My Favorite Movies #42 – The Karate Kid Part II

Karate Kid II - Poster.jpgThe Karate Kid Part II

1986

Directed by John G. Avildsen

Quick synopsis… In this high-kicking sequel, karate champ Daniel LaRusso and his mentor, Mr. Miyagi, travel to Okinawa, where Miyagi visits his dying father and rekindles his feelings for a former flame — which leads to a confrontation with a longtime rival.

  • So… I always feel awkward as I’m working my way through this countdown and come across a sequel to a movie that ranks higher on my list.
  • That’s the case with the Karate Kid franchise.
  • I love the first two movies, but the original only slightly edges out the sequel.
  • If you haven’t seen either of these movies, I definitely suggest starting with the 1984 classic.
  • Because this one picks up immediately after The Karate Kid.
  • Basically, what you need to know is that Daniel was the new kid in town and he got on the bad side of a group of kids with some pretty nasty attitudes.
  • In an effort to stand up to his bullies, the elderly maintenance guy at Daniel’s apartment building, Mr. Miyagi, teaches him karate so that he can face off with the bad guys in the All-Valley Tournament.
  • The underdog wins and he lives happily ever after with Elisabeth Shue.
  • Or does he?
  • BTW, I’ll provide a much more detailed analysis in a couple months when we get to the first movie.
  • As I said, this one picks up immediately after Daniel wins the tournament with that famous crane kick.
  • Outside of the arena, Miyagi and Daniel see Sensei John Kreese of the Cobra Kai dojo beating the crap out of his students and nearly choking Johnny to death all because he got 2nd place.
  • Miyagi puts a stop to it, because that’s the kind of guy Miyagi is.
  • Walking away, Daniel says, “You could’ve killed him, couldn’t you?”
  • Miyagi agrees, because of course he could have, leading Daniel to ask, “Well, why didn’t you?”
  • Miyagi gives the wise response, “Because, Daniel-san, for person with no forgiveness in heart, living even worse punishment than death.”
  • I’m sure they must have edited out a line for time that also explained that killing a man in the parking lot outside of the All-Valley Karate Tournament would lead to, at best, a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
  • No one wants to go to jail when you’ve got Ali and Mrs. LaRusso waiting at the restaurant.
  • Flash forward to roughly the end of the school year and Ali has unceremoniously dumped Daniel off screen which, unfortunately, means we get no Elisabeth Shue in this movie.
  • Behind the scenes, this was apparently a point of contention for the actress. I don’t think the producers handled the situation very well.
  • I heard or read somewhere that Shue carried a lot of hurt from that experience for a long time.
  • After the off camera prom and off camera break-up and off camera discovery that his mom has to move them to Fresno for the summer because of her job, Daniel goes to Miyagi’s house, where Miyagi puts Daniel to work.
  • Because that’s what Miyagi does. When Daniel is having a problem in his life, he gives the kid work to do.
  • Turns out, he’s building an additional room onto the house. A room for Daniel so he doesn’t have to spend his summer in Fresno.
  • But then they’re interrupted by a letter carrier delivering news that Miyagi’s father in Okinawa is very sick.
  • That changes plans considerably.
  • Miyagi packs his things and apologizes to Daniel. Looks like he’s going to Fresno after all.
  • But what’s this? Daniel shows up at the airport? With a plane ticket?!
  • That’s right, he’s going with Miyagi to Okinawa.
  • Because it only makes sense for a recent high school graduate to take an open ended international trip with the kind elderly maintenance man.
  • But, hey, I guess if we’re all okay with Marty McFly having a disgraced nuclear physicist for a best friend, then this isn’t that much of a stretch.
  • The letter about Miyagi’s dad came from his old girlfriend.
  • The backstory, as Miyagi explained it, is that Miyagi and Yukie were in love, but Yukie was betrothed to Miyagi’s best friend, Sato.
  • Because of this love triangle, Sato felt dishonored and, therefore, challenged Miyagi to a fight to the death.
  • Would’ve been a good fight, seeing as how Miyagi’s father taught both boys everything they knew, including the crane technique which, “If do right, no can defense.”
  • But since Miyagi is basically a pacifist and refused to fight his best friend, he hopped a boat to the U.S.
  • And he never looked back.
  • Until now, that is.
  • Arriving in Okinawa, Daniel and Miyagi are picked up by a couple of guys who seem pretty friendly.
  • Turns out, though, they are Sato’s nephew, Chozen, and some kind of henchman.
  • And I’ve never understood why, but Chozen basically antagonizes Daniel from the start.
  • Daniel’s friendly, goes in for a handshake, and we see Chozen’s overly tensed up arm muscles, showing us he’s squeezing the crap out of Daniel’s hand.
  • Why? You just met this dude. Is it because he’s an American? Is it because he’s from New Jersey?
  • It’s not like he stole your girlfriend, poured water on your head at a Halloween dance, then enlisted an old man to beat you up. (For details, see The Karate Kid)
  • Anyway, Chozen takes our two heroes to see Sato, who demands that Miyagi come back to fight him as soon as he visits his father.
  • Miyagi’s like, “Yeah, I’ll get right on that…”
  • Mr. Miyagi and Daniel finally get to his home village, where they’re greeted by the much friendlier Kumiko, Daniel’s obvious new love interest.
  • She directs Miyagi to where Yukie is taking care of Miyagi’s father.
  • As soon as he slides that door open, it’s clear those old sparks never went away.
  • To his shock, Yukie confesses that she never married Sato.
  • The next day, when Miyagi is giving Daniel a tour of his village, Daniel is walking like he’s hurt… more like he’s trying to look like he’s not hurt.
  • I wonder if something happened during filming.
