“Yeah, but 3 was awesome because it had the twist that Daniel was getting trained by Terry Silver in the Cobra Kai dojo,” said my friend Frank as he defended 1989’s 3rd installment of The Karate Kid saga. Yes, the actual Karate Kid, with Ralph Macchio, not Will Smith’s son and especially not Hilary Swank. “OK, but 2 had the typhoon which was intense,” boasted Dave who was more passionate about watching Danielsan’s trip to Okinawa than his adventurous attempts at uprooting an innocent bonsai tree. “In 3 I like how they tied in the detail that John Kreese was in the war, it worked nicely.” Meanwhile my mind was regurgitating all the awful, scarring memories of when Elisabeth Shue abandoned me. After all, I was one of her loyal prepubescent admirers and then as if she learned some secret ninja shit, she vanished and was nowhere to be found in the sequels.
As usual, I was the one who incited this debate. So, over a few beers, I decided to gauge some of my best friends’ opinions on the Karate Kid films. I was even nice enough to preface my upcoming topic to my cohorts with a very brief overview of how Empire Strikes Back is largely regarded amongst Star Wars fans and movie goers as the best of the Star Wars films. The same usually goes for The Godfather Part 2 and several other movies as well, it’s just that no one ever paid either of the Karate Kid sequels the respect they deserve by officially burying one of them.
“Since the original Karate Kid is the far superior film in the saga, which of sequels is the best?” I asked them. On this particular night I was in a very “3” mood and was basically in agreement with Frank if it weren’t for the fact that the venerable William Zabka did not appear in it. Other times, such as right after I saw Karate Kid Part 2 in the summer of 1986, (at the now defunct and dilapidated Amboy Multiplex Cinema in Sayreville) I was riding it’s excitement and naturally a huge proponent of The Karate Kid Part 2. But as Batman said in another less lauded film sequel, Batman Returns, “…Things change.”
As we continued to mull over the high and lows of the saga, we examined each film’s minute details which were otherwise ignored, traded barbs, and also inadvertently made jokes to the point where I couldn’t breathe because I was laughing so hard. That’s when something happened that halted The All Valley Giggle Fest 2011.
At that very second, a loud bell broke the laughter. It was my iPhone notifying me of a new text message. I leaned over to the coffee table and I was momentarily stunned after I read it’s eerily timed message. I showed my friends, and as we stood there dumbfounded with our mouths hanging open, we all simultaneously turned into “Ted” Theodore Logan and gave a collective “WHOA!”
It’s not unlike Sexy Armpit writer Nick “N.J” Holden to text me famous movie quotes at random times, but this one made me feel like he should be Pete Venkman’s next guest on World of The Psychic! I wasn’t sure if it was just a one off movie line or whoever was possessing Nick wanted to continue going back and forth. For a few seconds I felt that if we came back with the wrong line some death machine like in a SAW movie would come out and torture us. Nah, it was just Nick…or was it? Is his cell phone equipped with GPS and ESP? We continued sending back the follow up lines as if we were defending our honor in a karate tournament.