Story: Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) and Daniel (Ralph Macchio) return to the states after the events of the last movie. With the winnings he obtained from Part II, Daniel decides to forgo college in order to open up a bonsai business with Mr. Miyagi, which the latter initially objects to because he wants Daniel to get a good education. Daniel meets and falls for Jessica (played by Robyn Lively). Jessica reveals she has a boyfriend back home in Ohio but the two stay friends. In the meantime, Sensei John Kreese (played Martin Kove) wants revenge for losing the the All-Valley Tournament and being humiliated by Mr. Miyagi in the first movie. While Kreese is recuperating in Tahiti (it’s a magical place), an evil millionaire and former Vietnam War friend of his played by Thomas Ian Griffith enacts the super complicated revenge scheme. The rich friend enlists the help of “Karate’s Bad Boy” Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) and the three set out to turn Daniel into a psychotic, violent jerk; break up him and Mr. Miyagi; win the All-Valley Tournament; and possibly hurt Daniel and Mr. Miyagi in the process.
Thoughts: There was this strange habit in the 80s and to a degree in the 90s where writers seemed to forget how the world works. Part III of The Karate Kid series was written by Robert Mark Kamen, who wrote all the Morita Karate Kid entries except for The Next Karate Kid. I haven’t seen his other two efforts but I’ve heard good things about them and have enough working knowledge of their contents to surmise that they aren’t nearly as crappy, lazy, and poorly constructed as this movie.
The film takes a long time to get going and the only points of interest we have (the millionaire enacting the revenge for his friend) are so ludicrous that I could only shake my head and laugh at the stupidity. Why is this man, who is rich as can be, doing all this work himself? Why not hire somebody to do it for him? This way he can keep an eye on his business and, if the Daniel and Mr. Miyagi catch the hired hand, Mr. Wealthy won’t be as easily connected to the breaking and entering, the threats, and the violence.
By the way, all three of the villains are the saddest bunch of losers I have ever seen in a movie. Do they seriously have nothing better to do than to pick on an 18-year-old? Amoebas have more of a life than these three.
Daniel is also a complete moron. How he doesn’t pick up that this rich guy is no good is baffling. If he were any more evil, he would be kicking puppies and tying damsels to train tracks (he already laments at how he can’t dump his nuclear waste just anywhere these days).
There’s not much karate in this movie. There’s not really much story to latch onto either. What we’re given moves at a slow pace without any apparent point or reason we should care. The Miyagi fight scenes are good (as they always are), but the final bought at the end is underwhelming. The film ends abruptly. Our heroes win, but we don’t ever get to see the villains, who remain cocky throughout the whole movie despite the fact that they clearly get their asses handed to them by Mr. Miyagi, get their comeuppance. I was left looking at the screen wondering what I had just watched and why I had kept watching it. It’s almost as if the writer just ran out of paper for his typewriter and decided to end the movie instead of going to the store and getting more.
Needless to say, as the end of a trilogy this film was a major letdown. I can’t even imagine the disappointment fans of this series must have felt when watching this back in the day. Personally, I’d rather kick a wooden board repeatedly for two hours than see this again. At least the constant pain in my toes would hold my attention.