Elisabeth Shue: A Gal for All Seasons

This might sound really crazy. Hell, everything you read from this point out may sound ridiculous, but I don’t think that anyone watches the original Karate Kid with as much concentration or intensity as I do. It’s not because of the father/son relationship that builds throughout the film between Daniel and Mr Miyagi. Or the conflict between Daniel and the Cobra Kai.

It was because of Elisabeth Shue.

She was so innocent. Ali really loved Daniel and her intentions were pure. She was done with the asshole Johnny and wanted a decent guy. She was the first hot woman in a film that a fat schlub like myself could actually get. That would show me the time of day.

Ali Mills. I wore my copy of The Karate Kid out. Rewinding and fast forwarding back and forth to catch glimpses of her being the cheerleader or playing soccer. She didn’t give an Oscar worthy performance but she captured me and sucked me in.

When Karate Kid II came out and there was no Elisabeth Shue, I knew that something was wrong. When Daniel told him that Ali left him for a football player from UCLA I was dumbstruck. Not my Ali. She wouldn’t do that. Daniel had to have done something to her, and whoever he found over in Okinawa just would NOT be a suitible replacement. So I looked elsewhere.

From Adventures in Babysitting to her being the replacement Jennifer in Back to the Future II & III I followed her the best that I could. Then I found her. I found her with Nic Cage and in a way it broke my heart. Part of me was hurt that she wasn’t the innocent Ali Mills anymore, but mainly I was hurt that she was with Cage. I can’t put my finger on what, but something does not sit well with me about him and seeing my beloved with him hurt my ventricles.

But something happened. Something clicked.

She went from the innocent young Ali Mills in the Karate Kid from my youth, to the over sexualized “hooker with a heart of gold” Sera in Leaving Las Vegas that I was looking for when I was a young virgin of 15 years old. She didn’t question Ben, she was there for him and was there for him when he finally shuffled from this mortal coil.

I’ll never forget any of these things, and when I see Karate Kid on Netflix, I re-watch it with a fondness in my heart. I’ll always love Elisabeth Shue, a gal for all seasons.


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