As part of this year's September Shorts I've asked writer friends to contribute posts inspired by the title One Cool Thing. They'll be telling you about one cool thing they're looking forward to as Autumn approaches. It might be a book or movie, a tabletop or computer game, an event or visit to a special place, a chance to achieve something... or perhaps even an exciting new project.
Today is the turn of Dan Smith, writer of top-draw survival adventures to thrill and spook; Boy X, Below Zero, She Wolf and (out this month!) The Invasion of Crooked Oak. You can find out more about Dan here.
Dan Smith: Kobra Kai
Wax on. Wax off. Breathe in. Breathe out. When I was a young teenager, back in 1984, those words were loaded with excitement and meaning. They meant kicking the bad guy’s ass, winning the competition, and getting the girl … even if you were the skinny kid.
Last weekend the in-laws came over and we had wood-fired pizza, red-hot from the oven. Afterwards we put on Netflix and the first thing I saw was a splash screen for Kobra Kai – a spin-off series from original Karate Kid film. And there was Ralph Macchio as grown-up Daniel LaRusso. Thirty-Six years later. I said to my son that we should check it out, but although he’d seen the original film, he couldn’t remember it so we decided to refresh our memories. A quick search and there it was on Netflix. The Karate Kid (1984 original, of course).
I was pretty sure my in-laws would fall asleep, but we loaded up the film and settled down. Two hours later, the in-laws were still wide awake, and my mother in-law was so invested that she sat up with a ‘Yes!’ and clapped when Daniel-San executed that perfect crane kick. That is the power of The Karate Kid. It keeps mothers-in-law awake.
We always knew Daniel would beat the bully, of course, but that’s not where the story lies. The story is in the relationship between skinny Daniel LaRusso and the wise, warm-hearted Mr Miyagi. It’s about courage, friendship, perseverance, honour, and respect. It’s a film that makes you feel good. Yeah, there’s a bit of 80’s cheese, but it doesn’t detract from a great script and great characters. There’s a reason we’re still watching it thirty-six years later - The Karate Kid is a stone-cold classic.
So Kobra Kai is next on the list. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Oh, and here’s an interesting thing. The Karate Kid was released in the summer of 1984. That same summer saw the release of Gremlins, Ghostbusters, AND Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The 80’s were lame in lots of ways but, man, they made some excellent adventures.
Wax on. Wax off. Breathe in. Breathe out.