The Karate Kid
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Time Out saysA surprise summer hit in the States, this is another film-making-by-numbers exercise in teenage wish-fulfilment. A Jewish divorcée moves to California from New Jersey, and her son, a male Carrie called Daniel, has terrible trouble fitting in with West Coast ways. His first incipient romance runs foul of the girl's ex, a blond thug who trains at the local karate dojo run by a deranged Vietnam veteran. Fortunately his E.T. comes along in the form of an elderly Okinawan karate master, who not only becomes his special, secret friend but also handily teaches him persistence, inner strength, moral values and karate - which lead him into an apotheosis worthy of Rocky. This is actually director Avildsen's first hit since Rocky, and it has the same mixture of calculation and apparent naïveté. It borrows its formula from both East and West with good humour, and is completely free of intelligence, discrimination and originality. No wonder it was a hit.