John G. Avildsen not only directed Rocky, he tried remaking it over the years in a dozen different ways. One of them was this popular 1984 drama about a new kid (Ralph Macchio) in town targeted by karate-wielding bullies u... more »ntil he gets a new mentor: the handyman (Pat Morita) from his apartment building, who teaches him self-confidence and fighting skills. The screen partnership of Macchio's motor-mouth character and Morita's reserved father figure works well, and the script allows for the younger man to develop sympathy for the painful memories of his teacher. But the film's real engine, as with Rocky, is the fighting, and there's plenty of that. Elisabeth Shue is on board as the girl the klutzy Macchio dreams of winning. --Tom Keogh« less
Melissa W. from MERRITT IS, FL Reviewed on 10/24/2010...
Great family movie!!!!
Shannon B. (brbarnes71) from POTEAU, OK Reviewed on 3/16/2009...
The one and only original Karate Kid - the sequels were no match. LOVE IT!
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
John C. (bookwheelboy) Reviewed on 12/6/2007...
Stand up and Cheer
J. Elmquist | Somewhere else... | 12/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Karate Kid is not what you may think it is. The premise of a young fatherless boy trying to survive a completely new environment is how this movie gets its humanity. For anyone who has ever had to move to a new town, be raised by only one parent, or face overwhelming odds, and almost everyone has done at least one of these, this movie can be related to on many levels. Ralph Macchio plays Daniel, a teenager from New Jersey who is forced to move across the country with his mother and start a new life in a foreign place, California. Setting aside the differences between East & West coast alone, there is plenty for him to realize. When faced with bullies that he doesn't understand, he finds a friend in an unlikely place; Mr. Miagi, a Japanese handyman, played by Pat Morita, who's hides many talents. To say Karate Kid is a story about over coming your fear is to say that life is just a thing we do everyday. This movie mixes a friendship, a romance, a coming of age story, gaining self confidence and learning to appreciate that which you may not understand right away. After getting sufficiently beat up by the bullies more than once, Daniel enlists the help of Miagi and soon finds himself training for a tournament. This may seem outrageous, but Miagi knows it is a much safer place and a more controlled environment for Daniel to defend himself and gain respect. Miagi's training techniques are unique to say the least, and just as Daniel begins to question what is going on, he realizes that Migai really does know what he is doing. The story is good and solid and allows sympathy for both sides of the characters. They fill a void for each other, an obvious father/son, mentor/student relationship. The chemistry between them is very solid. Elizabeth Shue is good in her first major role, playing the sweet rich girl who sees Daniel for the person he is and not for his social status. Although sounding clichéd on the surface, this movie is well done and not superficial. The characters are very real, the emotions are deep and the fear of growing up with bullies hits home for many of us. The ending will have you cheering as Daniel moves his way through the tournament to the final climatic ending. Highly recommended and highly entertaining."
Good Movie, Bad DVD . . . Find out Why!
envisions | Kitscoty, Alberta | 12/03/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie deserves only 3 stars instead of 3 for the following reasons:1) There are no extras other than the trailer on this DVD. Why didn't Columbia Home Video include the trailers for the two sequels? Why didn't they get Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita (academy-nominated for this role) or director John G. Avildsen to supply commentary?2) The movie was shot in 1.85:1 which means that the movie was shot full frame (1.33:1) but was projected in the theatre with the top and bottom blocked. This practice gives a widescreen look to movies. Since 'The Karate Kid' was done this way, pan and scan was not needed. You actually see more but this causes the composition to be a little off because there is so much space above the actor's heads. Funny thing, The Karate Kid parts 2 & 3 are letterboxed. Does this mean that an old video transfer was used for this DVD?3) Where's the Dolby 5.1?"
The 80's are back!
Ace Pecenpetelovski | Sydney, Australia | 05/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Wax on, wax off" is a catchphrase that will forever be instilled in the human psyche, thanks to the eighties release, The Karate Kid. Now, as you cringe at the images racing through your head of disco balls, pastels, hair spray and corny one-liners and you decide to bury yourself in a deep hole and hide, dust off the cob webs because no matter how many times you've see it, this is one eighties flick you can't help but love. Now available on DVD as an Ultimate Collectors Pack, we can relive this inspirational story of courage and friendship. While teens of today may call this a retro disaster, and use the video cover as a coaster during a drinking fest at one of their underage parties, there's no denying the saying, "an oldie but a goodie" loudly rings true.Moving to a new home and starting over is never easy. Just ask Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio). Leaving Newark for LA, Daniel's the new kid and he thinks the whole world is coming down on him. It's all doom and gloom until like any other 16 year old teenager with rushing hormones, meets a beautiful blonde, Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue). However, Ali brings baggage to the picture, a wild ex boyfriend Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) who also happens to be the leader of the Cobras, a ruthless youth karate gang. Subject to constant bullying by the cobras, Daniel turns to an unlikely source for help, Japanese war veteran turned apartment block handyman Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita).Mr. Miyagi, who has been taught karate by his father becomes the helpless teens mentor and teaches him the craft, not as an offensive tool, rather only as a means of self-defence. After months of unconventional training such as washing cars, sanding decks and painting fences and houses, Daniel's prepped for his toughest battle, a fight against Johnny in the thrilling conclusion. Will good prevail over evil?It's the finale that's most exciting. My finger is always drawn to the rewind button, where I can't help but recap those final gripping moments again and again. The youth of today's movie going generation will have a field day laughing at the funky eighties pop music, the tightly worn jeans, and (I must admit) the outrageous hair styles. Despite this, 20 years later, a lot can still be learnt as its messages transcend across the boarder of time.An everlasting masterpiece the whole family will enjoy, John G. Avildsen's The Karate Kid, the original of the trilogy, is undoubtedly the standout. Though a little hackneyed and slightly predictable at times, it's the relationship between Macchio's and Morita's finely tuned characters that still make this a heartfelt film, two decades after its cinema release.It's a shame Ralph Macchio can't brush off that teen type cast. Struggling to get adult roles because of his boy like features is unfortunate as his acting ability is second to none. It sadly seems he'll forever be remembered as 'The Karate Kid'. A great performance is somewhat to his detriment. Still, only one word can describe this movie, unforgettable...that's for sure!Dim the lights, heat up the popcorn and enjoy this timeless classic."
I am SOOOO mortified PAN AND SCAN! %$
Sam D Barrett | Australia | 04/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"People dismiss this film because of it's simplicity. Well I'll tell you right now, it isn't a movie about Karate. Daniel overcomes an insurmountable goal, the type of goal you achieve once in your entire life (this is why I disregard the sequels, apologies for fans). The Karate Kid is a truly beautiful piece of Cinema. If you believe the Karate Kid is a bad film then hire out the Avengers, then MK:Annihilation.What I will say is that I am DISGUSTED at the fact that this film is presented in Pan and Scan. I paid full price for a movie I am seeing half of. I wanted Widescreen. Did I get it? In a word, No. So now I have a VHS and DVD which are both Pan and Scan. Will I ever see this film in it's original format? This is a question I leave to you, Columbia. Regards Mas"
Great Movie, Horrible DVD
Sam D Barrett | 11/27/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Five star movie, 1 start DVD = 3 stars total.This is one of my top 5 favorite films. However, I'm not about to buy the DVD when it only has the Fullscreen version and no commentary. Its really sad that such a classic has gone so unappreciated. Parts 2 and 3 are widescreen, wake up people!Oh and by the way, if you are one of those people who think that widescreen means that they "cut off the top and bottom" of the film to make it look like you're in the movies, please educate yourself. Its fullscreen versions of films that cut parts of the picture out."