Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Karate Kid (1984)

After moving to The Valley, New Jersey kid Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) finds himself the target of bullies from the local Cobra Kai dojo. With the help of his apartment building's handyman Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki "Pat" Morita) Daniel-san is able to learn some important life lessons.

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Usually when one thinks of the cinema of the 1980's, thoughts turn to Stallone, Schwarzenegger and their countless imitators. It was an era of big guns, big muscles and buckets of blood. It was also the era of supply-side economics and cocaine. Everything in the 80's was about excess, just look at the shoulder-pads some chicks were rocking! And the hair! When viewed in this context, The Karate Kid is a bit of an anomaly. Put aside all the "wax on, wax off" and "catch fly with chopstick" stuff and this film is really about balance. It's not even a hidden message either, Miyagi talks about it several times in the film. And boy does it get you to hate macho men like John Kreese. When you think about how this film was marketed to teenagers, It almost seems downright subversive! Toaism for kids! But then again, to be truly subversive, don't you have to actually influence people's thoughts and actions? This movie only succeeded in filling karate classes to their breaking point. Oh well, it's at least nice to know that someone was attempting to restore balance to our cinemas.

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