Should Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) have been disqualified from the All-Valley Under-18 Karate Championship of 1984 for that crane kick to the face of Johnny Lawrence (Billy Zabka)? Fans of the ’80s classic “The Karate Kid” have been debating that ending for more than 30 years.
So, ahead of the premiere of YouTube Red’s revival series “Cobra Kai,” TheWrap asked Macchio to say once and for all whether he thinks the competition-winning move taught by none other than Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) was illegal.
And yes, Macchio said, “No hits to the face was clearly something when the referee made the list of things what not to do.”
But, he added with a laugh, “If that didn’t happen, I don’t know if we’d be talking about that movie 34 years later.”
Also Read: ‘Karate Kid’ Rivals Are Back in Trailer for New YouTube Red Series ‘Cobra Kai’ (Video)
The actor, now 56, applauded the filmmakers for doing “what was right” to solidify the sports drama’s legacy in pop culture history.
“My theory on all of it — and I’ve seen the little documentary footage of the ‘Justice for Johnny’ and the concept that Daniel was the real bully and came to town and sucker-punched him and stole his girlfriend — I’m not so sure that case would hold water,” Macchio said. “It seems a little shady in some parts. But I love the fact that we made this movie in 1983, it came out in ’84, and in 2018 people are still debating it. I think that makes it topical, relevant, a piece of Americana. ‘Wax on, wax off’ is probably in the dictionary by now. It’s sort of wonderful to have all of that and people still battle that out.”
Setting aside the crane kick debate itself, the new question is, will Daniel and Johnny address the controversy themselves when the revival series “Cobra Kai” drops on YouTube Red on May 2?
Also Read: ‘Karate Kid’ Stars Ralph Macchio, Willam Zabka Reunite in ‘Cobra Kai’ Sequel Series Teaser (Video)
“There’s a reference in the first episodes… there’s a scene where [Johnny] says, ‘That illegal kick?’ And I say, ‘What about that elbow to my knee?’ Which was equally illegal!” Macchio emphasised. “You’re not allowed to grab someone’s leg and jam your elbow into their wounded knee.”
See the crane kick in the clip above and if you want the most over-thought breakdown about the move ever, here it is.
All 10 episodes of “Cobra Kai” premiere May 2 on YouTube Red.
Related stories from TheWrap:
‘Karate Kid’ Rivals Are Back in Trailer for New YouTube Red Series ‘Cobra Kai’ (Video)
‘Karate Kid’ Stars Ralph Macchio, Willam Zabka Reunite in ‘Cobra Kai’ Sequel Series Teaser (Video)
‘Karate Kid’ Gets a Sequel With Original Stars – On YouTube Red
‘Karate Kid’ Star Ralph Macchio Remembers Producer Jerry Weintraub: ‘You Were 1 of a Kind’