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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Spoiler Alert This film is about a 35 year old karate boy and his wise
old martial arts instructor. Ralph Macchio plays the title role, and
seems to have gained about 45 pounds since the second film. Daniel
LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi come back from Okinawa (the story of Part II)
and continue to dress and think like it's 1984, even though the rest of
the world knows it's 1989. The brutal karate teacher from the earlier
films, John Kreese, has been run out of business thanks to the bad PR
that resulted in his defeat at the hands of Daniel and Mr. Miyagi.
Kreese closes down his Cobra Kai dojo. This film is from 1989, and the
45 year old Kreese decides to call the karate deal quits, but his
billionaire 25 year old Vietnam war buddy talks him out of it. Kreese's
25 year old war buddy from the 60s is named Terry Silver, and he has a
pony tail just like Steven Segal. Terry Silver also knows karate, just
like Steven Segal. Terry Silver is also a pompous, full of himself
a-hole, just like Steven Segal. Terry Silver is also younger then The
Karate Man, Daniel LaRusso. Terry Silver helps Kreese get revenge on
Daniel and Mr. Miyagi, using some outdated racist lingo like "slope" in
reference to Miyagi. Hmmm, maybe Terry Silver was around for the 60s?
Steven Segal, errr, I mean Terry Silver sets up a new Cobra Kai dojo and enlists the aid of a bad boy karate teenage punk named Mike Barnes. Mike Barnes is a teenager with a ruthless style of fighting, and he is determined to defeat the Karate Man. Terry Silver promises Mike Barnes a hefty sum of money if he is able to beat the Karate Man in the karate tournament. Terry Silver lures the Karate Man to the dark side of the force, against Miyagi's noble Jedi ways. The Karate Man trains under Silver and starts to become evil like Mike Barnes. In a subplot, Mr. Miyagi and Daniel open up a Bonsai tree store, and they are repeatedly attacked by Mike Barnes, who wants the Karate Man to defend his championship. Daniel briefly gets a high school aged girlfriend, but then she dumps him when she finds out he is 35 and she never shows up for the second half of the movie. But after the Karate Man beats up an 18 year old kid at a dance club, he runs home to Mr. Miyagi feeling bad for what he has done. Daniel repents and Miyagi forgives him, Daniel then goes back to the Cobra Kai dojo to tell Terry Silver that he can no longer train under him. Terry Silver says, "you owe me more then that Danny boy". Mike Barnes and John Kreese show up and start beating up on the Karate Man, the Karate Man makes a run for the door after a few beatings. Mike Barnes is hot in pursuit of him outside. But then out of nowhere, as usual, comes Mr. Miyagi to save the day. Miyagi throws Mike Barnes back into the Cobra Kai dojo and knocks out the teenager after another punch. Miyagi then takes on Terry Silver and John Kreese after they make a few more bigoted comments against Asians. Miyagi easily defeats the both of them, and finally agrees to retrain the Karate Man. Terry Silver tells Miyagi that Cobra Kai dojos will open up everywhere and he won't even be a memory. Daniel yells back, "Yes he will! You won't!"
Mr. Miyagi then tells Daniel "come, now we do kata!", and they do the kata on the beach, on the top of a mountain, and in Miyagi's backyard. After a few days of this kata training with Mr. Miyagi, the Karate Man enters the All-Valley Under 18 karate tournament for boys. The Karate Man does not have to fight the other young boys this time around, as their is a new rule saying he only needs to fight once, lucky for him. The punk teenager Mike Barnes makes it to the championship round and starts to once again beat up on the Karate Man. The Karate Man is out of his league with Mike Barnes, despite defeating Johnny Lawrence in the first film, and defeating Chosen in a fight to the death in the second movie. The Karate Man seems to have forgotten everything he learned. After getting severely beat up by the teenager Mike Barnes, the Karate Man tells Miyagi to throw in the towel. Mr. Miyagi comes to the Karate Man and tells him not to give up but to use the secret kata that he taught him. The man-boy gets up off the mat and proceeds to do the super secret Miyagi kata from Okinawa. Mike Barnes is stunned when he sees the kata, and actually waits for the Karate Man to finish his entire form before he attacks. When Mike Barnes finally lunges, the Karate Man in a single move flips him over and punches him to get the winning point. Mr. Miyagi and the 35 year old boy celebrate with a hug. THE END.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What is Daniel Larusso's problem? Why after three torturous films is he no
more a man than when he first moved to L.A? I just don't get it!! In the
first installment he had an excuse to be a sissy; he was being bullied by
the bad boys of his new school and he didn't know how to defend himself. I
accept that! In the second one, he was in a foreign land and was being
bullied by some oriental bad-boy. He gets his butt kicked throughout until
the last scene when in the face of near death, he looks into Miyagi's eyes
and gets the inspiration to overcome fear and win the day and the girl. I
don't buy it but I can bear it!! In the third installment, he projects so
much obnoxiousness and pathetic emotion that you hope that his clearly,
superior opponents will kick his ass once and for all. No such luck!!
