This year, the legendary “Karate Kid” will be 30 years old. You might feel nostalgic, you might feel old, but the film has by all means remained a true ’80s classic.
Speaking of feeling old, did you know that the movie’s star, Ralph Macchio playing the role of Daniel LaRusso, is turning 53 this year? Now back when the film was released, late great Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita or Mr. Miyagi was 51, making the kid older than the master.
And for that matter, let’s dig a bit deeper – did you know that Morita has developed spinal tuberculosis at the young age of two and had to spend nine years in different hospitals, most of the time wrapped in a full-body cast? He was told he’d never walk again. However, Pat had a strong will and thanks to an extensive spinal surgery he ultimately managed to learn how to walk. Sadly, he left us on November 24, 2005, due to kidney failure.
Want more cool details? Well, if you do some basic math, you should be able to figure out that Macchio was actually 22 years old in the movie. But when you think about it, it wasn’t all that unusual back in the ’80s to have actors in their 20s take on roles of high-school kids. Just take Michael J. Fox who was 23 in the first installment of “Back to the Future.”
More neat facts? Sure. The movie’s soundtrack theme “The Moment of Truth” was performed by Survivor, the band behind the iconic “Eye of the Tiger” track, often simply known as the “Rocky Theme.” Although they’re often dubbed a one-hit wonder, Survivor have actually released a series of successful US singles back in the flashy decade, some of them being “Burning Heart” (No. 2 on the charts), “The Search Is Over” (No. 4), “High on You” (No. 8), “I Can’t Hold Back” (No. 13) and more.
So going with the flow here, did you know that Sylvester Stallone had personally approached Survivor to provide him with a theme song for “Rocky 3”? The actor had previously heard the band’s “Poor Man’s Son” track and wanted something similar. The guys went back to the studio, took the nearly-same power chords, implemented a stronger, heavier beat and voila – a classic was born. However, this wasn’t Stallone’s initial intension, as he wanted to use Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” but couldn’t get the permission. Needless to say, everything had still turned out all right.
But let’s get away from the ’80s a bit and towards the more recent events. Although there can only be one “Karate Kid,” a surprisingly successful remake was released in 2010, grossing nearly $360 million at the box offices. Simply tiled “The Karate Kid,” the latest movie rendition features Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith in starring roles. The kid has now changed race, and not only that, but Jaden happens to be the son of one and only Will Smith, the legendary actor who first struck gold with “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” It wasn’t exactly in the ’80s, but it was pretty darn close.
Anyhow, the 80s have long passed, but all of these guys are still very much present in our lives through music, film or awesome movie t-shirts. They’re classics of our youth or some old, yet amazingly cool and fresh stuff from the days of our parents. Whichever the case may be, they’re watching us all with the eye of the tiger.