The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

THE KARATE KID (1984) ****

Director John G. Avildsen reworked the formula he made famous with Rocky, this time with karate. It worked, and became a big, crowd pleasing hit. Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves from Jersey to L.A. where he is picked on by a bunch of karate chopping teen led by Johnny (William Zabka). Daniel befriends the kindly old janitor, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita, from Happy Days) who teaches him karate by making him paint his house, sand the floors and wax his car. (“Wax on! Wax off!”) He also teaches him the Crane Kick, which if you were a kid growing up in the 80’s you did that like a thousand times. Daniel also meets the cute Elizabeth Shue and takes her out on a date. Martin Kove is Johnny’s evil sensei Kreese, who owns the Cobra Kai dojo, and agrees to let Daniel fight in the All Valley Tournament. Of course the fact that Macchio is gonna beat the bullies in the karate tournament in the end is a foregone conclusion, but strong performances and scripting (by The Transporter’s Robert Mark Kamen) make you care about the characters and root them on. The leads did more Karate Kid movies, but that’s about it. Zabka was pretty much typecast as the asshole in every 80’s teen movie, and only Shue ended up having a career. Followed by three sequels.
Tags: action, k, karate kid series, kung fu
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