In this film Daniel is forced to defend his title which requires him to fight only the final match.(Easy enough no?) His opponent is some blonde punk who is being trained by Kreese (the disgraced teacher in the first film whose nose Miyagi twists to render him unconscious)and backed by the finances of Terry Silver, a smooth Karate kicking business man. Silver, played with nice slick touches by Thomas Ian Griffith is watchable as he disrupts Daniel's level of discipline and successfully convinces Daniel that he wants to help him defend his title after Miyagi refuses. Daniel, idiot that he is, can't see the charade and accepts his help. Griffith projects some air of smoothness but doesn't quite convince he's really all that cool. Still some Karate student that I know, Amir Hashim-Zada seems to think he epitomizes 21st Century Maleness. To each his own, I guess! The three of them have a business deal going that requires Daniel to fight the final and get beaten in order for their new Dojo's to be opened. Miyagi refuses to train Daniel because he feels Daniel's reasons for defense are wrong. Please excuse Daniel for getting beaten up throughout the film and being forced to enter the tournament!!. Sorry Miyagi, how unreasonable Daniel has become!!! Anyway enough plot....
What I don't get is why Daniel complains and cries consistently about his circumstances and seems to have forgotten any skills that Miyagi has taught him over the past couple of films. That is until, in the heat of the moment, he looks into Miyagi's eyes and everything comes back!!(How realistic!!). I loved the first film, for although Daniel was predictably annoying, he was living out the zero to hero story we all love. And Miyagi became a household name that we couldn't not love. Incidentally, Miyagi remains good throughout the films. Without him the movie hasn't a leg to stand on. It's a real statement on the charisma of the leading man Macchio. He simply has none.
The trouble with Daniel is that he has the weakest personality that doesn't ever appear to develop, despite all Miyagi's wisdom, until the last 2 minutes of the film. I can accept that these films don't expect that much from the viewer, but come on!!, we should at least believe that Daniel is a worthy hero by the end. I find it really funny that Miyagi likens Daniel's spirit to that of a bonsai tree with a strong root. Daniel seems to make Miyagi's wisdom and teachings look meaningless. Daniel ought to be a man's man by this film, but he still walks like a girl, he talks like a girl, and BY GOD he still FIGHTS like a girl!!!Any sympathy you may have mustered for him from the past two films is quickly dispensed in this film because he whines and cries when things consistently don't go his way. For God's Sake Daniel, are you that dense, since when do things go your way??? By now you should be man enough to deal with the bad things in life!!!! Everyone else does and most haven't had the privilege of Miyagi's teachings!!
I must say the final scene is truly pathetic!!The bad boy is keen to win a point then lose a point thereby keeping the scores at 0-0. He wants Daniel to suffer (Don't we all?) so he claims a legitimate point then beats the life out of him to lose the point. The match makes it abundantly clear that Daniel is 5 belts worse than this guy. BUT the match tied at 0-0 thanks entirely to the bad-boy, goes into sudden death when Daniel searches deep inside of himself, giving the obligatory look to Miyagi, and pulls off one good move and wins the match. Then he has the arrogance to say "Yes We did It" as if he should have the audacity to think he deserved to win the fight. It could be poor writing or bad acting, or both, but it's a pity that even after 3 films, even my young girl cousin reckons she could beat up whimpy Daniel!!
The irony of all of this, is that this film is shamefully watchable. I like it because Daniel forces giggles from the audience and Miyagi is always watchable as he chants his pearls of wisdom and does his various spiritual mantra's that are meant to mean something!! Sorry Miyagi, I didn't quite catch their significance this time around, and as much as I like you, I fear Daniel has not learned a bleeding thing from you since you met him!!!
I don't know how many stars to give this movie, because a 1 tells you
not to see it, and a 10 tells you that it is an excellent movie. Truth
be told, this is one of the worst movies ever made, and that is why you
absolutely must see it. It is more unintentionally funny than most
actual comedies, and it provides as much entertainment value by
accident as lots of movies do on purpose. It is like a train wreck, but
with this wreck, the passengers are all slipping on banana peels as
they exit the train.
Here is what I think happened the producers decided that they wanted to cash in on the franchise one more time, so they decided to bring back Mr. Miyagi and Daniel for one last hurrah. The script writers cooked up another story about Daniel fighting the Cobra Kais, getting beaten up, competing in the karate tournament once again, and then winning in the end. Then Ralph Macchio showed up for day 1 pudgy and out of shape, and panic erupted. Quickly, the script was rewritten with all of Daniel's fight scenes taken out, and the tournament rules changed so that all Daniel had to do to defend his title was show up for the last fight. I find it next to impossible that anyone associated with this movie honestly expected the audience to buy this, but they were far enough into the project that they had no choice but to finish it.
So what do we get? We get an hour and a half of poor Danny getting abused over and over again. He's chubby. He's pushing 30, but he is still 17 in the movie and he sounds like he is about 13. He gets punched. He gets taunted. He gets kicked in the balls. His, uh, "girlfriend" gets harassed and almost assaulted as some bullies trash Mr. Miyagi's shop, but Mr. Miyagi does absolutely nothing but push the bullies out the door. At no point, does it cross anyone's mind to call the cops. At some point, we start sympathizing more with the bullies than Daniel. He is such a wimp with no defensive instincts, and at this point, Mr. Miyagi seems like an insensitive dope because he makes Daniel get beaten to a pulp multiple times before he will finally agree to train him.
You can tell that just about everybody acting in this movie knows that it's a stinker, so why bother trying? Ralph Macchio totally phones in his performance, and so does Pat Morita (Miyagi). The minor actors in the movie, like Thomas Ian Griffith (the evil pony tail guy) and Martin Kove (the big evil trainer from the first movie) seem to get the joke here. They play over the top, exaggerated cartoon villains, whose only function is to be pointlessly mean. They are grown men, but their lives revolve around torturing a 17 year old boy as revenge for winning a karate tournament. At the end, Daniel finally faces down the big bully. Only this time, he doesn't try to throw any punches or block anything. He just stands there like a doughboy punching bag, yelping out in pain with his girly voice. I have always thought that the greatest achievement of the first two movies was that they made Daniel's triumphs believable and convincing. Since Mr. Miyagi focused on defense and maintaining a positive attitude, Daniel could survive a fight against a privileged bully and a brutal Okinawan street fighter who did not have this kind of positive influence. But in this one, it's just a massive beating. It is just so hard to take seriously that you get a sadistic pleasure out of it, kind of like watching somebody get hammered with a 2X4 in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Maybe the worst thing about this movie is that deep down, somewhere buried underneath the terrible acting and the awful script, there were some good ideas here. A Vietnam vet befriending Daniel and teaching him the darker side of martial arts sounds like a story with a lot of potential. Maybe the world isn't inherently a good place. Maybe life has predators and prey, and maybe a Vietnam vet is an appropriate guy to teach that to Daniel, who up to this point is still pretty naïve. Maybe a movie that questioned the idealism of the first two and dug into some gray areas could have been really good. But, nope! We just got a tired rehash of the lessons from the first two movies, but they don't even seem to make sense here. Our Vietnam vet is actually just a villain so cartoony that he even goes around a corner for a sneaky evil laugh while he listens to Daniel punch a piece of wood. Ouch! This one shows up on cable somewhere every once in a while, and if you can catch it, I highly recommend it. Invite some friends over, have a few beers, and have a few laughs at the expense of this tire fire.
Rumor has it Tom Cruise was offered the chance to reprise his signature
'80s role in two (!) Top Gun sequels, but refused because he didn't
want to do the same thing over and over. He has a point: some films,
like Star Wars or Indiana Jones (even Rocky or Rambo, to a reasonable
extent), can and in fact deserve to have follow-ups, because the people
who made them genuinely think there is more to tell about those
characters (Rocky V is too much, though); others, like Top Gun or The
Karate Kid, are crippled from the beginning by the fact that they are
indelibly connected to the decade that spawned them, and also suffer
from having fairly basic scripts and characters that wouldn't really
benefit from any continuation of the story. Sadly, Ralph Macchio never
realized this, and so here we are: The Karate Kid, Part III.
Whereas the first film dealt with a recycled subject (young boy gets revenge on those who humiliated him) from a new angle, Part III resurrects the revenge theme with all its clichés. The "driving force" (assuming there is one) of the screenplay (if you can call it that) is John Kreese (Martin Kove), the sadistic karate teacher whose students got their asses kicked by Daniel Larusso (Macchio). Broke and lonely, Kreese decides to ask an old army buddy, Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), to help carry out a diabolical plan that will make Daniel and Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) suffer like never before. Getting them to fight back, however, will prove harder than usual, as Miyagi is more interested in opening a bonsai shop and Daniel refuses to act violently since he is - what a surprise, this - in love.
Love, vengeance, honor, blood and gratuitous butt-kicking are all thrown in the mix, though hardly any of them work to full effect. As a matter of fact, the more explicit violence suffocates the franchise's trademark comedy bits, leaving a few underwhelming Daniel/Miyagi moments with the duty of lightening the tone. Even worse, though, is the over-the-top behavior of the villains: Griffith does nothing but stare manically, shout and laugh, while Kove, who was funny in the first installment of the series, transforms Kreese into a grotesque parody of his earlier work. Only when the dead-certain final battle arrives, there is a sense of the trilogy regaining whatever it lost from Part II onwards. But the question remains: how many people will still be paying attention at that point?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You know when the formula is getting old when you see Daniel Larusso get the third girlfriend and bring her over to meet Mr. Miyagi saying how he's a great friend and always has an answer to a problem. What I'm starting to hear at this point is, "I have no life and this old guy from Okinowa is the only guy who be my friend!" Another dragging formula is Miyagi's discouragement to Daniel of fighting and he has to kick the crap out of all the bad guys beating on Daniel before he decides to train him for the tournament. Then I felt this whole movie crush under it's own weight when Daniel takes a beating over and over before finally winning with just a single punch. Am I supposed to be impressed with this? I guess by tournament terms he won, but by fighting terms he had his butt handed to him. There was just no feeling of victory here. Just plain LOUSY!
I have to say, every time I watch Karate Kid III, I laugh many, many times.
Trouble is...it's not intentionally a comedy! That's okay with me though, I
still watch it every time I catch it on cable. It's definitely a "so bad,
it's good" movie. Ralph Macchio isn't a great actor, but Robin Lively was
terrible in her role as the supposed love-interest...which only made it
better in my eyes. The dialogue was corny, over-the-top, and oh-so
I sincerely liked the first KK, was bored by the second one, but KK III is definitely my favorite. It's poorly-made, poorly-acted, and poorly-written. And I loved every minute of it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Perhaps the film company was a little short so far as budget is
concerned; but this time we are back in the USA, and John Kreese, the
thug who ran the dojo in number one, and who got both his fists cut up
in number 2 returns with an ally. For the first time, we see a little
depth to Kreese, who starts the film by falling apart; we see that
Kreese has done military service, and it is probably his experiences on
service that has screwed him up.
The ally is a lot more complex: the silver-tongued, pony-tailed Terry Silver, excellently played by Thomas Ian Griffith.
