Movie Club: The Karate Kid

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, May 19, 2018.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE LATEST DISCUSSION THREAD OF THE NEW MOVIE CLUB, DESIGNED TO RUN PARALLEL WITH R.O.C.K.S. A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    This week we're doing the original 1984 version of "The Karate Kid".

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one), and anyone is welcome to add their thoughts about movies already discussed on their respective threads.

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these movies, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
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  2. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill

    Being an '80's kid, I really like this choice!

    The first Karate Kid was an excellent film; very iconic, quotable, and memorable. I was in my last year of middle school (8th grade) in Spring 1984 before this film hit theaters (in the U.S.) in late June 1984. And, I distinctly remember that my class got some kind of a "booklet" that Spring which had a story excerpt from the film - this was obviously designed to promote the movie, since the film hadn't been released at that point.

    Ironically, I didn't see the film in it's entirety until the early-mid 200X's, not long after I got my first DVD player. However, this is one of those films that is so popular, you're familiar with the story before even seeing this.

    I recently re-watched the film on Blu-ray, and this was even better this time around. The film's storyline is fantastic & iconic: i.e., a young student who is out of his element (with no father figure around) gets befriended by an older mentor, who teaches him how to defend himself. I liked the sunny CA setting, the seemingly mundane tasks that Miyagi gives Daniel to help him develop hand/eye coordination (waxing a car, painting a fence, etc.), the story of the underdog persevering and defeating his enemy (at the end tournament), etc.

    It's interesting to note that though the late Pat Morita (Miyagi) spoke English with an obvious accent in the film (because the character had immigrated from Japan years earlier), Morita was actually born in California, back in the 1930's.

    One of my favorite '80's songs is featured in this film, the UK pop/rock group Bananarama's Cruel Summer. The song itself was released in 1983, but became extremely popular in 1984 in the U.S. - due to it's inclusion in the film's soundtrack. I remember hearing this song on the radio all the time back in the '80's. Irrespective of it's inclusion in the film, the song is great in & of itself, and strongly reminds me of summers growing up as a kid. And, now that it's getting hot again where I live, this song is even more apt - LOL. For what it's worth, the video was shot in NYC - which gets extremely hot in the summer!

    In addition, just recently a TV series called Cobra Kai (2018) came out - I haven't seen it yet, but apparently it's a sequel to the first two films set in the present day. And, it stars Ralph Macchio (Daniel) and William Zabka (the bully Johnny) - who reprise their roles from the original film.
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
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  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I've just seen this film for the first time in my life.

    It's a bit long, they could probably have trimmed a good 20min off it here and there, but enjoyable.

    The storyline follows a tried-and-trusted formula, with plenty of the usual clich├ęs, Daniel arrives in a new town, with all the social problems of the new kid in school. Dealing with the bullies and falling in love etc. We get to invest emotionally in Daniel, and do find ourselves rooting for him. That's the key. In a situation like this where you kind of know how the story is going to unfold, you have to get the audience behind this character.

    The character of Mr Miyagi is very compelling, as he is introduced very subtly indeed. He's definitely cut from the same cloth as Yoda, or Anthony Hopkins in The Mask Of Zorro, or even the Abbe Faria in The Count Of Monte Cristo (whichever film version you like, or even just the book!). He knows how things work, and how not everything is as it seems, a skill that most people lack.

    The device of Miyagi getting Daniel to basically clean the garden as a means of developing his karate instincts is a good one, and one that I saw quickly on what was happening. I thought, "he's teaching him the moves out of context". This actually reminds me of a discussion we were having in ROCKS earlier in the year, talking about an episode of The Flintstones where Fred took up ballet to help get back his bowling rhythm. Sometimes two seemingly disparate activities can be more related than they might appear at first glance.

    I can even give another good example - the musical collaboration between Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson in the early 1980s. Now, at first glance, these two singer-songwriters appear to have nothing in common beyond their both being indisputable giants in their respective genres, and a friend of mine said last year, when I mentioned having bought a best of Michael Jackson, that I as a long-term McCartney/Beatles fan must have found the fact of their collaboration a little surprising. Actually no, I replied. On the surface, it may seem odd, especially when viewed through the prism of Jackson's 80s albums, BUT, if you go back in time and look at what both of them were doing in the latter part of the 1970s, while the written songs were quite different, the way they were both arranging their records are not unrelated. Compare the styles and arrangements on Jackson's late 70s hits like "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Blame It On The Boogie" with McCartney's chart-toppers from the period, "Listen To What The Man Said" and "Silly Love Songs" - they aren't as different as you might assume at first glance.

    But I digress. Actually, the soundtrack for this film was interesting, and you mentioned Bananarama's "Cruel Summer" - a song that people have mentioned as similar to the theme song from "King Arthur And The Knights Of Justice". The cartoon itself is hit-and-miss (and more miss than hit if I'm honest), but the theme song is awesome.

    There's a couple of other moments in the film that I found noteworthy. When Daniel finally goes in to kiss Ali, you can see he's not quite sure how to go about it, and the way he lunges in does indeed suggest a lack of experience, which makes perfect sense for a nervous teenager. Speaking of Ali, note a young Elisabeth Shue, who I know better from Back To The Future as Jennifer in the second and third films, replacing Claudia Wells.

    The other moment is of course when Daniel insists on completing the fight, even though he's battered. He's standing up to the bullies, he's already proved himself to his friends, but he now needs to prove himself to his enemies. Sometimes that happens in life. You know what you're capable of, but you need to make sure that a particular person understands this too.

    If I had one quibble with the film, it's the fact that it's never explained why Daniel's father is absent. Is his mother divorced or widowed? We don't know.

    But that aside, I enjoyed it. Sure, like I said at the start, it could have been shorter, but it's a damn good film.
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  4. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Ah, the wonderful 80s! How I miss you. I remember you everyday and wish I could turn back time. I can't do that but at least I can relive you through the movies you gave us. :cry

    Pardon my terrible poetry. It's just that I'm a huge 80's nostalgiophile. And few things scream 80s as much as "The Karate Kid". There's so much I want to write about this movie but Liam pretty much summed up my feelings perfectly and a lot more eloquently than I ever could. :thumbsup So I'm not gonna repeat or go too much in-depth. But one the main things that really made me connect with this movie is that I could totally identify with Daniel. I was always picked on in school by bigger tougher bullies who could throw a mean kick. Unfortunately I did not have Mr. Miyagi to train me, but I used to imitate some of the moves he taught Daniel in the hopes that they would turn me into a lethal weapon. Of course that didn't work, but at least it was something. :)

    Loved Elizabeth Shue in this. As Liam mentioned, we saw her in "BTTF Pt 2 and 3". However, her character is much more interesting and well developed in this movie. She wasn't just eye candy or a damsel in distress (that was actually Macchio's role! :roflmao). Also her chemistry with Macchio is great and their relationship, their arguments, their romance, their friendship is all handled very well and thus making it very relatable. (Thankfully) They didn't behave like those annoying teens in love that we see in many other movies.

    I could go on and on about Pat Morita but that would be like showing a mirror to the sun. He was just fantastic and his Mr. Miyagi has become an icon. Mark and Liam, if you remember in "TMNT 2: The Secret of the Ooze", there's a scene where Michaelangelo does the "Wax on, wax off" routine. My favorite scene of Morita in the movie is when he tells Daniel "You either Karate do, yes. Or you karate do, no". :)

    The final climatic tournament with a popular song playing in the background is typical 80s. Just a little bit of trivia, the song "You're The Best" was actually written for "Rocky 3" but was rejected and instead used in this film. And I'm not sure if the urban legend is true that the role of the Kobra Kai master was initially offered to Chuck Norris. The filmmakers insist it was but Norris denies it.

