Is Daniel Actually the Villain in ‘The Karate Kid’?

By August 24, 2015
The Karate Kid Featured Image

There’s no right way to interpret a film. In fact, it’s become even more popular as of late to give new takes on classic films, and there aren’t any better movies to go back and look at with some more logical lenses – than the movies from the 80s. Let’s face it, the 1980s were a weird time for American cinema. It was a great time in the end and is personally, one of my favorite decades of American cinema. However, following the art house revolution that was the 1970s, the 1980s seemed to become some kind of strange combination of childhood hope being re-found, combined with a lot of violent, action movies.

It’s harder to find a better example of this than the original, Karate Kid. We’ve all seen it, and we’ve all rooted for the kid in the shower curtain to take down the skeletons. Why? Because Daniel is the protagonist after all! He needs to win…. or does he? It seems like nowadays, more and more reasons are coming out as evidence that Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is not actually the hero in The Karate Kid, that we thought he was.

A new video by J. Matthew Turner has explained in detail why the film’s actual hero is Johnny (William Zabka), and Daniel is actually just a violent sociopath we were all tricked into rooting for. Say goodbye to your childhood, and check out the video below:

Whether you agree with his points or not, it’s hard to deny that Johnny didn’t really seem to be doing all that wrong. I mean, he ended up being even more sportsmanlike than Daniel at the end, and it’s clear that while Johnny had his issues, he was working through them. The last thing he needed was some punk new kid trying to steal the girl he still loved, and picking fights.

… Why did I never see this before?

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Alex Welch

Alex Welch

Alex dreams of meeting a girl with a yellow umbrella, and spends too much time* staring at a movie screen. His vocabulary consists mostly of movie quotes and 80s song lyrics. *Debatable