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The Karate Kid Part III (1989)

PG | | Action, Drama, Family | 30 June 1989 (USA)
Ostracised villain John Kreese attempts to gain revenge on Daniel and Miyagi, with the help of a Vietnam War comrade, the wealthy owner of a toxic waste disposal business.


John G. Avildsen


Robert Mark Kamen (characters), Robert Mark Kamen
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Macchio ... Daniel
Pat Morita ... Mr. Miyagi (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)
Robyn Lively ... Jessica
Thomas Ian Griffith ... Terry
Martin Kove ... Kreese
Sean Kanan ... Mike Barnes
Jonathan Avildsen Jonathan Avildsen ... Snake
William Christopher Ford William Christopher Ford ... Dennis (as Christopher Paul Ford)
Randee Heller ... Lucille
Pat E. Johnson ... Referee
Rick Hurst ... Announcer
Frances Bay ... Mrs. Milo
Joseph V. Perry Joseph V. Perry ... Uncle Louie
Jan Tríska ... Milos
Diana Webster Diana Webster ... Margaret


John Kreese, his life in tatters after his karate school was defeated by Daniel and Miyagi, visits Terry Silver, a Vietnam War comrade. Terry is a ruthless businessman and martial arts expert, and he vows to help Kreese gain revenge on Daniel and Miyagi, and reestablish Cobra Kai. Upon returning from Okinawa, Daniel and Miyagi discover that their apartment building has been demolished, which brings Miyagi out of work. Going against Miyagi's wishes, Daniel uses his college funds to realize Miyagi's dream of opening a bonsai tree shop, and becomes a partner in the bonsai business. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


First it was teacher to student. Then it was father to son. Now, it's man to man. See more »


Action | Drama | Family | Sport


PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

30 June 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Karate Kid 3 See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Thomas Ian Griffith's character, Terry Silver usually called Daniel "Danny Boy", which is coincidentally the name of a popular Irish song. Griffith played another character named Terry and sang "Danny Boy" in Excessive Force (1993). See more »


During the final match, that rest period just before "sudden death" overtime should be 1 minute; it's actually just 30 seconds. See more »


Terry Silver: [speaking to Mike Barnes] If you're looking to be a bad boy in L.A., Snake's the boy to be bad with. Right, Snake?
Snake: You know it.
See more »


Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #18.8 (2010) See more »


Summer in the City
Written by John Sebastian, Steve Boone and Mark Sebastian
Performed by The Pointer Sisters
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User Reviews

Deeply flawed, but undeserving of 4 razzie nominations
15 June 2015 | by suadabeslagic1976See all my reviews

The Karate Kid, Part III、as the title suggests, is the third film in the Karate Kid film series, released in 1989, directed by John Avlidsen, and starring Ralph Macchio as Daniel and Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi. The Karate Kid film series is a rather typical example of other 1980s film series (such as Robocop) which just run out of steam as time goes on to the extent that they began with a bang and ended with a whimper. Despite its flaws however, The Karate Kid, Part III isn't nearly as bad as some people make it out to be and is certainly no Robocop 3. This review will discuss the problems with the movie as well as what it gets right, with an overall assessment of the Karate Kid original film series as a whole.

One of the biggest problems with this movie is the lack of continuity with the Karate Kid Part II, which for all its flaws did genuinely advance the story and develop Daniel and Miyagi's character. The film is fairly graceless in its dumping of Daniel's love interest Kumiko; it's explained that she just got a job in Japan that she couldn't turn down. This just didn't strike me as believable, perhaps because they had done it before in Part II. Daniel's relationships always happen to end between films? It's frankly insulting when sequels hit the reset button like this.

But the real continuity problem is one that is never addressed at all, and that is the relationship between Yuki and Miyagi. This is not presented as a mere superficial teenage romance, but instead as true love. Miyagi even says that he would stay in Okinawa, if not for the people trying to kill him. So why doesn't Miyagi stay in Okinawa after the conclusion of Part II, or take Yuki to America? It's never explained. This film takes a dump on Miyagi and Daniel's development; the second film may as well have never happened.

Moreover, all the balance and self-control that Daniel developed in the first two films is gone, indeed Daniel if anything seems even more neurotic and unbalanced than he was at the beginning of the original film. Daniel is whiny and angsty, going into long diatribes about his own inadequacy. This would be less irksome if it were a response to something far more drastic; but in Part II the villains were trying to kill him and his master; in Part III they are just trying to take away his title as champion by defeating him in a local karate tournament. So, Daniel is cool-headed when threatened with death in a foreign land, but the prospect of losing his title to a bunch of local punks turns him into a nervous wreck? The film also fails to find a coherent theme, besides poorly retreading the original.

That said, the film does manage to get some things right. As whiny as Daniel is, he retains something of his likability, even if it is diminished. We also have the things that make the whole series fun; wonderfully over-the-top villains and pseudo-eastern wisdom. The emotional core of the film is tarnished but intact; that of the relationship between Daniel and Miyagi. These two characters, although somewhat botched, still work together well.

None of the original Karate Kid films are by themselves incoherent, but taken as a whole the series is rather lopsided. They do get progressively worse as the series goes on, and by the end of Part III one is glad they never made a fourth film (unless you count the Next Karate Kid, and I don't). Still, while it's a shame that they never managed to quite recapture the magic of the first film, I'm glad I got to spend 3 films in the company of these terrific characters.

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