Newly arrived in California from New Jersey, teenager Ralph Macchio
almost immediately runs afoul of karate-trained high school bullies.
He is rescued by Japanese janitor Noriyuki "Pat" Morita,
who agrees to teach Macchio how to harness karate for good instead
of brutality. The film culminates in a championship karate bout,
pitting Macchio against his sworn enemy Martin Kove. Real-life karate
champ Chuck Norris was offered the role of the sadistic coach who
goads Kove into playing dirty, but Norris turned down the role,
refusing to be shown utilizing his skills negatively on screen.
Vastly popular, The Karate Kid spawned three sequels of rapidly
descending merit, as well as a Saturday morning cartoon series.
© Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide