That blog title isn’t new information. At least, I hope it’s not new information. The fact that The Karate Kid, Part III exists may not necessarily be common knowledge, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has witnessed this franchise.
Here’s the thing… They probably should have stopped at The Karate Kid, Part II. I mean, that sequel was great. In fact, it’s arguably better than the first one. Arguably. I’m sure valid discussion could be had regarding the greatness of either of those first two movies.
The third part of the trilogy? It’s forgettable. The attempt at continuing the franchise with Hillary Swank? It’s laughable. The attempt at a remake with Will Smith’s kid? It’s an abomination. It should have never been made.
Anyway, the original Karate Kid trilogy is now available to watch on the Hulu. So, I figured, why not? It was the 4th of July, I’d already witnessed fireworks earlier in the week, and I decided to spend the day at home. What’s more American than binge-watching a 1980s movie trilogy?
Maybe I should have binged Back to the Future.
I get the story with this movie. But it doesn’t work. Daniel and Miyagi return from Okinawa, where they lived out the events of the previous movie. We’re coming up on a year after the end of the first movie and Daniel has been invited back to defend his title in the All-Valley Karate Tournament.
Now, you typically want to up the ante as your movie series goes along. In the first movie, Daniel had to face the Cobra Kais and win the tournament (even though he definitely should have lost and people definitely shouldn’t even pull for Daniel because he was totally antagonizing the Cobra Kais throughout the whole freakin’ movie). In part two, Daniel found himself in a life or death battle in the end because… well… reasons. Look, I’ve never really understood why Chozen decided that Daniel dishonored him. I mean, he started bullying Daniel as soon as he got off the plane. So, in this one, it’s totally cool to root for Daniel. Though, he shouldn’t have won that fight, either.
In part three, Daniel comes back home and has to fight in the tournament again? That’s not exactly stepping up the game. That’s definitely stepping down the game from a life/death battle.
Also, this movie was made a full five years after The Karate Kid. Ralph Macchio was way older than high school age when he filmed that one. By the time you get to part three, you’ve gotta stop trying to pass off a 35-year-old as a teenager. And yet…
Let’s discuss the villain for this movie. Like I said, the story makes sense. If you’re coming back to LA and your locked into having Daniel defend his title from the last tournament, it’s only logical to bring back the Cobra Kai leader, John Kreese. It even makes sense to introduce Kreese’s wealthy friend, Terry Silver.
The problem with Silver, who they try to pass off as Lex Luthor with a ponytail, is that he’s kind of dumb. I mean, his plan for revenge on behalf of his friend is a pretty good one. He inserts himself into Daniel’s life and completely disrupts Miyagi and Daniel’s teacher/student relationship, causing them emotional pain. He hires “Karate’s Bad Boy” as a ringer in the tournament to cause Daniel physical pain.
No, where I think he’s dumb is, when he sends John off to Tahiti, that magical place, to recuperate and destress, he decides to buy 20 new locations for new karate dojos. Which means, in theory, when Kreese gets back and steps off his plane, he’ll be coming home as the director of a franchise of Cobra Kai dojos all over southern California. Dude, just because you bought a bunch of locations doesn’t mean that John Kreese is going to be the guy that everyone wants to go to for martial arts instruction.
At the beginning of the movie, Kreese is destitute. It’s clear that he’s lost all his students. Why would someone who was running a successful karate dojo lose all his students? Because after last year’s tournament, he attacked Johnny for coming in at second place. Put the kid in a headlock. I’d quit taking karate from the guy who might possibly snap and physically assault his students, too.
Look, it’s a weak movie. Yeah. The dialogue is cheesy and forced. The faux love interest created for Daniel really has no reason to exist. But it’s still better than The Next Karate Kid or anything starring Jaden Smith.