It’s difficult to believe The Karate Kid came out nearly 34 years ago. In the time since then, it’s become a beloved and quotable film, which spawned three sequels and the horrendous 2010 reboot starring Jaden “I’m Weird” Smith and Jackie Chan. Speaking to The Morning Call, Ralph Macchio, who played Daniel Larusso in the first three films, explained why he thinks the franchise has remained so popular. “It works on just all of us going through turbulent adolescent times and having that sort of mythical, magical human Yoda in the Mr. Miyagi character that gives direction we all would love to have…
“And then, it’s a story about friendship and navigating life. And then it has all the elements of a good movie, on top of that. I think that’s why it’s sustained. And then you have the pop culture of it all.” We’re glad that Macchio touched upon the pop culture element of it, because that’s why we’re here. The films might’ve had a whole lot of heart and goodwill, but they were super funny as well. As a result, we’ve handpicked 15 of the funniest memes from The Karate Kid franchise. These gems will certainly sweep you off your feet your leg.
15. THE HEARTBREAK KID
You know what was the crux of Daniel Larusso’s problems? Girls. Much like every major war fought on Earth, it all started because of a squabble over a woman. If Daniel had just controlled his hormones and walked away, he probably wouldn’t have had to fight the amount of people he did. But no, he had to be every lady’s white knight.
Mind you, his behavior isn’t uncommon. How many crane kicks have we seen (poorly executed, we might add) in schoolyards across the world because of a little jealousy? The secret to overcoming this technique, however, is exactly in what John Kreese said, “Sweep the leg.” When your opponent’s leg goes up, you hit the deck and take out the standing leg. No mercy!
14. COBRA SIGH
One of the key drivers for children to join a sports team is that it’s meant to be fun. You make new friends and have a few laughs, as you all work towards a collective goal. Sadly, The Karate Kid scared most children away from signing up with their nearest dojo because of Cobra Kai. These kids weren’t friendly or approachable; they were sociopaths.
Now, while we can all agree that it’s important to instill a winning mentality in children from a young age, it’s also vital to make sure they aren’t little jerks. Johnny and his band of thugs ensured that no one wanted to be part of their club by bullying and ridiculing anyone who wasn’t in their clique. Heck, even John Kreese wasn’t the warmest or most welcoming of instructors.
13. THE CHOSEN ONE
Ladies and gentlemen, The Karate Kid is an institution. It’s a significant part of any young person’s development. It not only taught us that karate is about what’s inside, it also introduced us to a powerful, coming-of-age story. It’s a hallmark of popular culture and a film that everyone should watch before they die.
Then, there’s the 2010 reboot starring Jaden Smith. As expected, Will Smith’s son is weird and adds absolutely nothing to the franchise. He’s full of attitude and comes off as an annoying little brat. In fact, you secretly root for the other kids to beat him up. Sorry, fam, but there’s only one Karate Kid whom we will acknowledge here: Daniel Larusso. Okay, maybe Hilary Swank’s Julie Pierce wasn’t too bad, either.
12. JUSTICE FOR JOHNNY
Do you remember how strict the referees were in The Karate Kid? They weren’t taking any nonsense from the Cobra Kai members and disqualified them for unsporting behavior. So, tell us, how in the world did they let Daniel beat Johnny after a kick to the head? Isn’t that against the rules? Somehow, we think collusion took place here. Perhaps Mr. Miyagi slipped the ref a paper envelope filled with some Benjamins?
This debate was featured in an episode of How I Met Your Mother, where Barney Stinson declared that Johnny Lawrence should’ve won the competition. It’s humbling how Johnny took the defeat in his stride and handed the trophy over to Daniel. He showed true character for a young man, even if he was robbed.
11. MIYAGI! FRAUD!
You know, for a karate instructor, Mr. Miyagi wasn’t exactly a good one. As a mentor, he definitely did his best to teach Daniel important life lessons and the need for inner peace. But in terms of self-defense, he only popped up once Daniel-san was getting his butt handed to him. The worrying thing is, Miyagi always had enough time to find chores for his student to do.
Now, we don’t know about you, but it might’ve been cheaper and less strenuous for Daniel to pay for private karate lessons. Instead, he worked around the house and did a whole bunch of free labor for his sensei. If this film had been released in 2018, we’d have Twitter campaigns demanding justice for Daniel at this point #MiyagiMustFall.
10. THE KUNG FU KID
Further proving that 2010’s The Karate Kid was a bad idea, everyone involved literally forgot the fact that not all martial arts are karate. In fact, it’s insulting to anyone who practices the art to watch a film that advertises karate be about kung fu. Did no one bother to think about this before the camera rolled?
Interestingly, Jackie Chan told interviewers that the cast members referred to the film as The Kung Fu Kid and he thought it would only be called The Karate Kid in America. In China, it was accurately called The Kung Fu Dream, while the rest of us were treated like idiots and made to believe it was about karate. Sony had considered changing the title; however, producer Jerry Weintraub rejected the idea.
In the ’80s, Daniel Larusso was the embodiment of the underdog who fought back. Everyone who’d been bullied threw their fists up in the air when he overcame Cobra Kai and won the karate tournament. It was a moment of euphoria and one that we felt strengthened every victim’s resolve to stand up for themselves. More than anything, it gave us all hope and a sense of empowerment.
