Movie Talk

Wanna feel old? Ralph Macchio is now the same age that Pat Morita was in the first ‘Karate Kid’

Movie Talk

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Ralph Macchio; Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi in 'The Karate Kid' (Photo: Getty Images/Everett Collection)

We don't mean to cause an existential crisis for any children of the '80s out there, but we felt it was worth noting that Daniel is now as old as Mr. Miyagi was upon the release of "The Karate Kid" (1984).

Yeah, a tweet made today by Roadside Attractions pointed out that Ralph Macchio is 51 ... and so was Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita, once upon a time, even though his infinite wit and wisdom made him seem like he was at least a thousand years old.

"The Karate Kid" followed the adventures of Daniel Larusso (Macchio), the new kid in town whose brutal bullying at the hands (and feet) of tough guy Johnny Kreese (Martin Kove) puts him on the path to be trained in martial arts by the local handyman, Mr. Miyagi (Morita). Macchio was 23 at the time of the film's release, though he certainly passed just fine for a teenager (as did most young actors in '80s movies -- now, if you want a 17-year-old, you just hire a 17-year old).

However, Macchio started inspiring comments like "a 'kid,' eh?" when "The Karate Kid Part II" came out just two years later in 1986, and when "The Karate Kid Part III" was released in 1989, it was time for the pushing-30 "kid" to finally leave his combative childhood behind him.

Morita played the role of Mr. Miyagi one more time in "The Next Karate Kid" (1994), which featured a young Hilary Swank (actually almost 20 at the time) as his new student, Julie Pierce. It was an impressive film in that it was even worse than "The Karate Kid Part III."

"The Karate Kid" was rebooted in 2010 with Jaden Smith (age 11) and Jackie Chan (age 55), though now that Macchio could pass for a sage instructor himself, we think it's time for another sequel to the original series. If the Sony suits didn't want to call it "The Karate Kid Part V" (though why would they?), they could go with something with more gravitas, like "Daniel-san" or even just "Daniel Larusso" (hey, it worked for "Rocky Balboa"). They'd also have to find a way to bring back Elisabeth Shue as Daniel's first squeeze, Ali Mills -- just because it would be awesome. Heck, have Hilary Swank be in it, too -- even Oscar-winning actresses like revisiting the embarrassing "highlights" of their early careers every now and then.

One thing that's essential -- the new Karate Kid (who would, like in the reboot, be played by an actual kid) would have to call his teacher "Mr. Larusso," as an ode to Mr. Miyagi. And catch flies with chopsticks.

Anyway, as the student has now indeed eclipsed the teacher, we'd like to think that Pat Morita -- who died in November 2005 at the age of 73 -- is somewhere out there taking pride in the early days of "Wax On, Wax Off."

See Ralph Macchio in a DVD bonus clip from 'The Karate Kid':

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