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Do Over: The Karate Kid

Posted July 26, 2012 by Catherine in Ramp Specials
The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid – the 1984 classic loved by every child growing up during the eighties and nineties. It’s the story of an underdog who became a karate master over the space of a few weeks.

I loved it.

However, when I watched it a few years ago after a teenage hiatus it seemed a little… different. Through the eyes of an adult, I saw some minor holes in the plot. The illusion was shattered.

The film starts with Daniel Larusso – or Daniel-san -  moving from New Jersey to Los Angeles with his mother. Despite his reservations, things actually look promising as he immediately befriends a kid from his new school, gets invited to a beach party and attracts the attention of the school’s prettiest cheerleader, Ali.

However, things soon turn sour when Ali’s ex-boyfriend turns up – the super-evil, super-blonde, super-cheesy Johnny. Johnny is not happy that Ali’s showing interest in another guy and Johnny also happens to be a black belt, who serves Daniel’s ass up on a plate with little effort.

The following weeks in school are a nightmare as Daniel endures bullying at the hands of Johnny and The Cobras (Bobby, Tommy, Jimmy… and Dutch) and eventually the only friend he can make is the elderly Japenese caretaker who looks after his apartment complex.

Out of nowhere, Daniel apparently suffers an anuerism and attempts to serve up some revenge on Johnny at the Halloween Dance (while dressed as a shower), which obviously backfires and he  finds himself cornered by The Cobras.

He’s a dead man.

That is until Mr Miyagi appears and instead of actually fighting, each member of the gang just lines up politely and patiently until it’s their turn to be flipped by the tiny Japanese gentleman. It seemed much more impressive when I was eight.

Mr Miyagi takes Daniel to The Cobras’ dojo the next day to inform their sensei of the bullying only to find that John Kreese is a million times more obnoxious than his teen protégés. He’s a classic eighties villain who refers to Mr Miyagi as “old man” as often as he can and says things like “I want him out of commission” and “defeat does not exist in this dojo” just to highlight how badass he is.

Upon realising that The Cobras’ sensei is clinically insane, Mr Miyagi decides that the next logical step is to enter Daniel into the local karate tournament to fight against the members of The Cobra dojo. Yes, of course. Enter the kid who took one karate class that one time a few years ago into a tournament to compete against the black belts who have already flattened him many times.

Over the following few weeks, Mr Miyagi teaches Daniel everything he’ll need to know to win. Apparently ‘everything’ consists of a couple of blocking moves (wax on, wax off) and really you get the feeling that Mr Miyagi’s real reason for entering Daniel-san in the tournament was to get a couple of household chores done.

Oh wait, he also teaches Daniel a really fancy kick. Seriously.

As a kid, I thought the move was awesome and myself and my friends copied it all the time when were playing., but when I watched through the eyes of a twenty-something it was just a regular kick. A kick that started with you balancing on one leg with your arms in the air. How impractical is that!?

When the tournament finally arrives, we see lots of karate students round house kicking and back flipping, yet Daniel manages to make it to the final with a couple of kicks and an actual karate chop mainly. Probably due to the fact that each opponent just seems to run into his fist. However none of that matters because during that entire montage, one of the greatest movie theme tunes of all time is playing – You’re the Best by Joe Esposito.

Anyway, it turns out that – surprise, surprise – Johnny is Daniel’s final opponent and despite having bruised ribs and a broken leg (that Mr Mr Miyagi manages to heal temporarily with his mind and/or laser vision), Daniel manages to pull off the over-elaborate kick that wins him the trophy and Ali’s affections.

Completely ridiculous but still completely awesome.

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About the Author


Catherine often dreams about living in a tiny Parisian apartment and penning the next great novel of her generation until she remembers how impossible it is to get a decent cup of tea in France.

  • http://www.redlemonade.blogspot.com/ Kitty Catastrophe

    Deadly post! The original may be cheesy but MY GOD it’s miles better than the remake from a year or two ago. Jaden Smith is incredibly unlikable in it – he just comes off like an obnoxious brat, it’s set in China and they’re NOT EVEN DOING KARATE. It’s kung fu, what with them being in China and all. Then there’s all this “jacket on, jacket off” nonsense replacing “wax on, wax off”. AWFUL.

    I need to watch this again in order to tape over the new one in my head.

    • http://twitter.com/SerialBlogamist Catherine C

       I refuse to watch the new one – I was in a RAGE when they announced they were remaking it. Really genuinely angry. And yes, exactly, CHINA!!

  • http://twitter.com/jonathanbyrne jonathanbyrne

    One of my favorite movies, I own the trilogy.

    Also its worth noting you didn’t mention the greatest line in any film ever….

    • http://twitter.com/SerialBlogamist Catherine C

       Ah ha ha ha! I thought I was the only person who loved that line – no one else ever seems to notice it!

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