Before anybody asks, I had originally planed to review the original Karate Kid franchise of films before they made the announcement today about the Youtube Red series that takes place 30 years after the original movie.
If you don’t know already, the show, titled Cobra Kai, will reunite Ralph Macchio and William Zabka who are set to reprise their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence respectively. The half-hour comedy will be set 30 years after the original film, focusing on Johnny who is down on his luck and re-opens the Cobra Kai dojo on his search for redemption. This puts him at odds with Daniel, who, though successful, is trying to find balance in his life without Mr. Miyagi.
Josh Heald will write the script with Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg while the latter duo will direct most of the series, they will also executive-produce alongside Macchio and Zabka. The series received an order of 10 episodes for the first season which is set to debut on YouTube Red in 2018
So, no, I am not reviewing all four Karate Kid films just to cash in on the just announced news from today. Now, with that said, let’s look at the original The Karate Kid:
The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts drama film produced by Jerry Weintraub, directed by John G. Avildsen, written by Robert Mark Kamen, and stars Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita and Elisabeth Shue. It is an underdog story in the mold of a previous success, the 1976 film Rocky, which Avildsen also directed. The film features the Gōjū-ryū style of karate. The Karate Kid was a commercial success upon release and garnered critical acclaim, earning Morita an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The film became the first in a series, spawning three sequels, remake in 2010 and a TV series.
To be honest, I saw the 2010 remake first before any of the other movies so I went through the original series of films backwards pretty much. I do really like the 2010 remake, it’s one of the few times you can actually stand Jaden Smith in anything and you can’t go wrong with Taraji P. Henson AND Jackie Chan and they did try to do things differently than the original movie did, which is more than you can say for most remakes.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the original Karate Kid is a fun movie that also benefits from a strong cast led by Ralph Macchio and especially Pat Morita and it also helps to have John G. Avildsen, the director of Rocky, directing essentially an underdog story.
Just like Rocky, The Karate Kid does a really good job of creating an effective underdog story with likeable characters, a memorable antagonist, a great soundtrack, and excellent action sequences….AND just like Rocky, the sequels that follow vary from okay to meh….and we’ll delve more into that throughout the month.
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