Product II

film 1 of 4

The Karate Kid

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 17, 2015

This is certainly a time capsule film, which is not particularly to its advantage. The insertion of all those songs, for instance, is really annoying. The perfidy of the antagonists—this is what Mr. Jared Hess is puncturing with his “bow to your sensei” stuff—is really risible, really ridiculous. It makes the conclusion pretty foregone, and, even though that crazy kick is kind of cool, boring. Movies don’t always have to be verisimilar, but no one actually acts this way!

The Encino/Reseda class discourse is also heavy-handed. Mr. Miyagi’s accent is pretty heavy for a guy who was in the American armed forces forty years ago. They really pile on the Japanese-in-the-US tribulation. It was doubtless educational for young viewers in 1984, so maybe that’s not so bad. Good things? The training regime is kind of fun in its comic indirectness, and the reasons for karate stuff is healthy. Macchio is likeable, and if he’s a bit schtickily ethnic, then he’s at least positively so. Also, for all the situational overreaching, the romance is kind of nice.