Ralph Macchio, who plays Daniel LaRusso in Netflix’s The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai, says a script from the ’80s movie elevated the franchise.
Cobra Kai star Ralph Macchio says a key Karate Kid screenplay was ahead of its time. Cobra Kai season 5, continuation of the Karate Kid legacy by having Macchio and William Zabka reprise their roles nearly 40 years later just dropped on Netflx. The show’s impressive longevity proved audiences weren’t ready to say goodbye to the beloved Karate Kid franchise. Resurrecting the property for a new audience (as the 2010 Jaden Smith-Jackie Chan film did), the series has shown mastery in balancing the old with the new, telling a modern story while bringing back many of the original cast. movies and bathing in 80s nostalgia and franchise flashbacks.
the original Karate Kid The film was released in 1984. It stars Macchio in the lead as Daniel LaRusso opposite the late great Pat Morita as his mentor, Mr. Miyagi. The quintessential film of the 80s, The Karate Kid features a classic premise of a rambling young boy learning to defend himself and stand up to bullies. Despite the seemingly simple scenario, The Karate Kid spawned an enviable candor and continued success.
While breaking down his most iconic roles for QG, Credits Macchio The Karate Kid to be ahead of its time. Specifically, he mentions Mr. Miyagi’s backstory, tragically scarred by his family’s imprisonment in a Japanese internment camp. See Macchio’s thoughts on that story below:
It’s a bit ahead of its time. Certainly in the Karate Kid, the whole Japanese internment camp, it was the first major Hollywood studio movie that ever tackled this kind of dark period in our history, so as much as you could tell Karate Kid was a movie eighties popcorn, it had those elements and that’s what separates it.
Macchio’s comments on The Karate Kid to mark the first mention of Japanese internment in a blockbuster feature film is surprising, given that the events in question took place some four decades before the film was released. However, even today, Hollywood continues to struggle with representational issues and struggles with history to tell meaningful and authentic stories. The Karate Kid cast a Japanese-American actor as the Japanese character and reflected on the wrongs done to his family by the U.S. government during World War II, and managed to deliver more meaningful portrayal than many current films. The Karate Kid’s The balance between Mr. Miyagi’s tragic past and Daniel’s hope for the future lifted the film from “popcorn movie“, as Macchio puts it, while keeping his coming-of-age story front and center.
Based on the popularity of Cobra Kai, Macchio is definitely right about The Karate Kid being ahead of its time. However, while the series has paid homage to Mr. Miyagi on several occasions, it has yet to delve into his past, as it did with Terry Silver and John Kreese. Maybe in Cobra Kai season 6, the series can build on this crucial scene of Mr. Miyagi in the original Karate Kid film and finally tell this important story in its entirety.