Now, the problem with this was, everybody thought they could be a martial-arts champ all of a sudden. Whenever a bully (or three) approached you, you decided to channel your inner warrior and teach them the true meaning of karate. A few bloody noses later and swift kicks to your groin, and you probably realized that Daniel’s story was a lot of hogwash and pure cinema magic.
8. MIYAGI APPROVES
Funny thing, the late Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, who played Mr. Miyagi, started out as a stand-up comic before moving into TV and film – and it shows throughout the four Karate Kid films he starred in. He had such an iconic deadpan delivery, which would make Aubrey Plaza weak at the knees, and wasn’t averse to cracking a smile when merited.
Yet, his most endearing quality was how he inspired and became the mentor we all dreamed of having. To disappoint Mr. Miyagi would be sacrilege and you’d feel like a real toad if you did it. Think back to The Karate Kid Part III when Daniel lied and screamed at him; not one single eye was dry in that moment, as we all felt Miyagi’s heartbreak.
7. MR. MEOWGI
Karate requires a nimbleness and ability to be flexible, hence the reason you’re forced to do the splits until you can’t have children anymore. In fact, many instructors and sensei will tell you to be as fleet-footed as a feline in your approach to it. It makes sense since the cat is one of the most agile creatures around.
If you’ve ever encroached on a cat, though, you’ll undoubtedly be aware of how they flip into battle mode, leaping through the air and positioning themselves to knock your butt to the ground. Heck, just thinking about this graceful poise makes us realize how much we want a Karate Kitty movie. C’mon, Hollywood, make this happen! As a thank you, you can address all royalty checks to Comic Book Resources.
6. HOW DID JOHNNY NOT SEE IT COMING?!
While the crane kick remains one of the most iconic scenes in The Karate Kid franchise, we still have a lot of problems with it. First, it was illegal. Two, it leaves you wide open to an attack. And finally, how the heck does an opponent not see it coming?
Anyone who has been in a fight will tell you that telegraphing an attack is the worst thing you can do. It’s all about the element of surprise and making sure your opponent can’t predict your next move. Now, as a cultured member of Cobra Kai, you’d think that Johnny Lawrence would’ve learned a thing or two about blocking and watching an opponent for hints of their next move. Instead, Johnny ran straight into the kick like he was chasing down an ice cream. Sigh.
5. JAR KAI BINKS
As two of the most-hated figures of their respective franchises, John Kreese and Jar Jar Binks are despised for completely different reasons. The former was a bully and tyrannical figure, while the latter was just a pointless character that annoyed people. So, how could we redeem these two? Easy. By putting them in a team.
The question is, would the Cobra Kai dojo welcome Jar Jar? Well, we think they wouldn’t have a choice. No matter how many times they’d beat on him, he’d be too stupid to never come back. Seeing as how he snuck his way into Star Wars canon, we wouldn’t be surprised if he somehow became Kreese’s star pupil. Say what you will about him but the Gungan doesn’t know when to quit.
4. KREESE APPROVES
We’ve discussed how valuable it was to get Mr. Miyagi’s approval, but what about John Kreese’s? Surely, there must be a few rough dudes out there who’d love to get a head nod and thumbs up from this sensei. After all, he actually spent more time teaching his students about martial arts, while Miyagi got his Padawan to wash his car and paint his fence. It might sound like a low blow to Miyagi, but it’s the truth here.
Interestingly, while Kreese doesn’t display a particular affinity to karate’s principles, his use of the color black and the motto “no mercy” implies he’s studied the art of ninjutsu. In retrospect, he probably should’ve taught his students the Kata Dante. We’d like to see Daniel Larusso stop that deadly attack.
3. WHAT IF
It wasn’t unusual for a TV show or film from the ’80s to have a moral or lesson attached to it. Who could ever forget how every episode of BraveStarr or He-Man and the Masters of the Universe had a moral to every episode? No matter where we turned, someone was always trying to preach to us about virtues and doing the right thing.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that The Karate Kid did the same through Mr. Miyagi. The lessons, though, could also be far more subliminal, such as inspiring us to do chores to be better people. No kid wants to paint the fence or wash the car for the sake of it, but if you position it in the way that they’ll become karate champions if they do, well, that’s a different story.
2. FIFTY SHADES OF SENSEI
You know, when you think about how close the Cobra Kai really was, it should probably set off a few alarm bells. These guys were glued to the hip, fighting for each other and doing absolutely everything that Sensei Kreese told them to do without hesitation. He loved his sessions to be a little more on the brutal and physical side, and Johnny and the boys didn’t seem to mind that much. In fact, they embraced the pain wholeheartedly.
Comparing it to Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele’s relationship, there are a lot of similarities. Everyone seemed to get their kicks from being rougher than usual and using degrading language. Maybe “no mercy” implied something besides the obvious here. But hey, it’s 2018. We’re not judging.
1. LOOK EYE
Daniel Larusso’s biggest problem was that he was constantly distracted. The boy lacked focus and would go into a fight with his head somewhere else. This resulted in him taking a solid beating before finally coming to the party and overcoming his opponent. Rather than get his head in the game, he preferred to moan and be negative about what he was walking into.
The solution was simple: he should’ve kept his eyes on his opponent at all times and shut his big mouth. By concentrating and watching, he probably could’ve avoided half the smacks and prevented the blood and black eyes. But no. This kid had to walk away from every fight with a limp and some bruise that he wore as an accomplishment of sort.
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