Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Movies: The Karate Kid, Part III

I liked "The Karate Kid" (hey, it's a cult classic), but the sequels left me pretty cold. While Part II (set in Japan) and "The Next Karate Kid" (starring Hilary Swank) were at least passable, Part III is easily one of the worst third installments ever filmed. It's amazing that the quality of the series could dip so far and still keep the original actors, so in that respect, it's sorta unique in film history.

Ralph Macchio reprises his role as plucky Danny LaRusso, except by this point in time, Macchio was pushing 30 and had gained considerable weight, making his portrayal of the supposedly teenage LaRusso into a caricature. Still, both he and Morita try their best in a script that lamely rehashes the plot of the first movie. You see, Kreese wants revenge for his defeat in the first film, and he's enlisted his business tycoon and war buddy Terry Silver and karate bad boy Mike Barnes to aid him in his quest to derail Daniel-san at the All-Valley Under 18 Karate Championship.

The whole premise is ridiculous. Terry Silver, portrayed as a Vietnam vet in the film, engages in the inexplicable harassment of Miyagi, a WWII Medal of Honor recipient. There's never any real justification of why a business mogul would drop everything to hatch a diabolic scheme against an elderly war hero and his student, but it all takes place anyway. The movie has some worth, I suppose; it'd make for a fabulous night of MST3K-style riffing and jokes.

Rating: 3/10


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