Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Karate Kid (1984)

Oh my God, I am so excited, are you excited?

It's KARATE KID time!!!!!

The Karate Kid is the story of Daniel Larusso, a New Jersey teen whose mom moves him to California with promises of palm trees and swimming pools.

So much for that.

At the apartment complex, Daniel meets the maintenance man, Mr. Miyagi. If Daniel didn't know Mr. Miyagi was bad-ass by this first interaction, well, he's a damn fool.

California is like this all the time doncha know.

At the beach, Daniel sees a girl and he's all "heeey."

And she's all "Nice shorts."

Then later by the bonfire he's all "heeeeyyyyyy."

And she's all, "(flirt flirt flirt)."

What I would like to say to Daniel right now is, That girl is BAD NEWS

Because this is Johnny. And Johnny and his hair were just dumped by that girl and they don't like it one bit! Not one bit!

So they literally Kick Daniel's Ass.

And then all of Daniel's new friends leave him in the dirt because he's an jerk who gets into fights and loses.

Johnny's hair is truly something to behold.

The girl's name is Aly. I don't know why she likes Daniel. I mean, sure he can rock the hell out of a pair of jorts, but he has a short fuse and he's really a big tool for most of the movie.

Plus, he's trying to learn Karate from a book.

Which makes Mr. Miyagi all kinds of "BISH PLEEZE."

So dumb little Daniel decides to check out a local Karate DoJo and wouldn't you know, not only is it run by one of the meanest one-dimensional characters in the history of ever, but

his nemesis (and the hair of his nemesis) is the star pupil! Eeegad.

Best wardrobe department ever.

Seriously, give me a key to her closet, because nothing says "Too Cool for School" like socks pulled up mid-calf.

Stuff happens and Mr. Miyagi becomes Daniel's only friend. (Because Daniel is an egocentric jerk.) Mr. Miyagi wants Daniel to make friends his own age, so he constructs this amazing, incredible, classic Halloween costume (shower!) for Daniel to wear to the dance. Because Daniel wants to be "invisible" at school. Because nobody likes him. Because he's always fighting!

Ah, but Aly likes him. She likes him a lot. She has great taste in men. First Johnny, now Daniel. Someone should tell her that a short temper is not a desirable asset in a mate.

Daniel pulls a prank on Johnny because it's been two months since Johnny last kicked his ass so, you know, why not? Johnny and his goons are not impressed so they bike after Daniel in their skeleton unitards and the proceed to kick the living shit out of poor little Daniel Larusso.

Miyagi for the win!!!

Daniel and Mr. Miyagi try to smooth things over with Johnny, his hair, and the evil Karate coach, but the coach is a mean mean man and tells Mr. Miyagi that the boys will have to fight it out. So Mr. Miyagi tells the coach that Daniel will fight Johnny and his hair at the big Karate championship thing in TWO MONTHS.

Yeah, Daniel has two months to learn a whole lotta Karate.

First lesson: Wax on, Wax off.

Daniel and Aly go on a date to an arcade and hold hands in the photobooth.


Lesson number 2, painting the fence.


One night, Daniel stops by Mr. Miyagi's house to find him drunk and talking to this pretty lady.

It turns out Mr. Miyagi is celebrating their anniversary.

Mr. Miyagi had been in the army while his pregnant wife was sent to a Japanese internment camp where she and the baby died in childbirth.

And then Daniel finds his medal of honor and discovers a whole new level of respect and empathy for Mr. Miyagi.

In reality, Pat Morita was just a kid during WWII. A kid who had just had spinal surgery and was sent directly from the hospital to the internment camp where his family was waiting. But it's not so bad, they waited until he was out of his full body cast.

Even though this scene is largely about creating a stronger story for Mr. Miyagi's character, it's also a big turning point for Daniel's character. There is a big shift and there's a whole lot less of his hot-headed short tempered Jersey boy shit and a whole lot more of the patience that Mr. Miyagi has been teaching him. Many of the lessons that Daniel is being taught are that Karate is not about fighting, but defense.

Of course, nothing can defend the tragedies of life, as exemplified by Mr. Miyagi's story.

For his birthday, Mr. Miyagi gives Daniel a car.

Sweet ride!

Daniel makes up with Aly (they had a fight earlier) by admitting he was a jerk. And I'm all "Hell yes, you were a jerk! Thanks for admitting it!"

Finally, it's time for the big match.

And this rag-tag band of misfits realizes they're in waaaay over their heads.


(This actor's real name is Chad. How perfect is that?)

The evil coach tells Bobby to "Take him out."
What does that mean? you say.
It means he wants the guy to break Daniel's leg.

So he does. And then, immediately after disabling Daniel, Bobby is all "Daniel! I'm sorry!"
Too little, too late, Bob.

Because Mr. Miyagi is a mystical Asian with super-powers, he rubs his hands together and heals the knee.

Daniel is brave as fuck and goes on to fight Johnny and his hair despite having a maybe broken leg.

At a break in the fight, the evil coach pulls Johnny and his hair aside and says, "Sweep. The. Leg."

And Johnny and his hair are horrified. But you know what?

He sweeps the leg.

After I first saw this movie, lo so many years ago, I had nightmares about the teammate there and the cocaine-fueled psycho cheering he does during the final match.

Despite having his broken leg re-broken, Daniel pursues the winning point by doing the most elegant, move in the history of Karate.

Intimidated yet?

Totally kicks Johnny in the face!

Daniel wins! And Johnny and his hair grab the trophy from the ref and are all, "You're all right, Larusso (sorry about breaking your leg in three places, my bad)!"

Don't you just wish you had an occasion every day to make a face like this?



  1. Love your reviews! How about Bad News Bears?

  2. Two more suggestions: Basketball Diaries and Hoop Dreams (a documentary)