So it is the 25th anniversary of The Karate Kid and as such a marathon of this opus is playing right now on Versus. By the way, I love that Versus, a network competing with ESPN as a sports network decided to fill time with coming the of age of Daniel Larusso. Glad the Mountain West Conference has hitched their wagon to this star, or whatever that expression is. So a few obvious, probably well documented observations from the movie we all know and love.
I gotta take Karate, Ma! - So I remember well, as a six year old, going to the Regency Theatre by K-Mart and watching the Karate Kid with the family. It blew my mind. It seems that every little boy has a karate phase and mine synced up perfectly with the Daniel-son revolution. In fact I remember my mom accidentally washing one of my dad’s ties. Remember the cotton square cut ties of 1984? (Karl Malone’s draft day. Awesome!) Anyway, the tie had shrunk and so my dad gave it to me and I wore that thing as a Karate Kid headband for weeks.
No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher. - So Mr. Miyagi was the maintenance man at Daniel’s apartment complex. Well, Mr Miyagi was a terrible maintenance man. The faucet was broken, the pool was filthy, the place was an all around dump. Which, by itself is no big deal. I don’t pretend to work very hard at my job. But then we discover that he lives in a paradisaical garden of the Orient with 25 perfectly restored classic cars. Hey Miyagi, instead of wax on wax off, why don’t you put Daniel to work around the apartment complex? Sweep walk, clean pool.
The enemy deserves no mercy! – Johnny Lawrence is a teen-age villain for the ages. Oooo I hate him so bad. Him and his scowling face, his big cocky-guy nose and his blonde hair flopping over his black headband. Even when he was attacking Daniel-son with his karate / dirt bike / skeleton gang (did they get a group discount on those costumes?) his evil blond hair is still untamable. Everyone else has the white skull caps on, but his Medusa/Owen Wilson locks are flowing in satanic defiance. To try to contain them would be as futile as attempting to restrain the demons of hell. It can’t be done.
Strike first! Strike hard! No mercy, Sen Sei! - As good a prick as Johnny is, he is no match for the true villain of this movie. The Emperor to Johnny’s Vader is his tattooed, sleeveless, dimpled chinned, feathered haired Sen Sai, John Kreese. Why wasn’t this guy cast as every villain in every movie throughout the rest of the 80’s? I just checked his IMDB and besides Karate Kid sequels, he was in two other movies in that decade. Rambo: First Blood Part II (most confusing movie title ever) and Steele Justice in which he plays John Steele. 3.5 stars on IMDB. I think my Netflix cue just got a new leader. Imagine this guy as a Rocky Villain. Well the Rocky Villains are all too perfect. But make this guy Clubber Lang’s evils trainer. And make him the one that kills Mickey. As much as I love Hans Gruber, John Kreese (same character, same sleeveless karate outfit) would have been a better foil for John McClain. Hell, John Kreese would have made a better Mola Ram in
“This is a Do Jo, not a knitting circle!” "Out of commission. Out of commission!" Solid gold.
If do right, no can defense - So what’s the deal with the Crane kick? What is just so unstoppable about it? You see it coming a mile away and you have to stand on one leg to do it. I know nothing about Karate, but I know that the last thing you want to do in a fight is stand on one leg for an extended period of time.
Daniel Larusso is going to fight? Daniel Larusso is going to fight! - And while we’re at it, the hand rubbing, leg healing touch thing? Seems like more of a trick a kiddy fiddler would try. “Oh, you pulled your groin? Let me rub my hands together in an ancient Okinawan technique and then I will place my warm hands on your quivering thighs and you’ll feel all better.” No explanation was even attempted. The writers figured "he's Asian, people won't ask questions." And they were right.