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Debate – Does It Hold Up: ‘The Karate Kid’


Posted August 6, 2015 by

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Does It Hold Up: ‘The Karate Kid’

This is the second installment of Does it Hold Up? And this time we are tackling another 80s hit. I promise this will not be strictly 80s films, extremely popular movies, and this will not be bias of my own opinion. This debate will be films from years past (which could be 1-5 years ago or 10-100 years ago), and based on relevance of current pop culture, teen culture, and the world views and how they have changed. This article will not be rocket science or looking into the psyche of what these films were trying to say, but what they said to us the first time we watched them. Revenge of the Nerds, in my first debate, predicted the future and gave me a title I am proud to carry – let’s see what follows. This installment will be The Karate Kid.

The Karate Kid is a very simple formula where there is a new kid in town and he catches the eye of a girl. The girl happens to be the ex-girlfriend of a higher up karate expert in the Cobra Kai dojo – and he decides to bully and torment the new kid. That happens until the new kid finds Mr. Miyagi (the apartment maintenance man) to teach him karate and win back his pride. I hate rehashing plots, especially for everyone reading this, but there it is. If you have not seen it, rent it, if you have – Does it hold up?

In today’s world I would have to say yes. The themes and actions of The Karate Kid hold up with today’s teenagers, but I am going to look at a more important theme of The Karate Kid. I will be deleting the girl completely and only discuss Daniel and Johnny’s conflict. There is a new kid in town and a territory that has already been “established.” When this new kid steps on a new land and starts developing friends, it breaks the bond of old. (This is what happens in the tournament when the other Cobra Kai kids decide they don’t want to truly hurt Daniel). Daniel rises up above his adversary by learning his own trade (karate) and excels at it better than Johnny.   In today’s world, what is worse than being “shown up”…nothing. That is the theme of this film and that is the theme of this life. We are going to meet people who are not like us and that are better than us. More importantly – I am going to meet someone who I am better than, and I hope they are ready for it and give me a good challenge.

The Karate Kid is fantastic on many levels. I will debate them all with you of guy meets girl, guy meets bully, guy has bully’s girlfriend, how is he a black belt by doing chores?, and even what happens in the years that follow. The Karate Kid stands up. The theme that I discussed holds up the best, but the whole movie holds up. That does not go for the whole franchise, but this one definitely does. I did not delete the girl completely, I only focused on a more important aspect that drives the film. So I now ask you two questions. Does the girl matter? and Does it hold up?


Read Similar Articles?…

[Debate] – Does It Up Hold: ‘Revenge Of The Nerds’
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[Debate] – Does It Up Hold: ‘Chasing Amy’

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Drew and Champ

Drew Oliver
Alone In The Theater
Freelance Contributor

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