Making the Grades
Sidekicks is a movie you have seen before. It might have been called Karate Kid, or one of many other movies based on this plot: Barry Gabrewski (Jonathan Brandis) is an asthma enveloped teenager whose only life is within the daydreams that posses his time during school. His dreams involve his hero, Chuck Norris, and himself as they karate chop and shoot their way through one situation after the next, always to save the helpless lady, who is Barry's English teacher in disguise. Of course, Barry is picked on the school bully, who also knows karate. Of course, the two must come to blows. Of course, there is a major karate match at the end of the film.
Although this film wants to show how the picked on wimp of the school can gain confidence and become someone, it misses the point, as karate is used to impress, rather than to defend. In many of Barry's dreams, there is no karate involved, he simply overcomes the enemy by using a huge automatic gun.
One girl in the school sticks up for Barry. When he asks her out for a date, she declines, offering the usual, "I just want to be your friend," line. But a few days later, Barry tries to take on the bully after initiating a confrontation with him. Afterwards, the same girl now thinks Barry is OK. It is a typecast female personality that is seen too often in the movies. One could only hope that real teenage girls have more brains than to admire a guy who asks to have his brains beat in.
Finally, Chuck Norris walks through the film acting the part of Mr. Humble. At the big match, he agrees to be Barry's partner, so he can fight the tough karate coach and, "teach him a lesson in humility." Come on Chuck, you are the executive producer of this multi-million dollar epic with Aaron Norris directing. The one thing this film does well is to put humble Chuck back on the screen for the younger crowd.