Two uplifting tales of the underdog rising up to defeat the undefeatable. Two scrawny, pasty … wait. One scrawny, pasty kid and one hunk of man-shaped steel fighting for honor, for pride … for the girl.
But if Rocky met The Karate Kid, what would happen?
(Other than Rocky mercilessly pounding Daniel-san’s ass, because I think that’s the obvious result.)
Let’s find out here, as we have another Fictional Character Battle! (Please read that in that one announcer-guy’s voice, and then laugh to yourself a bit, like I did.)
Physicality. Both these movies were set in what I like to think of as “The Era of Crappy Clothes,” also known as the ’70s and ’80s. Thus, neither Daniel-san nor Rocky can take this category for being a snappy dresser. Seriously, Daniel goes around with tee-shirts tucked into his sweat pants. It’s just sad. But as far as actual looks go? Er, look, I love Sylvester Stallone, but it’s not really ’cause he’s attractive. And Ralph Maccio? Sure, cute, whatever. Winner? Ugh, neither. They both fugly.
Trained by? Rocky was trained by Burgess Meredith, also known as televison’s The Penguin from the hilarious Batman series. Daniel-san was trained by “Pat” “Mr. Miyagi” Morita. Winner? “Pat” Morita was possibly the most awesome human being who ever lived. He was even on an episode of M*A*S*H! Thus, Daniel-san wins.
Seriously, how awesome is Pat Morita? He developed spinal tuberculosis at age 2 and learned how to walk again at age 11, after four of the vertebrae in his spine were fused. Winner? Pat Morita. (Wait, does this really count as a category?)
Most awesome training sequence? Hey, there’s no contest here. Mr. Miyagi trained Daniel-san and made him do house- and yardwork.
But see for yourself:
Winner? Pat Morita.
Gets the girl? They both get the girl. Girls love the underdog. It’s our thing. Underdog lovers, that’s what we are. Yup. Winner? A tie.
Theme song most annoyingly stuck in your head? Is anybody else humming “Gonna Fly Now?” You’re not? You must have an iron will. I salute — and envy — you. Winner? Rocky.
Actually won his battle in the final scene? Rocky put up a good fight and “went all the way,” or whatever, but in the end, it was a draw. Daniel-san, however, with his gimpy leg and good-luck bandana, beat the evil Johnny, whose final words in the seconds before the credits roll were: “Hey, LaRusso, you’re all right.” Yeah, you were just saying that ’cause they didn’t know at that point that there’d be a sequel. Winner? The Karate Kid.
Overall winner? Well, this is a first. The winner is a guy who wasn’t even technically competing: Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, aka Mr. Miyagi, the guy I wish would train me in the arts of karate.