The Karate Kid vs Coronavirus.

It must be happening any minute now, I reckon. I mean, we’ve had to wait quite a while as it is, so surely now’s as good a time as any? Frankly if it doesn’t happen soon then its all being a bit irresponsible. It’s like a divorced dad saying he’s going to pick his kids up at 3:00pm and then turning up at 5:30pm, or worse not at all. If you make these big promises you have to follow them through or people will have no respect for you. So come on, come and sort it all out, Jesus. We need you now more than ever before. We appreciate you must have been busy doing pilates or something during both world wars but since you didn’t really come out of the Spanish Inquisition too well perhaps this is the moment to make that big re-entrance we’ve been promised.

 

Perhaps it all works in ways more mysterious than the mysterious ones we’ve always been led to expect. Why did Wifey wake up super early this Easter Monday? Why did she decide to get up and do some work in the living room? And why, of all the things she could pick to watch in the background, did she decide to watch The Karate Kid? By the time I got up it was at the bit where Mr Miyagi gets proper sloshed and Daniel has to put him to bed. This is, in case you were in any doubt, the old Karate Kid. The proper one, not that load of shite with Will Smith’s irritating kid and Jackie Chan. This was the original and only Karate Kid; one of the best films of the 80’s and one of the best films of my childhood. This is a film so great that we even dropped Miyagi into the cat’s name. Perhaps this was the sign we’ve been looking for – that Jesus is ready to return but has chosen to do so in the guise of an uplifting kids sports film that must by now be at least 35 years old. And 35 is quite close to 33, and 33 was apparently how old Jesus was when he took one for the team at crucifixion corner, and I just can’t think of a more rational explanation.

 

We need to be scrappy at the moment. We need to be tough and to keep trying and to persevere until the fight is won, and what better film to inspire us all on a gusty, flustery Easter Monday. In the church they drone on about the light that cannot be extinguished but surely that’s no different to the flickering candle of hope that Daniel LaRusso keeps alive by means of catching flies with chopsticks, painting fences and waxing both on and off. And his hope is given to him by a kindly old man called Mr Miyagi, who can also offer hope through a strangely unexplained collection of old cars, kicking the crap out of kids and being a bit handy with a bonsai tree. Surely if Jesus were around today he would use the perpetual trimming of a bonsai tree as some kind of metaphor for growth. Or renewal. Or growth and renewal.

 

The Karate Kid is about seeing the job through and defeating a dark and insidious enemy. An enemy that can only thrive by exploiting weakness and one that runs as a cowardly pack and rules by fear. And those little shits at the Cobra Kai dojo now represent coronavirus and the only way the coronavirus is going down is by Jesus playing his ‘second coming’ card and returning as The Karate Kid, battling through everything that is thrown at him and finally finishing off the Cobra Kai coronavirus with a well place and utterly rousing one legged crane kick to the face. I had forgotten that The Karate Kid finishes so quickly – kick to the face, everyone gets excited and then we have a close up of Mr Miyagi giving us a cheeky little smile. And (of course you already knew this) Mr Miyagi is God, and God has looked over this earth and has seen what his son has done and has also seen that it was good and that rather than drag things out with unnecessary crap he just gives himself the last shot so everyone knows who’s boss and then he cuts to end credits.

 

The Karate Kid has been in my life for almost all of my life, and certainly it has filled up more of my time than God and has been of much more comfort. The Karate Kid 2 was a bit shit really but don’t let that put you off The Karate Kid 3, which is actually quite a dark little film and something of an unexpected triumph in my teeny, tiny and most humble opinion. Everybody needs a light and everybody needs a hand to hold once in a while and it says something quite profound (albeit chiefly about how much of a pussy I am) that by the end of The Karate Kid I always have goosebumps and am crying. It cheered me up this morning, in a time when being cheered up is in very short supply. It said to me, through film, that there is hope out there and that we must stay strong and have the courage of our convictions and if the coronavirus dresses up in skeleton suits and starts slapping the shit out of us then do not fear, because Mr Miyagi will come along and kick some serious butt and teach us the crane kick and everything will be alright. Something like that, anyway.

 

G B Hewitt. 13.04.2020

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