YMMVs for the original film series:
- Alternative Character Interpretation:
- Mr. Miyagi is the real main character of the film series. Community even theorized that the film was more about Mr. Miyagi than about Daniel.
- Daniel is a violent jerk who starts the conflict with Johnny and Johnny is defending himself. Discussed in a YouTube video essay.
- Awesome Music:
- "You're the best, around, nothing's ever gonna keep you down!"
- Bill Conti's score deserves mention also. Including the main theme derived from Survivor's "Moment of Truth." Survivor had the freakin' market cornered on rousing 80's anthems.
- Not to mention "Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera.
- And "Rock 'n Roll Over You" by The Moody Blues, played during the ice-chopping scene.
- Draco in Leather Pants: Johnny Lawrence is perhaps the only antagonist in the franchise to get this treatment.
- Fanon Discontinuity: Fans of the second film could just view it as the Grand Finale of the Karate Kid franchise while ignoring the rest that follows completely.
- First Installment Wins: While the second film received its fair share of positive notices, the first entry in the series is the one that everyone remembers. The first film's impact was so large that Pat Morita earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.
- Ham and Cheese: Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver. He's one physical deformity away from being a Captain Planet villain. Or a Bond Villain.
- It's the Same, Now It Sucks: The general complaints concerning the third movie, especially after the well received second movie.
- Memetic Mutation: Many things, most famously the Crane Kick in the sunset image. But some of the dialogue has achieved that point as well.
"Get him a body-bag! Ye-heah!"
"Sweep the leg."
"Johnny, you're a cream puff!"
"Strike first. Strike hard. No Mercy!"
"Mercy is for the weak!"
And of course, "Wax On, Wax Off."
- Moral Event Horizon:
- Chozen crosses this by refusing to help Daniel save a child's life during a storm. Just in case nobody got it, in the finale he holds a knife to Kumiko's throat and punches her lights out.
- John Kreese came off pretty unsympathetic when he nearly choked his own student to death over losing a karate tournament.
- Narm Charm:
- Glory of Love would've been a super ultra narmy and cheesy love song that Tastes Like Diabetes... if it wasn't performed by a pro like Peter Cetera, who makes it really charming.
- Roger Ebert found Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver's over the top performance the best and most redeeming quality of the third movie.
- Neutral Good: Mr. Miyagi is the utterly perfect Cool Old Guy example. He is an incredibly skilled martial artist, and a kind teacher, but he wouldn't harm a fly (figuratively speaking) other than in the sake of defense of himself or another.
- Rooting for the Empire: Searching on YouTube you'd be surprised to find fan edits that have Johnny Lawrence winning the Karate Tournament instead of Daniel.
- Sequelitis/Tough Act to Follow: The third movie, common complaints involving that Ralph started to show his age, and the fact that it was a rehash of the first movie.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Freddy would've been a great sidekick to Daniel.
- Think of how interesting the story structure could have been in the third movie had Kumiko became Daniel's recurring girlfriend in that movie. Instead of just throwing another random love interest into the mix.