It’s fitting that the Little Dragon, Bruce Lee, has some presence in ‘The Karate Kid’. Ok, while not directly involved as Lee passed a full eleven years before the filming of The Karate Kid, there are two actors in the film that had a relation to him.
Chad McQueen, who plays Dutch, is the son of Steve McQueen who was a close friend of Lee. Pat E. Johnson, the film’s fight choreographer and stuntman, had a bit part in ‘Enter the Dragon’.
Pat Morita’s Vertical Challenges
Mr. Miyagi, while being lethal in his martial art abilities, did not cut an imposing figure. Standing at five feet and three inches, Pat Morita was notably shorter than the antagonists he had to stare down in the film.
The height differences were a challenge for the camera so the crew had Morita stand on a box in some of the face-to-face scenes to get the best shots.
A Bully Is a Friend You Haven’t Beaten Up Yet
Bullying is central to the entire motivation of the plot in 'The Karate Kid' so it may come as a surprise to realize that at no point in the film is the word “bully” used nor is the concept of “being bullied” discussed. After saving Daniel LaRusso from the Cobra Kai gang on Halloween, Mr. Miyagi oddly acknowledges the assailants as LaRusso’s friends.
Film buffs believe by not giving them the title of bully is part of the training to remove any power that they psychologically have over LaRusso.
Mr. Miyagi’s Sewing
A Halloween costume that we wish featured far more is the historic shower costume that Daniel LaRusso donned to his Halloween high school dance. LaRusso walks into the dance hall with a shower curtain wrapped around him. Ali, his love interest, asks him where he got the costume to which LaRusso replies that a friend made it for him.
Which friend? Pay close attention to the preceding scenes as strips of the shower curtain are seen behind Mr. Miyagi as he cuts jack-o-lanterns.
The Lost Name Boys
Maybe the answer to the disagreeableness and hostility of the Cobra Kai gang is that most of them appear to be nameless. Dutch’s first name is not revealed and he is only referred to by his surname. Tommy’s surname is never said.
And worst of all, the fifth member of Cobra Kai is not referred to by his name throughout the movie, and only in the credits do we see that his name is Jimmy! Johnny Lawrence and Bobby Brown are the only two Cobra Kai members whose full names are revealed.