Itching for an exciting trip back to the golden age of mullets and fist-fighting? Read on!The three original Karate Kid movies came and went between 1984 and 1989, but have developed such a devoted following that not only are they widely held as timeless classics, but they’re often considered some of the best martial arts movies of the 1980s.Ok, that’s not the most powerful statement in the world, but keep in mind that the beloved 80s was the generous decade that furnished us with such ass-kicking pillars as Bloodsport, Kickboxer, the American Ninja movies (Go Team Dudikoff!), Best of the Best (classic!), No Retreat, No Surrender, and Rocky III and IV. Itching for a trip back to the golden age of mullets and fist-fighting? Read on!So now that I’ve embedded a list of classics in your mind for you to return to later, let me take you through a quick recap of the three existing Karate Kid movies before you go check out Will Smith’s son Jaden taking on the role this weekend.1. The Karate Kid (1984), PG, 126 mins (!).Ah, the one that started it all. Introduced us to Daniel Larusso and his mother as they move from New Jersey to California. Daniel gets into trouble almost immediately when he discovers how out of place an Italian from Jersey is in souther California. I’m betting there are a lot of people reading this who can feel his pain. But even if you can’t feel his pain about being stuck in socal, surely you’ll feel it when he tries to date the wrong girl and finds himself getting his ass kicked by a whole team of karate experts.And thus is introduced the awe-inspiring Mr. Miyagi, whose hilarious English, unique training style, and tendency to talk about himself in the third person has made him one of the most recognizable characters in the whole martial arts genre. When Daniel finally begins to grasp the connection between waxing fences, cleaning cars, and beating up whole gangs of bullies, he is entered into the All Valley Karate Championship and film history. Time to head to the video store!Classic dialogue:Daniel: “Wouldn’t a fly swatter be easier?”Miyagi: “Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything.”Daniel: “Ever catch one?”Miyagi: “Not yet.”Miyagi: (later, after Daniel catches one) “Beginner luck…”Daniel: “You’re the best friend I’ve ever had.”Miyagi: “You…pretty okay, too.”Karate Kid trivia: The producer gave Ralph Macchio the classic yellow car that he drives in the movie, and he has kept it to this day. Also, Elisabeth Shue interrupted her studies at Harvard to appear in the movie.2. The Karate Kid 2 (1986), PG, 113 mins.Okay, so we’re going downhill in the quality department, but by this point the characters are already so deeply loved that most of us are more than willing to put up with a healthy dose of mid-80s cheesiness for another Karate Kid movie. The second movie picks up right about where the first one left off, with Daniel fresh from the success of his first major karate championship but also suffering through the breakup with his hottie girlfriend (Elisabeth Shue), and the horrific news that his mother’s job is asking her to move to Fresno for the summer. Oh, the humanity!Anyway, Daniel and Mr. Miyagi take a trip to beautiful Okinawa to visit Miyagi’s dying father, and Miyagi discovers that there are still some lingering amorous feelings toward an old flame (complicated by another man wanting to fight him to the death over her). Daniel, meanwhile, makes good use of his time in Okinawa by meeting a new girl of his own, making new enemies, and inspiring The Fast and the Furious 3. Ouch!Classic dialogue:Daniel: “Don't those lies bother you? “Myagi: “Why should they?”Daniel: “Because people might not know they're lies.”Myagi: “Lies only become truth if other person chooses to believe them.”Daniel: “Is that another old Okinawan saying?”MIyagi: “No. New Okinawan saying.”Daniel: “How new?”Miyagi: “Let's see...”[pauses, pretending to think]Miyagi: “About ten seconds.”[after Daniel complains about having to spend the summer in Fresno]Daniel: “Hey, what are you building out there?”Miyagi: “Guest room.”Daniel: “Are you expecting company?”Miyagi: “Nah, refugee.”Daniel: “Refugee? Oh yeah, that's great. From where?”Miyagi: “Fresno.”Karate Kid II trivia: In a fight scene in this movie, Mr. Miyagi gets hit in the back with a spear. It’s the only time in the entire series when anyone successfully lands a hit on Mr. Miyagi. Also, work on The Karate Kid II began ten days after the release of the first film.3. The Karate Kid III (1989), PG, 112 mins.Well, there generally tends to be a black sheep in the family, and if there is one in the Karate Kid family, this is it. But on the plus side, since a lot of people have been badly disappointed that such a popular series was ended with such an unpopular entry, maybe it will give the 2010 entry more of a reason for being made.This time around, Kleese, the bad guy from the original movie, is struggling with a shattered life after Daniel’s and Miyagi’s victory over him and his karate students led to the downfall of his karate school. Enlisting the help of an old friend from Vietnam, who is now a ruthless businessman, Kleese sets out to exact his revenge on the two guys responsible for wrecking his life. There’s lots of betrayal and intrigue and even the emergence of a rift in the infrangible friendship between Daniel and Miyagi.Unfortunately, the second sequel was not very well received and featured far more than its fair share of cheesy performances and goofy characters, and was certainly a sad end to such a classic series. Here’s looking forward to the new one!Classic dialogue:Daniel: “You know, this is the 80s, Mr. Miyagi. You can't be so damn passive!”Karate Kid III trivia: Karate Kid III was one of the first movies released in widescreen on video, and needless to say, people flooded the video stores thinking their copy was missing part of the movie.4. Karate Kid (2010), PG.The new movie is a vehicle for Jaden Smith, but is also a reimagining of the original story. This time, it’s about a kid named Dre Parker whose mother’s (Taraji Hensen) job has brought them from Detroit to China, and thus begin the wild, swinging changes from the original story. A Japanese karate master is now a Chinese kung fu master, and it’s a black kid from Detroit studying from a Chinese master rather than an Italian kid from Jersey studying from a Japanese master. Should be interesting to see Dre getting involved with a cute Chinese girl and thus angering her jealous boyfriend. I have a spot of experience in that area myself…Karate Kid trivia: The newest Karate Kid movie comes out on June 11, 2010. Enjoy!