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 while getting him to do some chores around the house.
Made for a relative pittance, the way the first ROCKY was, THE KARATE KID reaped a bonanza at the box office. Though shamelessly manipulative, it is undeniably effective. It offers some genuine moments of warmth, humor and excitement. Of course it all leads up to a big tournament where Fair Play
has a showdown with Dirty Tricks. Guess who wins. This is the kind of movie where you find yourself cheering even though you know you're being hoodwinked. Naturally the movie gave birth to two sequels and, not surprisingly, neither measures up to the original. leave a comment
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.