I know I’ve been promising another trilogy, but The Karate Kid is not that trilogy. In fact, I know this will be a controversial statement, but Part II is the only Karate Kid movie I even like. The first one is alright, but it’s too small scale. He’s fighting that guy to show he can (basically). It has great music, and I can’t deny it’s a classic (“Wax on, wax off…”). But I’ve always just thought of it as “okay”.
I didn’t see Part II until a couple years ago, and I absolutely loved it. There’s a better story, better characters, and more at stake.
Part II sees Danial-san going to Okinawa, where Mr. Miyagi’s father is on his death bed. It turns out that when Miyangi was 18 he was in love with a girl back in Okinawa named Yukie, but he left because his best friend, Sato, was arranged to marry her. Miyagi had announced plans to marry her instead. Sato felt his honour had been ruined, so he challenged Miyagi to a fight. Miyagi left Okinawa for America.
Upon arriving in Okinawa, Miyagi and Danial-san are driven to Sato by Chozen, Sato’s nephew. Sato tells Miyagi to go see his father, then meet him so they can fight to the death. But Miyagi’s father passes away the next day, so Sato gives him three days to mourn.
Daniel-san meets Kumiko, the niece of Yukie, and the two of them quickly form an attraction to each other. As the two of them become closer throughout the film, this forms a nice love story, and more motivation than the first film gave him. She shows him around the villiage and nearby areas, filling him in on some of the history. While walking through town, they enter a bar or club of some sort, where Chozen challenges Daniel-san to break ice with his hand. When he does, Chozen feels his honour has been ruined (sound familiar?).
Miyagi refuses to fight Sato, so eventually Sato threatens to destroy the village. But within a few hours, a huge storm appear and does that job for him. Miyagi saves Sato’s life, causing him to come to his senses about the situation and asks to be forgiven. But Chozen decides to continue being petty and stubborn, to the point where Sato disowns him. The village is at a dance when Chozen drops in and challenges Danial-san to a fight to the death. He holds a knife to Yukie’s neck.
As I said, better story, better characters, and more at stake. The bully guy from the first one was just a harmless douchebag. Chonzen had a knife up to Daniel-san’s girlfriend’s neck!!
They really should have ended it there. For one thing, Yukie isn’t even mentioned in Part III. The story is more petty than the first one. It’s a massive step backward. I like to pretend it doesn’t exist and Daniel and Yukie stay together forever (I know, I’m cheesy). Of course, as Cracked pointed out, Part III could have had a very different, much darker story.