The Karate Kid


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Release Date: 1984
Director: John G. Avildsen
Running Time: 126 minutes
Cast: Randee Heller, Martin Kove, Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, Elisabeth Shue, William Zabka


The Karate Kid (1984) - Rocky-like tale of a kid who becomes a martial arts master bears little resemblance to the DC comic of the same name.


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

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