    I'm very happy that Liam liked this movie. For most of us, we saw it when we were kids and so naturally have a sentimental attachment to it.
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  5. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Glad you liked the movie @LiamABC . Perhaps you should eventually watch 2 and 3. 4/The Next Karate Kid is okay. Can't comment on the 2010 Jackie Chan remake as I have never watched it.
    @The Drifter Cobra Kai is very good from what I have seen of it. I have only seen the first two episodes so far but really enjoyed them.

    I always loved this movie so I am really glad we got to discuss it here.
    Most of what I could say has already been said so I will sum up my thought really quickly.
    Great cast. They all played their roles great.
    The Karate Kid is one of the first few movies I remember watching a lot that we had recorded of TV.
    The skeleton fight scene was always my favourite. So much so I remember dressing like on once for Halloween. Odd I didn't want to dress as Miyagi.
    Miyagi was my first real exposure to not judging a book by it's cover. He did not look like a Karate master but he was and surprised a lot of people. There is also a lot of great insight and thoughts in this movie like not caring about a belt colour.

    If you pay close attention David Schwimmer has a small part in the movie.

    Think it's pretty cool The Karate Kid gained so much of a fan base they made a toy line and 13 episode animated series based on it.

    Although I have seen an interesting video that kind of casts Daniel as the real villain of the movie.

    @Wilycub have you ever seen the Chuck Norris movie Sidekicks. It's quite similar to the Karate Kid. In some ways it could be argued that it is better in terms of the main character being bullied and how he is trained to over come his problems.
    As much as I like the character Kid I would say Sidekicks is superior overall.

    Last edited: May 24, 2018
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  6. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I'm not surprised about that song originally being written for a Rocky movie, I was getting a Rocky vibe during this. Not that I've ever seen any of the Rocky films! (Something we'll have to rectify on here eventually!)
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  7. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I've seen all those movies. Parts 2 and 3 are ok. Not as great as the first one. I did feel like they were repeating much of the formula of the first movie. I have very little memory of "The Next Karate Kid", other than that it starred a young Hillary Swank in the lead. I absolutely HATED the 2010 remake! :mad

    Really? I didn't know that. I searched Google Images but couldn't find any screencap of him from the movie. If you do find one, please post it here.

    I did see this video a long time ago. Very funny and kinda true if you think about it! :biggrin It's kinda like one of the discussions we had here about whether the ThunderCats were the real villains and not Mumm-Ra, since they came to his planet and wreaked havoc! ;)

    Actually I have seen this movie. I saw it a LONG time ago, probably around the time it was released. I only saw it once and then pretty much forgot all about it except for one scene which always stuck in my head. The one where Norris vision appears and helps the main character to climb a rope by showing him the technique to wrap his legs around the rope as he climbs. That scene stuck with me all these years even though I had forgotten the name of the movie. But thanks to you I now remember the name of the movie! :thumbsup
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  8. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Glad I could help @Wilycub .
    Maybe we can cover the movie on here some time.
    If you want to watch it it's very easily available to watch online. ;)
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  9. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I hate that argument, both for this and for Thundercats. Claiming that the outsider is automatically the villain is nothing more or less than xenophobia. Johnny was an asshole in this movie, Mumm-Ra claimed himself to be the embodiment of evil in Thundercats, just because some people arrive in your patch from somewhere else and look different doesn't mean they're automatically wrong'uns.
  10. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    But the Thundercats in the 2011 series were definitely the villains/aggravators and brought there downfall on themselves with how they treated the other races.

    Actually the video of how Daniel instigated some of the situations in the movie is technically true and even referenced by Johnny in the Cobra Kai TV series.
  11. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Very soon, I hope! :) I've seen Rocky 3 and 4 so many times that I can literally quote every line in the movie, even the sound effects! :biggrin
    I just mentioned that in a more humorous light, and in the context of the movie/cartoon. With "The Karate Kid", yes Daniel was from out of town but Johnny's beef wasn't with him because he was an outsider, so it wasn't xenophobia. In "ThunderCats", I've read many arguments made that Third Earth, even with Mumm-Ra present, was pretty peaceful before the arrival of the TCats. It was the Mutants that brought most of the trouble to the inhabitants of Third Earth and not Mumm-Ra. That guy just wanted to enjoy his sleep. ;) And it was the TCats who inadvertently brought the Mutants to Third Earth.
    One of the many reasons why I didn't like the 2011 series - unlikeable heroes. :(
  12. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Some of the Rocky movies are great. 3 is probably my favourite. Mr. T is awesome as Clubber Lang.

