Sunday, April 6, 2014

04/06: The Karate Kid (1984)

As I write this, Wizard World's Comic Con in St. Louis is wrapping up for the weekend. Unfortunately I didn't go this year for different reasons, but of course I would have loved to have been there. I had a blast last year during its inaugural weekend in St. Louis. This year had a vast array of people as well as celebrities. William Shatner, Adam West, Burt Ward and Ralph Macchio were there to collect your hard-earned dough for autographs and photo ops. My biggest priority would have been Ralph Macchio, as I looked to him as a hero throughout my childhood. I sorta related to him, I thought....

I first watched The Karate Kid when I was little when my parents rented this back in the late 80s. I was so taken with it as I still am today. It's often looked at as a typical 'underdog-goes-over' movie, but somehow this film became an iconic 80s flick. And for a good reason. Maybe its the quotes ('Sweep the leg' 'Wax on, wax off'), or the chemistry between Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) and Daniel (Macchio), but it inspired a generation of wimpy, lack of self confidence guys to fend for themselves. Daniel uncomfortably relocates with his mother from New Jersey to Southern California, not fitting in at first. Sure, he makes a new friend and quickly hooks up with a girl (Elizabeth Shue). However, he is being harassed by bullies and it takes a moment to convince Daniel to take up karate lessons. He seeks mentorship from Miyagi, his apartment complex's maintenance guy. He learns little by little the moves, and he eventually learns to stand up to the bullies, led by Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka).

We see Daniel build to become a better person, as he slowly gains confidence in himself. But he has his girl to cheer him on, and only something like that can happen in the movies. The soundtrack is awesome, especially the fight song 'You're The Best' (by Joe Esposito). We also learn a bit about Japanese culture (more in the sequels), especially with Miyagi's background. It's pretty surreal I guess.

Definitely rent this one for the kids and teens. Or simply re-live your 80s experience with this one.

My rating: 9 out of 10

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