lane1

The Karate Kid Review

“Better Learn Balance. Balance Is Key. Balance Good, Karate Good, Everything Good. Balance Bad? Better Pack Up, Go Home.”

June 27th, 2011

Okay, so I thought since I just watched this one and it's still fresh in my head, I'll review it to bridge the gap between my other reviews that I'm still working on. So this'll be a short one since my other two I've yet to finish are long-winded. I know I haven't posted a review in a while, so bear with me. The real reviews are comin' after this. Until then, I thought I should offer up an appetizer. Please let me know how it tastes. :)

Ahhh, The Karate Kid. Where should I start? This movie brings back so much nostalgia it's hard not to imagine when things were better. When life was simpler. When everything had... shall we say, balance? Everything including this movie. The film mixes so many different genres and emotions into one, it's easy to see why it works so well and on so many different levels. We'll start with the acting. While Ralph Macchio gives a stand out, breakthrough performance here, Pat Morita is really the star of the film. The best scenes of the film are literally every one between Mr. Miyagi and "Daniel Son." Miyagi is the perfect teacher for Daniel Larusso's scared, nervous, lost and clearly unconfident teenager from New Jersey trying to adjust to his new home in good 'ol California. The humor Mr. Miyagi injects into the movie is the perfect touch for the young Daniel who is truly and desperately in need of a new friend. Some of the best lines in the movie come from whenever Miyagi is trying to give Daniel a good laugh. He's there to show him that he's not taking his role of teacher, or Daniel's role as his student too seriously, only being firm and direct with him when the need for it arises.

When Daniel asks Miyagi "what belt he is" and Miyagi lifts up his shirt revealing the belt on his pants, saying "Canvas... JC Penny, $3.99" you can't help but love and relate to him. Then later when he knocks Daniel off the bow of the boat, laughing even after Daniel climbs inside soaking wet and clearly angered and confused by his actions, you start to get the feeling that Mr. Miyagi is a little crazy. :P - Not crazy as in "psycho" but crazy as in this guy's a riot! Even in knowing his wife has passed and he's just a lonely old man living alone with his plants, you can't help but think how happy this guy must be just living day by day. The only time we ever really see him emotionally damaged is when he gets himself drunk celebrating him and his wife's anniversary. For a movie that can go from a scene where Daniel is reading the letter about Miyagi's wife and child's death aloud to himself to one where Miyagi is celebrating Daniel's birthday with a cake and 2 presents, you're never really allowed to stay feeling sorry for the guy forever. Quite the opposite, in fact. The film's intention is to make you believe that the "balance" he's trying to teach Daniel about karate is the same balance he's showing us, and his student, he has in his everyday life. When he hands Daniel the jacket and Daniel says "I'd understand if you want this patch back," referring to the Okanagwa sun patch Mr. Miyagi's wife made for him, and he replies "I know you understand," you begin to get the sense that Miyagi is more than a teacher to Daniel Son, even before he tells him later that Miyagi is the best friend he's ever had. And once Daniel accepts the car he cleaned and waxed for Mr. Miyagi himself as "Number 2 present," when his teacher is explaining the balance of life to him while leaning over the car door, it is one of the most emotionally powerful scenes in the entire film.

The supporting cast, too, did an admirable job. I was actually quite surprised by the chemistry Elisabeth Shue had with Ralph Macchio. The 2 do make a cute couple but when you see them together in the film, you really do think "What were they thinking?" lol. Shue is atleast an 8 and Macchio is like, a 4. :P - I also LOL'ed at their kiss just 'cuz it was so "WTF was that?" It just looked so... 80's. lol. Despite my obvious superficial grumblings, Macchio is kind of a charmer in this one. There's a scene between Daniel and his mom where they're talking about girls and he mentions Shue's Alli (Alli with an I, lol). As a co-worker calls his mother over to get back to work, Daniel continues to talk about Alli even after she gets up from the table. "Smile, excellent smile... She's really smart. I dunno, she's beautiful, I'd say she's beautiful, I think she's beautiful. I think she's somethin' else, really." (stuffs a piece of broccoli in his mouth) "She's hot, definitely hot"....... all this while sitting at the table alone, eating. lmao

The music is fun to listen to if only because it makes you realize how music scores have changed over the last couple decades. When The Karate Kid consists almost entirely of classic yet original 80's tunes you can't help but be a little amused by it. It makes you cherish the music that was written back then, but also makes you glad that it sounds nothing like that today at the same time, lol. With all the deep and seamingly effortless music tracks being composed on film nowadays, it's hard to believe that music producers were anything but lazy back in the day. Still, when the film can offer us original songs like "You're The Best" and "Moment Of Truth" that fit the essence of what The Karate Kid is all about, you have to give credit where credit is due. To Bill Conti.

