Column: “The Karate Kid” is still a good movie

Ryan Meyer, Opinions Writer

I recently watched “The Karate Kid” on Netflix and realized why I have such fond memories of it, even though I haven’t seen it in ages. It’s not as action-packed as I remember, and it features some obvious ‘80s cliches, but the ending is just as heartwarming and emotional as I remember.

Sure, it’s the predictable underdog story, and the end result can be anticipated the second Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel how to trim a bonsai tree, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. I think it’s one of the better sports movies I’ve seen because it shows athletic discipline through a sport that is less heralded than American staples like football or baseball.

It’s also pretty light on the montages, surprisingly. I could see a two-minute montage of Daniel waxing on and off or brushing up and down or side to side, but luckily the movie breaks it up into separate days, which I think helps display Daniel’s frustration about his belief that he isn’t being taught karate. That makes for one of the best moments of the entire movie, when Daniel realizes he was learning karate the whole time when Mr. Miyagi throws a series of attacks at him and Daniel defends himself perfectly using the moves he perfected through repetition of menial tasks.

One montage that works perfectly is when Daniel is on his winning streak in the tournament and the song “You’re the Best” is sound tracking clips of the Cobra Kai guys winning mercilessly and Daniel observing them or winning his own matches against them. This song is perfect for the movie and is just a solid sports montage song.

The bravado Daniel adopts when the truce is settled between him and his enemies, the Cobra Kai, is particularly hilarious. Especially in the school courtyard when he pulls a teacher aside to get him to explain a lecture to him and his “buddies.”

The ending fight between Daniel and Johnny is so perfectly composed. Not that I’m a film expert, but details like having Johnny in black and Daniel in white is something even I know is meant to tell the difference between good and evil. Although, as far as I can tell from the “Cobra Kai” series trailer, maybe Johnny won’t be evil forever.

Anyway, when Daniel raises his leg for a final crane kick, and the camera zooms to Mr. Miyagi quickly nodding, there is a point in the music where it isn’t clear who’s going to win, and that is one of the best moments in the movie.

I think “The Karate Kid” is one of my favorite movies for the sole reason it’s fun to watch and the emotion that boils to a head at the tournament makes for an exciting conclusion. It isn’t truly a conclusion, though, considering there are more movies in the series, which are also currently on Netflix and I will definitely be watching.

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]