Movie #286 2020: The Karate Kid (1984)

There’s nothing quite like catching up with eighties classics, is there? You won’t be surprised that I’d never seen The Karate Kid before at this point, especially when I’d never seen The Breakfast Club until recently either.

For those of you living under a rock (like I was), The Karate Kid involves a teenage boy named Daniel (Ralph Macchio) who has just been uprooted from his home in New York and moved to California due to his mother’s new job. Daniel’s neighbour – as he soon finds out – is an old man named Mr. Miyagi, who so happens to be a master of karate. Miyagi teaches Daniel the fundamentals of meditation, bonsai, and of course karate, only to find out his arch nemesis is also trained to a high level. Daniel finds himself competing against his enemy in a real karate tournament by the end of the movie, with Mr. Miyagi as his coach.

While it wreaks of the 80s, but The Karate Kid has somehow aged so well. Even though the soundtrack is super typical of the era, it’s full of hits and always relevant to the action on screen. With hits from the likes of Bananarama, you’ll find yourself subconsciously tapping your foot along with the drama that unfolds.

 Perhaps the success this has at holding up so well in this day and age is due to its timeless story. It gives you a likeable character to root for from its inception, and makes you feel like you’re part of his journey. Is it predictable at times? Yes. And is it filled with rose-tinted views of high school? Sure. But it’s the type of narrative that will continue to be of interest as long as teenagers exist.

Some of the pacing is a little off at times, and I’m 99% sure some parts of the story are less necessary than others, but that’s a small price to pay for how good the majority of the movie is. Take 10 or so minutes out of the overall run time and you’ve got a pretty great movie. Despite that, the first half of the movie is really focused and a really good piece of cinema. The second half? Not so much. But is good enough to maintain your attention.

The most surprising thing for me was how pretty the film looked. Some great cinematography and some great shots are achieved, especially with any sequence that contains a body of water. There’s a reason the shot of Daniel standing on a tall rock on the sand is so iconic. In fact, it’s really quite beautiful so I feel the need to show you exactly what I mean:

Just gorgeous.

If I could, I’d put Daniel’s mother on my “Best Movie Dads” list (yes, it really exists – click HERE to take a look!) And how can you not love Mr. Miyagi? All in all, some very well developed characters that are essential in creating relatability.

As far as classics go, this one did not disappoint.

The Karate Kid is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

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