The Karate Kid Part III (1989) – Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita

7.5/10 — This movie has plenty of the same creativity that made the previous two a success. Pat Morita does an outstanding job as Mr Miyagi, and Ralph Macchio does a decent job as Daniel-san too. This time the movie is set back in the States, but new rivals emerge in the form of an old student (Terry Silver) of the nasty Cobra Kai sensei (John Kreese), plus a new recruit (Mike Barnes) hired specifically to beat Daniel in the tournament and beat him up in the process.

Thomas Ian Griffith almost steals the show – he does an outstanding job as Terry Silver who makes it his mission to deceive and torment Daniel-san and Mr Miyagi. Sean Kanan does a decent job as Mike Barnes who bullies Daniel-san throughout the movie (as he’s hired to do by Terry Silver), and Martin Kove does a decent job reprising his role as John Kreese too.

Other cast members include Daniel’s new girlfriend Jessica Andrews, the lady from the pottery store across the road (played by Robyn Lively, who does a fair job), and Snake, a student of Terry Silver who is tasked with organising & assisting the bullying (played by Jonathan Avildsen, who does an excellent job, he is very convincing, albeit in a relatively minor role).

Due to creativity maintained, as set by prior movies in this saga, and considering the introduction of great new cast members, plus a strong ending as per usual, this movie deserves a 7.5/10 in my view.

This movie did well to develop the characters the way it did; but if it had a bit less bonsai tree drama, a bit more interesting action, a bit more meaningful philosophy, and a stronger leader female, plus dare I say a stronger lead male playing Daniel-san, this could be a more exciting movie worthy of an 8 or higher. It’s got so many strong ingredients that other movies don’t have. It’s fun to watch the whole series of Karate Kid movies back to back every few years, and these days we have the luxury of topping that off with the new Cobra Kai show which has six seasons out already and is still going strong. I recommend you finish every season of this show before moving on to Jackie Chan’s 2010 remake of The Karate Kid which has none of the same actors and is all about Chinese kung fu really, not Japanese karate.

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The Karate Kid Part II (1986) – Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita

7/10 — Very similar style to the first movie, and with a decent new plot, except there’s no longer the initial build up of Mr Miyagi being discovered, and Daniel-san learning from scratch. Now there’s a little bit more training, with more creative methods, and new convincing rivalries in a new setting – Okinawa. Pat Morita does an excellent job as always, and Ralph Macchio does a decent job too. Supporting cast are fair enough, ranging from mediocre to pretty good. Minimal extended boring bits, although it is a bit slow at times, this is generally an entertaining movie with many exciting bits and a decent ending much like the first one.

The Karate Kid (1984) – Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita

7.5/10 — The Karate Kid is a classic martial arts movie – along with its sequels it was responsible for making karate and martial arts in general a lot more popular around the world – building on top of all the Bruce Lee led Kung Fu hype from the decade prior.

It probably deserves an 8/10 for first time viewing, but I give it 7.5/10 to account for rewatchings from an action hero movie fan’s perspective. Pat Morita does a fantastic job as the old man (Mr Miyagi) who teaches karate to the lead actor; and Ralph Machio does a decent job as the lead actor playing Daniel LaRusso (‘Daniel san’), a boy who’s not very strong and can’t fight well but has a determined attitude and a sensitive mind capable of learning fast, especially under the tutelage of a great teacher like Mr Miyagi. Martin Kove also does a pretty good job as the aggressive karate teacher (Sensei John Kreese) who instructs the bullies, and William Zabka does a fair job as the leader within their crew and the main antagonist in this movie (Johnny Lawrence) who has a history with Daniel’s newfound girlfriend.

Pat’s character was based on Chōjun Miyagi, who is credited as the founder of the Goju-ryu, one of the most popular styles of karate, as well as Fumio Demura, a more accessible modern karate man who Pat spent a lot of time with in order to nail the attitude of this character.

The script writer Robert Mark Kamen really went to town with the creativity involved in teaching Daniel-san how to block punches by having him wax cars, paint fences, etc. This makes for a great scene where a frustrated Daniel-san learns what skills he’s unwittingly acquired, as Mr Miyagi also raises his voice for the first and only time in this movie. There are some brilliant scenes & clips throughout the movie, but there’s also a bit of drama that makes it a bit boring if you rewatch it too often.

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