    I agree the 2011 heroes were not all that likeable. More boring and not that interesting. Although I would say I liked them more by the end of the series. As I said before too little too late. The series did really start to improve towards the end. It's a shame the calibre of writing was so inconsistent throughout the series as there are a few excellent episodes and with some tweaks could have been even better.

    @Wilycub I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Sidekicks when you watch it. :D

    Two interesting articles.
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  13. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Yesterday I watched another 80s martial arts flick that I used to watch a lot when I was young but hadn't seen in many years. It's called "No Retreat No Surrender". It appears to be substantially "inspired" from "The Karate Kid" which came out two years earlier. It was Jean Claude Van Damme's first film and he plays the main villain in it. It's okay to pass the time, but the acting is pretty horrible. :confused:
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  14. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I was never too big of a fan of Van Damme's films. Although I do quite like Hard Target, Bloodsport, Kickboxer, A.W.O.L., Universal Soldier and Nowhere to Run.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  15. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Yeah, most of Van Damme's films are garbage. The only ones I enjoy are Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Timecop, Universal Soldier, Sudden Death, Street Fighter, Death Warrant and Hard Target. For the past two decades he has been doing mainly Direct-to-DVD movies.
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  16. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I had to edit my last comment as I didn't mention Hard Target. Which is quite strange considering it's the only Van Damme movie I have on DVD.
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  17. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill

    This past summer, I re-watched Karate Kid II (1986). And, I wanted to post my review for the film in this thread, since this is the most appropriate place:

    The good:
    - I liked the storyline of Mr. Miyagi going back to Japan after 50+ years to be with his father before he passed, and also to confront his former childhood friend - turned adversary/competitor for the woman they both loved.
    - Daniel was definitely out of his comfort zone in this film - even more so than in the original.
    -The scene when Daniel broke the large block of ice was very impressive.
    -The scene I found most poignant/touching was when Mr. Miyagi was feeling deep regret over not being with his father as he got older & that he only came back in his father's last days (right before he passed). And then, Daniel told him that he could relate to the impending death of Mr. Miyagi's father, since his own father had died when he (Daniel) was very young. Daniel told Miyagi that the most important thing was that he would be/was with his father in his final moments. Just a great scene here, which illustrated that despite the large age difference between the two of them, the student could still teach the master some life-lessons - at least in this case.
    -I was impressed with the the main song, "The Glory of Love" - really fits the storyline in this film. I usually don't like "sappy" songs like this, but this is one of the exceptions. This was playing all over the radio back in Summer '86, to promote the film:

    The bad:
    - I felt the final confrontation between Daniel & the main bully (in the palace) wasn't really that tense, and ended on too much of a comedic note. The final confrontation between Daniel & Johnny in the original film was far better.
  18. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    @The Drifter Karate Kid 2 is great. Overall I really liked it as it is so different compared tot he first movie.

    Oddly enough I heard Glory of Love on the Radio yesterday.
  19. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I just finished watching the entire first season of "Cobra Kai" and I have to say it is one of the best TV series I have seen in recent times! When it was first announced I was a bit skeptical as I didn't think that they could successfully adapt an 80s movie like "The Karate Kid" into a TV series in the present time. I was almost sure that it would end up being either too cheesy or too detached form the original. I'm so glad to be proven wrong! Can't wait for season 2.
    Mark M likes this.
  20. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I have only seen the first two episodes but I really enjoyed them and want to watch the rest of the season.

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