Derivative and sentimental, THE KARATE KID treads the same path as ROCKY, and with good reason--it was directed by John Avildsen, who also directed Sylvester Stallone's star-making vehicle.
Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and his mother (Randee Heller) move from Newark, New Jersey, to southern California, where the whole world seems blond and brutal to this hapless ethnic kid. Daniel is immediately set upon by bullies, led by a Hitler Youth-type, Johnny (William Zabka). Daniel's new life
grows increasingly unpleasant until he meets Miyagi (Pat Morita), a friendly aged Japanese janitor. Miyagi takes the kid under his wing and begins to teach him about life and karate whil...