Overall, the film still holds up after all these years and is such a classic today, that to give it anything less than a perfect 5 would be criminal. Is it a great film compared to what is seen today? Not by any means. Was it a great film for it's time and the best it could've been for everything it accomplished? Absolutely. Afterall, - It's the best around - Nothin's gonna ever keep it down!

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PS -- I just noticed I'm the first review for this movie. Awesome! :D

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My Rating system for movie reviews:

5 stars - A+ = Epic Win (Perfect and/or Full enjoyment)

4.5 stars - A - A- (Almost perfect)

4 stars - B+ - B

3.5 stars - B- - C+ (Above average/decent)

3 stars - C (Average, but just good enough)

2.5 stars - C- - D+

2 stars - D - D-

1.5 stars - F+ for F-rt

1 star - F = Worthless Piece of Garbage

Half star = Major Epic Fail

37 comments

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  • skywise • 4 years ago

    I still have not seen the remake of the Karate kid and i really should because i love Jackie Chan. I know his American movies are a weak but you know that man is one bad Motha Trucka.

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    • skywise • 4 years ago

      @lane1 I enjoyed the Next Karate Kid too but the original is my favorite and holds a very special place in my heart. Favorite line in that movie...among so many greats:

      "Put him in a body bag Johnny!" During the final scene, still makes me laugh!

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      • Number1Wolverine • 4 years ago

        @lane1

        Yea it was good, it was a different relationship between Julie Pierce (Hilary Swank) and Mr. Miyagi. We where just so used to Daniel relationship with Mr. Miyagi because of the three movies, but once you get passed that it's a pretty good movie. I had a problem with one thing, I think it should have been girl martial artist bullying Julie rather then boys, but other then that it was good. I also didn't realize how athletic Hilary Swank was at that young age, and I wish Daniel would have been in the movie (that would have been something instead of just saying his name). But this could have been just as easy to make into a franchise, I guess you can say it was before its time.

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        • lane1 • 4 years ago

          @Number1Wolverine Oh, I thought I saw you give it (TNKK) like a 1.5 or something like that. But if you liked it, nevermind then. :)

          I would give that one a 3.5 without being generous. So like a 4, tops.

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          • Number1Wolverine • 4 years ago

            @lane1

            Hey Lane, what did i give a low rating too? I liked The Karate Kid, The Karate Kid 2 was better then the first one to me. Number 3 was the weakest link, and i liked The Next Karate Kid.

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            • lane1 • 4 years ago

              @skywise Sounds like fun!

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              • lane1 • 4 years ago

                @dan1 Yeah, that was the last Karate Kid movie I really enjoyed. I like how they reinvented the series with it, it's a shame it couldn't have launched a new series of movies; I would've preferred that over the reboot. But I think Next Karate Kid is really underrated... People see it in a totally different light than the originals in my view. I was watching it once and my brother was like "The Next Karate Kid? The only one that should've never been made...", laughing at it. My first thought was why? Because it has a woman in it now instead? Yep... my brother is such a sexist *sshole I can see that being the one and only reason.

                And I already see Wolvie gave it a low rating the other day so we're not even going there with that one. :p

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                • dan1 • 4 years ago

                  @lane1@skywise Aww, I forgot about The New Karate Kid. That was a good movie, too. That one and the original.

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                  • skywise • 4 years ago

                    @lane1 Karate Kid 2 has a lot of heart but unfortunatly the fight scenes just are not quite as good as the original.

                    "I could've never gone on vacation without being able to use the internet!" - I really wanted to get away. Went to Lake Tahoe, did some camping and mountain climbing then went down to La and San Diego for the beaches. It was hard i am not gonna lie but it was nice for a change.

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                    • lane1 • 4 years ago

                      Thank you very much, @skywise. :)

                      I have to be honest, I don't remember the sequels to this movie that much. I just know the third one was the weakest of the bunch and the second had mixed reviews, from what I can tell. Still, I plan on buying the second one at some point just to re-watch it again, especially since they sell these movies for real cheap now and as a set (found the first for $5). But, I'm sure none of them hold up as well as this one does today. I can't even count how many times I've seen the original now which says a lot considering I can't recall when the last time I saw the others was.

