Friday, June 03, 2011

The Karate Kid (1984)

Daniel is the new kid in town. He has a passion for karate, and a hatred for the new californian atmosphere that he is brought to by his mother. He falls for the cute blonde girl, but in 80s teen films, this is never as easy as it seems. Falling for Ali brings baggage in the form of her ex boyfriend Johnny. When Daniel tries to step up to Johnny for being rude to Ali, Johnny beats the crap out of Daniel. Daniel's torment from Johnny does not end there. Johnny and his crew make it there personal mission to make Daniel's life a living hell by making sure he gets kicked off of the soccer team and beating him up for no reason.
Daniel is interested in Karate, and when he tries to find a karate class, he finds the place where Johnny and his friends train- Corba Kai Dojo. The Corba's are led by an ex marine who emphasizes taking no prisoners. Daniel is disheartened because he wants to learn karate, but does not want to take classes with his tormentors. Then one night he tries to get some revenge on Johnny, which leads to his whole crew chasing Daniel back to his apartment and giving him a beat down. Just when we think Daniel is going to get seriously injured, the motel manager - Mr. Miyagi - comes to the rescue and disarms Johnny and the rest of his crew. Johnny asks Mr. Miyagi to be his mentor. Mr Miyagi represents a real embodiment of karate, unlike the Corba students. He teaches Daniel patience and self defense. After many lessons, Daniel enters a karate tournament where he meets his arch nemesis, Johnny, in the finals. He prevails because he is taught the true fundamentals of karate- self discipline and peace- unlike Johnny.
What I enjoyed about this movie is that it shows the strength in a peaceful and in control mindset. While Johnny has brute force, Daniel is able to overcome him through his inner control and understanding of the true meaning of karate. The final scene where Johnny uses the praying mantis kick to K.O. Johnny is the epitome of badass. If you are a retributivist, then this is your movie.

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