The revealing story of a boys journey to personal honour and self-discovery
Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita
Thomas Ian Griffith
John G Avildsen
Running Time: 339 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
Ralph Macchio stars in all three ‘Karate Kid’ films as Daniel LaRusso, a boy from Newark who moves to California with his mother. In the first film, he is bullied by members of a disreputable karate club, taught by the sinister Kreese (Martin Kove), because of his relationship with their leader’s ex-girlfriend. He persuades a Japanese handyman called Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita) to train him in karate, enabling him to go head-to-head with the bullies at a karate tournament. But through Miyagi’s training, he also learns that some problems can’t be solved through fighting.
In the second film, Daniel and his mentor go to Mr Miyagi’s old home village in Okinawa. There they find that Miyagi’s childhood friend Sato (Danny Kamekona), with whom he once had a falling-out over honour, still wishes to fight with him. Daniel too faces a new foe, with Sato’s nephew Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) constantly spoiling for a fight. Ultimately, Daniel will find himself fighting for his life as well as his honour.
The third film returns to California, where Kreese is plotting his revenge. With an old Vietnam War buddy called Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), he sets out to undermine the relationship between Daniel and Mr Miyagi. He also recruits a vicious karate fighter called Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) to take on Daniel in a tournament, which he forces Daniel to enter by use of intimidation.
The first film in this series was a surprise blockbuster, influencing a generation of youngsters in the 80s. The straightforward story and appealing characters have ensured that it remains ripe for discovery by a new generation. Part II has aged even better than the first film – the exotic Japanese location and characters have proved particularly timeless, and the content seems nearly as fresh as it was when the movie was made. Only the third film is a disappointment – a weak attempt to cash in on the success of the first two results in a plot that really contains nothing that hadn’t already been done better by its predecessors.
It's Got: Plenty of wisdom and humour from Mr Miyagi.
It Needs: A much stronger third film in the series.
DVD Extras Only some basic extras with this box set, although an effort has at least been made considering the age of the films. Extras: The Karate Kid Filmographies, Theatrical trailer. Part II Featurette, Filmographies. Part III Filmographies. All discs DVD-ROM: Multi-level interactive games. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10
Alternatives:First Kid., Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Next Karate Kid
This box set will please a whole new generation of youngsters, while providing a trip down memory lane for everyone who remembers the meaning of “wax on, wax off”.