For some reason, the world used to have a fetish for putting children into brutal martial arts competitions. Maybe it was some sort of cross promotion with Panda Express to sell more dry orange chicken. Who knows. But throughout the 80s and 90s, we couldn’t get enough of watching kids fight one another or kids utilizing ancient techniques to foil adults. Whatever, here is the list:
5) Sidekicks (1992)
This little winner of a film featured the likes of Chuck Norris, and followed a bullied little
wimp kid who dreamed of martial arts greatness. I’m surprised his name isn’t Charlie. But it is a cool movie by the guy who directed the Walker: Texas Ranger made for TV movie.
4) Three Ninjas (1992)
The title of this film cuts right to the core of the story. It has THREE ninjas in it. Get it? And they are kids. So that means they are instantly better than adults. This film launched into a full franchise which saw four total movies and ended with a 1998 film starring Hulk Hogan and luscious Loni Anderson.
3) Surf Ninjas (1993)
What if I told you that you can watch a movie that stars Rob Schneider, Tone Loc, and Leslie Nielsen. Comic gold! 1992 and 1993 were big years for martial arts movies aimed at children. But for me, Surf Ninjas was clearly the superior film of the bunch. The story was a little bit better, the actors were a little bit bigger, and the promotional tie-ins were a little bit more Game Geary.
You can’t have a kid’s karate movie list without the grandad film of Karate Kid. Some of the previous films had higher, more international stakes. But there is something undeniably similar to a story about a nerdy
Charlie kid learning karate to gain the upper hand over his bullies. Oh wait. Damn you Sidekicks.
1) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Is this a stretch at number one? No. It’s not. This is the reason you scream “hiya” when you chop something. This is the reason you trained with a bow staff in the backyard. This is the reason why your favorite color probably coincides with your favorite turtle. Between the toys, comics, cartoon, and video games, TMNT was an martial arts obsession shared by many. Also, a future episode for sure.