If I say “wax on!” to you, what you have to answer without hesitation? “Wax off!”
This is code words for true fans of Karate Kid or at least anyone born in the late ’60s or ’70s.
Karate Kid is American cultural phenomenon of ’80s and probably can be compared only with popularity of Bruce Lee films. This standard new-kid-in-town flick stole souls of families thanks to the teacher-student relationship between wise Mr. Miyagi and lonely teen Daniel, they are like Luke and Obi Wan from Star Wars.
Directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen in 1984 this underdog story has grown into three sequels and a remake in 2010 and continues to resonate across generations.
But let’s start with the original film.
Karate Kid Part 1 – non-traditional way of study martial arts
The store centres around old Japanese man and the kid from Jersey. Mr. Miyagi easily becomes a perfect father figure for Daniel, thanks to the old man’s patience, understanding and seemingly infinite knowledge.
Actually Miyagi using Daniel as a free labor for shining cars, painting fences, scrubbing the bottoms of pools, and of cause youngster complains against this specific way of learning karate. It is irresistible, if not surprising, to watch this culminate in the boy’s angry outburst, the old man’s quiet bemusement and the revelation that painting, sanding and waxing have plenty to do with karate after all.
What is interesting director John G. Avildsen also made Rocky in 1976 so no wonder this movie became so popular, but the heart of this film isn’t in the fight sequences, it’s in the relationships… and in a sweet romantic liaison with a girlfriend but later about that.
Where was Karate Kid filmed
The Karate Kid shot for 45 days in the fall of 1983 in Los Angeles, primarily on location in the San Fernando Valley.
William Zabka (Johnny) says, “When you get on a set, all that you did in rehearsal, and all that you do to prep, takes on a new life because that location is almost a character itself and it adds to the energy of the scene, and you feed off that.”
Other filming locations include Sedona, AZ. and Agoura Hills, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Encino, Los Angeles, Malibu, Northridge, Norwalk, Reseda, Westlake Village and Woodland Hills, CA.
Karate Kid Part 2 – Live or die, man!
In the sequel released in 1986, Sensei Miyagi receives a letter notifying him that his father is dying. He plans to return to his home village in Okinawa, and Daniel accompanies him. The opening scene of Karate Kid 2 movie takes place immediately following the finale of the original Karate Kid to seamlessly tie the two together. It was originally planned as the ending for the first film, although it wasn’t shot until after the second film’s production began.
This is a fantastic sequel that lives up to the original and grossed even more at the box office than its predecessor.
Where was Karate Kid 2 filmed
Principal photography took place in Oahu, Hawaii, in the northeastern area of the island known as the “windward side”. Filmmakers selected a property in Oahu that was privately owned by a retired local physician who agreed to allow a portion of the land to be used in the film. To form the Okinawan village portrayed in the film, seven authentic replicas of Okinawan houses were constructed along with more than three acres of planted crops.
Karate Kid Part 3 – This isn’t funny anymore.
Released in 1989, this is the third part of the series directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, with stunts choreographed by Pat E. Johnson.
Upon arrival in Los Angeles, Daniel and Miyagi discover that the South Seas apartments have been demolished, which puts Miyagi unemployed. Going against Miyagi’s wishes, Daniel uses his college funds to realize Miyagi’s dream of opening a bonsai shop. Miyagi thanks Daniel and makes him a partner at the bonsai business.
Cobra Kai Sensei John Kreese with a help of his Vietnam War comrade Terry Silver take Daniel into a dangerous game to compete at the tournament on their rules.
When the first movie had an attitude about karate, and life, the second film transferred us to mysterious Japan with Karate spirit. But the third part lost its flair and Daniel is no longer an interesting kid, but simply a series of predictable attitudes. The only fresh element is Daniel’s brief rebellion, when he is disloyal to Mr. Miyagi by accepting the scheming Terry as his coach. Formula movies like this are only as good as their villains
It’s hard to create original characters and give them interesting things to say, and Avildsen and writer Robert Mark Kamen have exhausted themselves with these particular characters. It’s time to move on to the Next Karate Kid.
Next Karate Kid – Who says the good guy has to be a guy?
The Karate Kid 4 was released 10 years after original in 1994. This time it was not featured Ralph Macchio in the lead role, was not directed by John G. Avildsen and screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen did not have a writing credit.
Mr. Miyagi leaves Los Angeles and travels to the city of Boston to attend a commendation for Japanese-American soldiers of WWII. There he introduced to Julie, an angry teenage girl who is full of pain, sorrow, and resentment because of the death of her parents in a car accident. Miyagi takes her to a Buddhist monastery in order to teach the true ways of karate.
What is interesting, Pat E. Johnson, the martial arts choreographer, awarded Hilary Swank with a Pink belt. This movie was a break-out performance for Hilary and she proved her talent later in Million Dollar Baby in 2005.
The Karate Kid – A Teacher He Never Expected.
This is 2010 remake of original film directed by Harald Zwart, produced by Jerry Weintraub and stars Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. Christopher Murphey re-wrote the original story of Robert Mark Kamen.
Twelve-year-old Dre Parker and his mother Sherry move from Detroit to Beijing. After a day in a park, Dre develops a crush on a young Meiying, who reciprocates his attention, but Cheng, a rebellious kung fu prodigy attempts to keep them apart. During an attack, the maintenance man Mr. Han comes to Dre’s aid, revealing himself as a kung fu master.
2010 remake does not feature karate, but focuses on the main character learning Kung Fu. This filmed called The Karate Kid only for American market, in China it is titled The Kung Fu Dream, and in Japan and South Korea – Best Kid.
With a budget of $40 million it grossed $359 million worldwide.
It was announced in June 2010 that Sony’s Columbia Pictures would be developing a sequel, and on June 25, 2014, Jeremiah Friedman and Nick Palmer were named as the writers to pen the film’s script.
Where was The Karate Kid filmed
Principal photography took place in Beijing, China and filming began around July 2009 and ended on October 16, 2009. The Chinese government granted the filmmakers access to the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, and the Wudang Mountains. On some occasions, the filmmakers had to negotiate with residents who were not accustomed to filming activity.
Bad guys of Karate Kid
Played by Martin Kove in three parts of Karate Kid
Played by William Zabka in original Karate Kid
Played by Yuji Okumoto in Karate Kid Part 2
Played by Thomas Ian Griffith in Karate Kid Part 3
Played by Sean Kanan in Karate Kid Part 3
Played by Michael Ironside in The Next Karate Kid
Played by Rongguang Yu in The Karate Kid
Played by Zhenwei Wang in The Karate Kid
Karate Kid girlfriends
Played by Elisabeth Shue in Karate Kid Part 1
Played by Tamlyn Tomita in Karate Kid Part 2
Played by Robyn Lively in Karate Kid Part 3
Played by Wenwen Han in The Karate Kid
Karate Kid merchandise
In February 2005 was released the special three-DVD edition Karate Kid Collection.