With “The Karate Kid” remake hitting theaters Friday, we’re getting a big kick out of the latest work from the original film’s star, Ralph Macchio.
The actor, still baby-faced at 48, posted a comedy comeback video of sorts on Funny or Die to coincide with the new flick’s opening – showing he’s got a great sense of humor about his place in pop culture history.
The short is a mock movie trailer for a documentary whose premise is that Macchio needs to shed his nice-guy image and become a bad boy to regain Hollywood stardom. His loved ones stage an intervention, telling him he needs to go rogue. “How’s he going to have a career? He’s not an alcoholic, he doesn’t do prostitutes,” his manager gripes.
There’s a clever “Karate Kid”-like training sequence showing Macchio’s pathetic attempts to transform into a headline-grabbing Hollywood degenerate (He makes a smiley face out of a pile of cocaine and pays a hooker for a hug – where’s Mr. Miyagi when you really need him?).
The point is reinforced in funny cameos by Kevin Connolly (“Nice guys finish last – it’s a cautionary tale”) and Molly Ringwald (“He tried to get into the Brat Pack, but he tried to change the name to ‘The Smile Bunch’”).
“I don’t want to be happy!” Macchio cries. “That’s all I ever am!”
The video is a reminder of the likeability projected by Macchio that helped make the original 1986 film an icon – giving young Jaden Smith, the scion of Hollywood royalty, a lot to live up to in the new version.
It’s also refreshing to see an actor who got his start in the 1980s secure in himself and still productive – especially when some other young stars of that era didn’t escape with their heads on straight. You need look no further to the recent sad ends this year for Corey Haim and Gary Coleman for genuine Hollywood cautionary tales.
But that’s getting a little heavy for a discussion of a light, fun video. Check it out below (warning: there are some NSFW moments) and you’ll find that the original Karate Kid is alright:
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Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NY City News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.