29 July 2007

Wanted: Karate Students

Saw "The Karate Kid" on Sony PIX a week or two back. If, by now, you still haven't yet figured out or seen the movie, it's about this bullied kid, Daniel, who learns Karate from his japanese neighbour Miyagi, and, in the end, kicks the bullies' asses. In the process, he also gets a girl, Ali [a very gorgeous Elisabeth Shue], who also happens to be the head baddie's ex-girlfriend [I wonder why all these bad guys in movies always have to lose their girls to the heroes... poor bastards]. Throw in a couple of 'bonding' scenes of Miyagi and Daniel, a 'date' scene or two with Ali, a feud with a karate school where the baddies learn karate, a Karate Championship ending (I'm sure you know who wins the tournament), and you have the movie.

One constantly gnawing thing about the movie... I wouldn't say irritating, but it was this constantly 'gnawing' thing, if you get what I mean... it's like you don't mind it, but it sticks out like a sore thumb, making you notice it everytime... was Miyagi's accent. I mean, any Japanese guy who's been in the US for a while kinda gets to speak normal english, you know, proper sentence structure and all. But Miyagi, despite living in the US for years, speaks the same goddam Japanese-English spoken by every goddam Japanese character in all of goddam movie history, doing stuff like referring to himself in the third person, and saying stuff like "Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later *squish sound* get squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do "yes" or karate do "no." You karate do "guess so", *same squish sound* just like grape. Understand?" Also, in a scene, it's Daniel's birthday, and Miyagi sings "Happy Baaarrrrrsssssday to you". Baaarrrrrsssssday!! What the hell is a 'Baaarrrrrsssssday'??!!

One really bad thing about the movie was that since Miyagi has his origins in the East, the frickin' script-writer decided to throw in all this eastern philosophy shit at every goddamn opportunity. And when I say every goddam opportunity, I mean EVERY GODDAM OPPORTUNITY. I had to feel sorry for this Daniel character, who, apart from us, got a lion's share of Miyagi's strange-utterings-in-the-guise-of-philosophy. For example, there's this scene where the poor bastard, when taking something out of his wallet, drops, by mistake, a polaroid photo of him and his girl. Miyagi, who pounces upon every goddam opportunity to sound wise, likewise pounces upon the photo and says "Miyagi no know you have sweetheart. You both different. Different but same." Different but same. I admit that wasn't anything philosophical, but it sounded philosophical, if you know what I mean. Different but same. That killed me.

Another major letdown was that in one scene, Miyagi is trying to catch a fly with his chopsticks [Guru say Karate/Kung-Fu movie incomplete if guy no catch fly with chopsticks] and when Daniel asks him what he was doing, he says the following Confucious-like saying:"Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything". Till then, I was drooping in my chair like that sunflower in ET, and when Miyagi said this Confucious-like saying, it was like ET touching sunflower and bringing it back to life. I sat up, excited and expecting more quotes like that, perhaps stuff like "Cow with no legs, ground beef" or "Man who drop watch in toilet have shitty time", but in the end, I had to make-do with that one Confucious saying, which wasn't even funny in the first place.

But all was not bad, for we learnt much while watching the training sequences. After Daniel nags Miyagi for a while, asking him to take him as a disciple, Miyagi extracts a promise from Daniel ["We make sacred pact. I promise teach karate to you, you promise learn. I say, you do, no questions."]. Poor unsuspecting Daniel agrees, and Miyagi, cruel bastard that he is, then proceeds to make Daniel wash and wax his car ["Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don't forget to breathe, very important."], sand his decks, paint his fence, and finally paint his house, all in the guise of teaching him karate.

When I said we learnt much, it was because after watching the movie, we decided that, considering the kind of money we have to shell out for a domestic help these days, this was the best and most cost-effective way to get someone to sweep and mop the floors of our apartment, wash the bike, do the dishes, wash the loos, cook food, get alcohol from shop, etc. Of course, we have to teach him karate one day or the other, but I'm sure that the three of us room-mates can come up with some karate based on what we've seen in other movies. In the worst case, I'm sure my '36 Chambers of Shaolin' DVD would help to a great extent.

After this, the only thing left would be to enroll this guy in some tournament and make him win it. This too, I think, could be arranged. Let me now go try convincing room-mate to act as opponent and get ass kicked. I think a bottle or two of beer should do the trick...

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