  • Sato arrives, demanding that Miyagi meet him at midnight, but Miyagi refuses.
  • So Sato’s ready to strike now.
  • But Yukie breaks it up with news that Miyagi’s father wants to see them both.
  • With his dying breath, his final act is to bring the two men’s hands together, trying to make peace between the old friends.
  • But when he dies, Miyagi and Sato let go.
  • Sato gives Miyagi three days to mourn his father, out of respect for his teacher, then he’s coming back to face him in Mortal Kombat!
  • In the meantime, Miyagi teaches Daniel an old/new karate lesson: the drum technique. “Best way to avoid punch, no be there.”
  • Looks a lot like it’s just a way to twist your torso in order to dodge an attack.
  • They practice this thing by dodging a huge swinging spike at the abandoned fish cannery.
  • What purpose do these flying spikes have in a fish canning factory?!
  • Back in the village, Daniel exposes Chozen and his cronies as they cheat villagers out of fair prices at the marketplace.
  • Chozen claims that, in doing this, Daniel has dishonored him.
  • Okay, at this point, I understand Chozen wanting to take down Daniel… but he still really only has himself to blame.
  • He’s a crook and he got exposed. Can’t blame Daniel for his bad choices.
  • While Daniel is spending the day with Kumiko, he decides to go into a bar where a bunch of guys are seeing who’s the manliest by breaking sheets of ice.
  • Kumiko warns Daniel that this is a bad place, but this is the guy who likes to throw caution to the wind.
  • Like that time after the Cobra Kai guys had basically forgotten he existed and he reminded them he was still around by dousing Johnny with water at the Halloween dance.
  • Daniel’s not the brightest… you know?
  • Anyway, this leads to Chozen intimidating Daniel into attempting to break six pieces of ice.
  • Miyagi shows up and, since he believes in Daniel, bets $600 that Daniel can break all six pieces.
  • Since Chozen has given 3 to 1 odds, when Daniel succeeds, Sato has to cover what Chozen owes to Miyagi.
  • Bet that stings… having to pay the guy you want to kill $1,800.
  • It is interesting though, to see the look on Sato’s face as he watches Daniel preparing to break the ice… watching him breathe and regain focus…
  • As if he knows this kid is about to break all six pieces…
  • When Sato decides Miyagi’s three days of mourning are over, Miyagi goes to Sato’s home in an attempt to have a conversation.
  • Sato is so blinded by his anger and hatred that Miyagi can’t get through to him.
  • For a moment, it looks like he may, as Miyagi simply asks, “What has happened to you?”
  • The look on Sato’s face is a little like what I imagine Darth Vader’s expression may have been under his mask when he tells Luke, “It is too late for me, son.”
  • Sato comes for Miyagi in the middle of the night, but only Daniel is at home.
  • Chozen and the boys begin beating Daniel up, but Miyagi arrives and saves him, then declares that they’ll head back home the next day.
  • But then the next day arrives and Sato threatens to sell the village to developers who will level everything in sight if Miyagi doesn’t agree to fight him.
  • Miyagi agrees under the condition that, no matter who wins, the deed to the village will be returned to the village.
  • Before they get a chance to face each other in Mortal Kombat, a typhoon hits Okinawa.
  • Sato becomes trapped under a beam when a building collapses around him.
  • Miyagi and Daniel go to help him, but Sato just thinks Miyagi is there to end him while he is pinned down and helpless.
  • FINISH HIM!
  • Just kidding… Miyagi manages to break the beam, freeing Sato and helping him get to shelter.
  • Sato’s heart grew three sizes that night.
  • But Chozen’s heart remained a shriveled up little prune, leading to Sato basically disowning him.
  • I think that’s basically what goes down.
  • Whatever happens, Chozen runs out into the storm, never to be heard from again.
  • Well… that is… until he shows up at the dance being held at the castle ruins.
  • He wants to fight Daniel to the death and threatens to kill Kumiko if he doesn’t face him.
  • Miyagi warns Daniel, “This no tournament. This for real.”
  • Daniel relies on the crane, which is the obvious move.
  • I mean, if that kick had secured my win at the All Valley Tournament, that would definitely be my first move from now on.
  • But Chozen just shrugs it off as if he’s been blocking the crane since he was three.
  • So much for Miyagi’s “no can defense” theory.
  • I’ve argued in the past that there’s no way Daniel should win this fight.
  • Chozen is punching through stone… so he should be able to easily kill Daniel.
  • But because the entire village begins playing their little handheld drums, Daniel’s energy bar is refilled.
  • He uses the drum technique to dodge all of Chozen’s remaining attacks while throwing in a counter punch.
  • FINISH HIM!
  • Except Daniel just honks his nose in the same way that Miyagi honked Kreese’s nose back in the arena parking lot.
  • Because no one wants to go to jail for manslaughter when Kumiko is lying semi-conscious on the floor, probably suffering from a concussion.

Unfortunately, this was the last great movie in the Karate Kid franchise. Part III wasn’t great. The only good thing about The Next Karate Kid might be that it introduced a lot of us to Hilary Swank. And let’s not even discuss the “remake” with Will Smith’s kid. Although, at least he was actually a kid. Wasn’t Ralph Macchio in his 30s by the time they made this movie? I’ll say this, though… If you want a good follow up to The Karate Kid, check out Cobra Kai on YouTube. Two seasons are available to watch and they are well worth it.

2 thoughts on “My Favorite Movies #42 – The Karate Kid Part II

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Movies #34 – The Karate Kid | The Confusing Middle

  2. Pingback: My Top 100 Movies | The Confusing Middle

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