"The Karate Kid", the teen version of "Rocky" was the surprise box-office hit of 1984. It is a heart-warming story about a fatherless New Jersey kid, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) & the problems he encounters when he moves to L.A. with his mother. Being the new kid in town, Daniel is bullied by a gang of tough students from the local karate school. Daniel falls for pretty Californian girl Ali, (Elisabeth Shue) & his problems escalate when he discovers that she is the former girlfriend of the local karate champion.
Daniel befriends a Japanese handy-man, Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita who played Arnold on Happy Days) who is the janitor at his apartment block. He is later trained by him & taught the ancient art of kung fu & eastern philosophy which he uses to overcome the bullies.
It is a sensitive story of friendship between an old man who has lost his son & a young teen who has lost his father. Mr. Miyagi's karate teachings are unusual (Daniel is asked to wash cars & paint fences) & Daniel is at first confused but eventually realises that there is method in Mr. Miyagi's system of training.
The appeal of the film lies in the philosophies it projects, winning is not important & kung fu fighting should only be used in self defense. As Mr. Miyagi points out to Daniel, we learn martial arts not so we can fight, but rather, so we won't have to fight.
"The Karate Kid" is irresistible from start to finish with likeable performances from the entire cast. Pat Morita got his dream role playing the wise Mr. Miyagi & was nominated for an Academy Award for his brilliant portrayal. Elisabeth Shue is wonderful as Daniel's love interest & Ralph Macchio is charismatic in the title role. The exciting climatic karate tournament, complemented by the dynamic music score, is only one of the many highlights in this remarkable motion picture.
I originally saw "The Karate Kid" on the big screen in 1984 & have since watched it a number of times. I was recently surfing the cable T.V. channels & it just happened to be on. After watching only 2 minutes it had me hooked. It is the sort of film you can watch over & over again & it is just as entertaining everytime.
"The Kartate Kid" is old-fashioned entertainment at its best. It was not only one of the best motion pictures released in 1984, but is considered by many to be one of most entertaining films of all-time. John G. Avildsen the director of the original "Rocky" has triumphantly brought to the screen another crowd-pleasing classic.