'The Karate Kid' Review By Lane
Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good, everything good. Balance bad? Better pack up, go home.
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!
PS -- I just noticed I'm the first review for this movie. Awesome! :D
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