For some reason, The Karate Kid is being adapted into a Broadway musical. I have to ask again: whyyyyy????
The obvious answer is probably that Robert Mark Kamen, the original screenwriter, probably needs the money. The fact that it’s been 36 years since 1984, and it’s hard to imagine anyone living forever on the royalties of just one series; and with the recent successes of the Cobra Kai spin-off, it’s probably been no better time than the present to sell out the rights to go Broadway.
But still, my knee-jerk reaction to the news that one of the most iconic films of the 80s, is just now headed for Broadway, for a musical rendition. Sure, the story is simple and linear enough to turn into a musical, but it just seems like a hokey sellout to imagine particular scenes in the film being danced and theatrically performed instead of the gritty, Ralph Macchio-has-no-real-talent versus a legitimately-can-fight-William-Zabka, like on the beach, or at the finals of the All-Valley Under-18 Karate Tournament.
The eventual training montage, which are basically musicals in their own right, will be replaced by a more over-the-top dance rendition of whatever schlub they get to play Daniel, dancing around, occasionally flailing his legs in whatever they’re going to consider kicks, and I’m going to cringe at just the thought, because I highly doubt that there’s a chance that I’ll actually see it; I don’t have any objection to Broadway or theatre in general, but I do bristle at the idea of the properties of my childhood all one-by-one being exploited and re-imagined in wildly conflicting mediums.
But more importantly, don’t get me started on whatever inevitably-will-be-racist guy they get to play Mr. Miyagi. The true heart and soul of the entire series, whether it’s a Japanese guy that’s probably not old enough to portray the character, but is cast anyway because of his ability to dance and move, or whether they whitewash the role and give it to like fucking Henry Golding, it’s a no-win situation waiting to happen when they cast Mr. Miyagi, and it’s going to make me nauseated at the idea of some wildly inappropriate looking motherfucker playing what should be the late great Pat Morita.
Long story short, this doesn’t need to exist. But because nothing is allowed to stay in the past, or isn’t sold to the nostalgia bastardization machine, here we are. I question why this even needed to become a thing, but honestly, I can’t say that I’m the least bit surprised that it is, unfortunately.