Sound On Sight Radio Rewind – Episode #209: The Karate Kid Franchise

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Remember the good old days, where dealing with school yard bullies involved standing up for yourself, rather than wearing a black trenchcoat and blowing a cheerleader’s face off with a pipe bomb? Neither do I, which is why I spent my adolescence buying guns, reading the Anarchist Cookbook, and making silencers out of two litre soda bottles. But apparently, in the early eighties, you could save the day and win the girl by roundhouse kicking people in martial arts tournaments. At least, if 1984 blockbuster The Karate Kid, about a Jersey Boy who learns karate from a kindly handyman in his new, California home. Tonight, Sound on Sight takes a look at director John G. Avildsen’s blockbuster hit, its 2010 remake, starring Jackie Chan and Will Smith, Jr, and 1994’s The Next Karate Kid, featuring Hilary Swank as a female incarnation of the titular hero.

Moving to a new city can be difficult, especially if you look like The Situation and sound like the whole cast of A Bronx Tale. That’s the situation Daniel Larusso, played by Ralph Macchio, finds himself in when he moves from New Jersey to California. There, he meets the lovely Elizabeth Shue, and runs afoul of a whole dojo full of the young cast of Starship Troopers. Only the tutelage of Mr. Miyagi, an Okinawan handyman who seems born to be the fodder for fortune cookie jokes everywhere, can help him.

Imagine the same thing I said about The Karate Kid, except substitute California with China, and Ralph Macchio with a sociopathic robot.

10 years after the 1984 original, The Karate Kid has undergone gender reassignment surgery. Starring Hilary Swank, the film has Miyagi visiting Boston for some reason, where he meets a disturbed young girl. Miyagi teachers her karate, or better karate, more accurately, just in time for her to fight a fraternity lead by Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell.

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Music Playlist:

Joe Esposito – You’re The Best
Junior Boys – Teach Me How to Fight
Four Tet – She Just Likes to Fight
Soccer Team – Solid Ring Fighters

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