The Original Karate Kid Trilogy
The original Karate Kid trilogy consists of three films that were released between 1984 and 1989. The films were directed by John G. Avildsen and starred Ralph Macchio as the titular character, Daniel LaRusso. The films were a huge success and have become cult classics over the years.
The first film, released in 1984, follows the story of Daniel LaRusso, a teenager who moves to a new town and is relentlessly bullied by a group of karate students led by Johnny Lawrence (played by William Zabka). He is trained in karate by Mr. Miyagi (played by Pat Morita) and eventually faces off against Johnny in a karate tournament.
The second film, released in 1986, continues the story of Daniel as he travels to Okinawa, Japan with Mr. Miyagi to visit his dying father. While there, he becomes embroiled in a feud with a local karate school and must face off against their top student.
The third and final film in the trilogy, released in 1989, sees Daniel return to California and enter into a business venture with Mr. Miyagi. However, they soon find themselves facing off against a former student of Mr. Miyagi’s who has gone rogue.
Overall, the original Karate Kid trilogy is a beloved series of films that have stood the test of time. They continue to be watched by fans all over the world, and have inspired a whole generation of martial artists.
The Next Karate Kid
Released in 1994, “The Next Karate Kid” is the fourth installment in the Karate Kid film series. However, it departs from the original storyline and features a new protagonist, Julie Pierce (played by Hilary Swank), instead of Daniel LaRusso.
The film follows Julie, a troubled teenage girl who has lost both her parents and is struggling to cope with her grief. She is taken under the wing of Mr. Miyagi, who teaches her karate and helps her find purpose and meaning in her life. Julie soon finds herself facing off against a group of bullies who are tormenting her friend, and must use her new-found karate skills to defend herself and others.
While “The Next Karate Kid” did not achieve the same level of success as the original trilogy, it still has a dedicated fanbase and is considered an important part of the Karate Kid franchise. The film also marked Hilary Swank’s first major role in a feature film, and helped launch her career as an actress.
The Karate Kid Remake
In 2010, a remake of the original Karate Kid film was released, starring Jaden Smith as Dre Parker and Jackie Chan as Mr. Han. The film is set in Beijing, China and features a similar plot to the original, with Dre being bullied by a group of students and Mr. Han teaching him karate to defend himself.
While the film received mixed reviews, it was a commercial success and grossed over $350 million worldwide. It also introduced the Karate Kid franchise to a new generation of fans, and helped solidify Jaden Smith’s career as an actor.
While the remake was not without its criticisms, many fans appreciated the film’s homage to the original while also bringing a fresh perspective to the story. It also featured some stunning cinematography and impressive fight scenes, making it an enjoyable watch for fans of martial arts films.
Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues
“Cobra Kai” is a TV series that picks up the Karate Kid story over 30 years after the events of the original trilogy. It was first released on YouTube Premium in 2018, but later moved to Netflix where it gained even more popularity.
The series follows the story of Johnny Lawrence, the main antagonist of the original film, as he tries to rebuild his life and reopen the Cobra Kai dojo. He takes on a new student, Miguel, and begins teaching him the ways of karate. However, he soon finds himself facing off against his old rival, Daniel LaRusso, who has become a successful businessman and now runs his own dojo.
The series has been praised for its clever writing, strong character development, and excellent performances from its cast. It has also been successful in exploring the themes of redemption and second chances, as both Johnny and Daniel grapple with their past mistakes and try to make things right.
“Cobra Kai” has been renewed for a fifth season, and has become a fan-favorite among Karate Kid enthusiasts. It has also introduced the franchise to a new generation of viewers and helped solidify the Karate Kid’s place in popular culture.
Which Karate Kid Movie Should You Watch First?
If you’re new to the Karate Kid franchise, you may be wondering where to start. With so many movies and TV shows to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to watch first. Here’s a breakdown of the different options:
If you want to start with the classic storyline, begin with the original Karate Kid film from 1984. This movie sets up the story of Daniel LaRusso, Mr. Miyagi, and the Cobra Kai dojo, and is a great introduction to the franchise.
If you’re interested in seeing a different take on the story, you can start with the 2010 Karate Kid remake. While it has a similar plot to the original, it features different characters and is set in a different location.
If you’re a fan of the original trilogy and want to see how the story has evolved over time, check out the Cobra Kai TV series. It picks up the story over 30 years after the events of the original films and explores what has happened to the characters in the years since.
Ultimately, the order in which you watch the Karate Kid franchise is up to you. Whether you start with the classic or go for a more modern take, each movie and TV show offers something unique and enjoyable for fans of martial arts films.