr. Miyagi is Yoda personified. So no need to demonstrate the courtship of tautology on this tidbit. I would have to say my favorite part of this film is when Daniel is force down a huge hill while on his bike, by Johnny (the Cali teenage punk) and his gang. Once Daniel "wipes out" so to speak, he throws his bike away. You read this correctly, he throws his bike away as if it was his bike's fault. What's that about?
Once Daniel starts learning karate and stick up for himself the movie becomes rather humdrum.
The Karate Kid was not only the start of a trilogy (plus one) but it also beget the short lived karate/self defense craze of the mid 80's, spawned several sequels and it also was responsible for a dreadful NES video game. The careers of Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elizabeth Shue, Martin Kove and William Zabka took off. Larry B. Scott from Revenge of the Nerds co-stars as one of the Kobra Kai students. Young (and I use that term loosely) Danny is tormented by a gang … more
It is rather brisk in this field. The leaves are descending like a tapestry of aloof dreams. The wind entices these leaves into a plume of whimsical billowing ontological paradox. Then I recall that I … more
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In John G. Avildsen's THE KARATE KID, Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and his mother (Randee Heller) move from New Jersey to Southern California, where he's not too keen about his new home--until he meets Ali (Elizabeth Shue), an attractive girl who seems to like him. But trouble looms when Ali's ex-boyfriend (William Zabka) and his gang of ruffians start tormenting Daniel. One day, as Daniel is suffering a beating at the hands of these louts, Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki "Pat" Morita), an elderly Japanese handyman, comes to his rescue. To Daniel's amazement, Miyagi manages to take down the whole group all by himself using karate. Daniel begs to learn this ancient martial art, and soon Miyagi begins the boy's training, teaching Daniel that there is more to karate than fighting. Through a series of lessons, the wise mentor instills a sense of honor and nobility in his young pupil while preparing him for the ultimate karate showdown. However, as Daniel studies the discipline and art of karate, his enemies are learning a di...