Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid is an underdog story that we identify with even more so because the underdog is not a hopeless cause who makes a 180. Instead he is like many of us—yes beset upon and depressed but at the same kind capable and engaging. The story begins with a cross-country move from New Jersey to LA where the young teenage boy begrudgingly accompanies his mother who has just got a new job. Putting his best foot forward, he makes a new friend then meets a girl, only to incur the wrath of her ex, a bleach blond Karate master. Soon he is the recipient of beatings until he finds out a secret about the maintenance man in his apartment which eventually leads him down a path of friendship, self-defense, and self-respect. The Karate Kid is utterly enjoyable and Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita so natural in their respective roles. It is no surprise that the film was helmed by John D. Avildsen, the same person who helmed Rocky, a similar story with a similar lead character we can identify with. Although we may be familiar with how this journey goes, we are taken in by every second of the ride.
*** 1/2