Pat Morita steadily plays the wise Miyagi, who goes into business selling his other passion: bonsai trees. But business is threatened when Kreese and his thugs try to goad the karate kid into a revenge match.
This time, the kid rejects the teachings of his sensei, and follows a path mapped out for him by Silver. The kid becomes frightened when he breaks the nose of an idiot in a nightclub, and returns to the one true path just in time for the revenge match.
It is easy to find criticisms in number three. The plot is predictable Although I did not find the film at all threadbare.
Speaking objectively, if I had to choose which of the three karate kid films I liked the best, it would be this one. For all its faults the oriental philosophy is still running through it; and it underlines in a more elaborate way the message of the first film: karate is a sport and a form of self improvement, and has nothing to do with thuggery.
Ya just gotta ask, "What were they thinking?" The first movie was a
- a genuine piece of pop culture, and a great "underdog" movie. While the
second wasn't as good, it was still a decent movie which expanded on the
story of Daniel & Mr. Miyagi. But this one stunk up the joint... first
the new bad guy Terry Silver (the millionaire mogul/karate expert) is
laughable as a villain - his performance is *so* over the top it's
ridiculous. It's obvious they got someone who knew his karate, but didn't
know jack about acting. It's also ironic that he's actually younger than
Robyn Lively - she's attractive enough, but belongs in sitcoms. Also, what's with Daniel *never* getting the girl in the long term???
As for Macchio - I don't know... he seemed to be *way* too enthusiastic. Was he this much of a motormouth in the first two movies? It's almost as if he was trying too hard to compensate for the fact that he is five years older, trying to portray a character that is only one year older.
The pacing of this movie is all wrong. They spend way too much time on trivialities such as the Macchio/Lively relationship. What was the point of that anyway? There was hardly any time spent on the training and actual fight (and as any fan of the Rocky movies could tell you, that's the most important part!)
As for the karate itself, it's L A M E. The Karate Kid series has always been more about the philosophy behind martial arts rather than the physical aspect. All of Mr. Miyagi's wise platitudes are dead-on, but the "crane technique" would be easily countered by any half-competent black belt. Even so, it worked in the first two flicks. But in this one, it's just ridiculous. The final fight, the "bad boy of karate" is whipping Daniel like a government mule, then in sudden death Daniel decides to break into his "Secret Miyagi family kata", which causes both his opponent and his partners to suddenly back away in fear! This is so absolutely ridiculous it's pathetic. Once again, any competent karate student would simply look at Daniel with a bit of confusion, then continue on with the business of kicking his butt. It just seemed all too anti-climactic.
I'm really surprised they made a fourth movie after this stinker, but at least it gave us our first look at Hillary Swank. Yum :)
After returning from Japan, Mr. Miyagi & Daniel(Pat Morita & Ralph
Macchio again) try to settle in to their lives, only to have old foe
John Creese(Martin Kove) return seeking revenge after losing his
students, his school, and his money. He turns to grateful Vietnam
veteran buddy Terry Silver(Thomas Ian Griffith) to help him regain what
he lost, and punish Miyagi and Daniel.
A great pity this is such a comic book level script, with over-the-top villainy(at one point, both Creese and Silver laugh at Miyagi & Daniel like they're the Joker and Riddler!) and redundant character development(Did Daniel learn nothing from the first two films?) Only Pat Morita keeps this disappointment from complete ruin, with his fine performance(he looks appropriately weary of it all!) Ending is predictable, but too abrupt, leaving loose ends never tied up.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This started out good. Then all of a sudden the girl he met is gone, he
wins the tournament, and the movie is over.
I was upset when I saw the credits rolling; I'd hoped that the movie would progress more. He gets a kiss from the girl after he flips out and makes her angry, and then she leaves for Christmas never to be heard from again. They started a new business, but you never see the grand opening. He starts training again for the fight and all of a sudden the fight is there, and it only lasts all of five minutes, and he wins with one simple move after getting beat on for the whole fight.
It's kind of like they spent a lot of time writing the script, got bored, and just ended it as quickly as they could.
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