                      I did however see The New Karate Kid several times and liked it, despite it's cheesiness. Star making performance from Ms. Swank in that one.

                      Oh, and I could've never gone on vacation without being able to use the internet! I feel bad for you, but not cuz you pulled through, I just know I would've never been able to!! lol

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                      • skywise • 4 years ago

                        @lane1 Also late to the party, just got back from vacation and one of my stipulations was NO COMPUTERS. It was hard...but i made it.

                        Anyway, love this review and love this movie as much as you. I watch it whenever its on. Hell i even watch the not nearly as good sequel if its on. There really is a great vibe between the two leads. This was an instant classic and the following day i asked my dad to put me in Karate classes. Its had a huge influence on my life.

                        You miss, are a genius for writing this one up with such care and direction.

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                        • lane1 • 4 years ago

                          Ok, obviously that tag isn't working...

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                          • lane1 • 4 years ago

                            @PRfLtlifFAheik, Thanks. And lol @ the Spider-Man line. :)

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                            • narrator • 4 years ago

                              Sorry I was late to the party, @lane1, "I had to beat an old lady with a stick to get these cranberries." Anyways, swell review! I definitely enjoyed your pacing and your focus on the morals of the film as well as the performances of the actors and their respective roles. I haven't seen this film in a while, but I'll probably shock some when I say... I really don't like this film. It wasn't bad or anything. Nay, it just never appealed to me to be a worthwhile venture. Forgive my treason, but I did enjoy this review. Keep 'em coming Lane, and we'll see if I can give this puppy another shot.

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                              • Number1Wolverine • 4 years ago

                                @dan1

                                And the Green Hornet still needs a Reboot, the movie was ok but come on. The legacy that Bruce Lee left us should be nothing but EPIC, i think instead of a movie a new TV Series would work better.

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                                • Number1Wolverine • 4 years ago

                                  @dan1@lane1

                                  The Phantom is actually one of my favorite movies too, but I still think modern audiences don't really know who he is which is a damn shame considering he was made before Superman. And funny enough I forgot that I saw The Phantom raked in lanes ranks, but forgot all about it when I wrote it lol.

                                  I can tell I got alot of learning to do when it comes to you and lane, but I'm looking toward to it.

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                                  • dan1 • 4 years ago

                                    @Number1Wolverine Oh boy, you said The Phantom needed to be rebooted lol.... that's actually one of @lane1's movies she likes. The rest of those, yeah, I'm in agreeance about as well (though Green Hornet could wait a few years before anyone decided to do something with that again, it's too new).

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                                    • Number1Wolverine • 4 years ago

                                      @lane1

                                      No I understand, I actually did the smart thing and read your profile so from that I got a view of your personality. But just for the sake of having the knowledge to really know why you didn't like the film, I recommend checking it out. And I'm 100% by your side when it comes to Reboots, my problem is there's just so much out there that hasn't been touch before you know so reboots is the last thing that should run through a persons mind.

                                      And I'm not even mad at Reboots, as there are some franchises that actually need them He-Man, The Shadow, The Phantom, Green Hornet, Dragon Ball, The Last AirBender, Double Dragon, just to name a few. I'm mad at the lazy a** suits putting them out again, and even more at the artist who allow them to do it.

                                      And about the time frame, lol I know. But I don't know, as a kid The Karate Kid just didn't catch my eye. And I have watched some campy stuff that when I go back to check it again I go WTF was I thinking (Power Rangers lol) but I still like it. As for Will, he pretty much tells it like it is if you've ever watch an interview with him.

                                      He's pretty blunt, but in a goofy way about his life and kids. I agree with you that The Karate Kid was used as a train to set Jadens career into full motion, but still think Jaden will get into more original stuff later on. And funny alot of people think the same way about him helping their careers as you do, which I'm not saying is bad.

                                      But he actually answered that question in a interview by saying it was their decision to get into music and acting, which made him happy as coming into Hollywood from music as The Fresh Prince then going into acting he is able to help them though the evilness known as Hollywood.

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                                      • lane1 • 4 years ago

                                        @diaigma Thanks. :) I love your avatar, btw. It looks like a dark figure with angel wings, but then when you view it up close, it looks completely different, lol.

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                                        • diaigma • 4 years ago

                                          Nice, @lane1! Not to often we get a review from you. And from a classic, no less. Agreed on all counts :)

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