We return to the world of Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi!
Written By: Robert Mark Kamen
Directed By: John G. Avildsen
Things pick up right where they left off at the end Of The Karate Kid, and after an awesome scene involving Kreese getting his ass handed to him The Karate Kid, Part II jumps ahead six months. Therein the problems for this sequel begin to take shape. At that moment the writers decide with a flippant couple of sentences to get rid of Daniel’s mother and his love interest from the first movie, Ali. It’s not a big problem, but it bugged me because of how flippantly it was handled. That ends up being my stance for the majority of The Karate Kid, Part II, I didn’t have many big problems, but a lot about the film bothered me.
The great chemistry between Ralph Macchio as Daniel and Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi is still present and the Babylon 5 geek in me got a kick out of the appearance by Tamlyn Tomita. However, none of the other characters matter in the slightest or feel like they are actual threats. Part of the problem with this is that the first few minutes of the movie highlight Kreese, a villain who is actually cool and I wanted to see. That story was interesting, however that’s not the story we were given, The Karate Kid, Part II went to Japan. But, once we get to Japan, actually Hawaii, there are far too many moments of exposition, the story is paced rather oddly and fails to be all that compelling.
The biggest difference between The Karate Kid and The Karate Kid, Part II is that the cheese level has been considerably toned down. The Karate Kid, Part II wants to be a serious movie, but in this case serious doesn’t equal better. The Karate Kid was compelling because of how cheesy it managed to be and how tied into the 1980’s it was. The Karate Kid, Part II isn’t anywhere near as much fun as The Karate Kid because of how serious it wants to be.
Then there is the ending, or endings. At first the hurricane/thunderstorm appears to be the ending and that leaves you with a feeling of, “uh, that’s the ending?” But, it’s not the ending, the ending comes in a showdown between Daniel and Chozen, but it’s so ridiculous that once again I was left going, “uh, that’s the ending, okay…”
The weird thing is that while all of the above is true none of what I have talked about were major detriments to the film. The Karate Kid, Part II certainly is a few shades below its predecessor, but at the same time it’s not a bad movie. The Karate Kid, Part II is a mediocre movie with a bevy of small flaws that add up over the course of its running time. I’d like to say that fans of the original can skip The Karate Kid, Part II, but that would be a lie. The Karate Kid franchise needs to be seen in its entirety, for it’s levels of cheesy awesomeness and its slow descent into terribleness. For that reason give The Karate Kid, Part II a glance, but only do so if you intend to watch all four Mr. Miyagi movies.