December 01, 2005

Farewell, Mr. Miyagi

Pat Morita's recent passing marks the end of an era--he was one of the first Asian actors to really break out of the stereotypes and carve out an (hate to say it, but it's true) honorable niche for themselves. No more Hop Sing characters, or Charlie Chan, or Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Morita played his roles with charm and character and respect, and it was great to see him doing so well.

When I put The Karate Kid on my list of Top Influential Martial Arts Movies of All Time, people wrote in to complain. WTF? they said.

But when you think about that era, when Ralph Macchio actually got gigs and before Elizabeth Shue became a Vegas hooker, The Karate Kid really got mainstream America to jump on the martial arts train. Martial arts weren't exotic, or just for Asians, or weird--they're a good, wholesome family pastime.

I think martial arts have taken a turn for the better with the relatively recent ascent of the reality fighting genre. Now that the UFC and it's ilk are mainstream, there's a return to the more martial aspects of martial arts, and that's what they're named for, right?

Posted by jameshom at December 1, 2005 04:08 PM | TrackBack
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