The Karate Kid

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The Karate Kid is a 1984 coming-of-age film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, starring Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita and Elisabeth Shue. It is a martial arts film, and an underdog story in the mold of a previous success, Avildsen's 1976 film Rocky. It was a commercial success upon release, and garnered favorable critical acclaim, earning Pat Morita an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.



Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) moves with his mother (Randee Heller) from Newark, New Jersey to Reseda, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California. Their apartment's handyman is an odd but kindly and humble Okinawan immigrant named Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita).

Daniel meets Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue), a high school cheerleader, but earns the anger of her ex-boyfriend, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), a karate student. Johnny is the best student at the Cobra Kai dojo, where he is taught an unethical, vicious form of martial arts. Daniel knows some karate from books, and from a few months' experience at the YMCA, but is beaten up and bullied by Johnny and his friends.

When Miyagi witnesses Daniel getting beat up by the gang, he intervenes and single-handedly defeats all five Cobra Kai with ease. Awed, Daniel asks Miyagi to be his teacher. Miyagi refuses, but agrees to go with Daniel to the Cobra Kai dojo in order to resolve the conflict. They confront the sensei, John Kreese (Martin Kove), an ex-Special Forces Vietnam Veteran who sneers at the concepts of mercy and restraint. Kreese and Miyagi agree to a match between Johnny and Daniel in two months' time at the "All Valley Karate Tournament", where Cobra Kai students can fight Daniel on equal terms. Miyagi also requests that the bullying stop while Daniel trains. Kreese orders his students to leave Daniel alone, but under the condition that if Daniel does not show up for the tournament, the harassment will resume and Miyagi himself will also become a target. Miyagi becomes Daniel's teacher and, slowly, a surrogate father figure. He begins Daniel's training by having him perform laborious chores such as waxing cars, sanding a wooden floor, refinishing a fence, and painting Miyagi's house. Each chore is accompanied with a specific movement, such as clockwise/counter-clockwise hand motions. Daniel eventually feels frustrated, believing he has learned nothing of karate. When he expresses his frustration, Miyagi reveals that Daniel has been learning defensive blocks through muscle memory learned by performing the chores.

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