Part III and only Partly as Good
I liked the first two Karate Kid movies, despite the original more than tipping it's hat to the more successful "Rocky" not such a surprise seeing that director John G. Avildsen was in charge of both. I liked the fact that "The Karate Kid, Part II" developed the original story and switched the focus from Daniel to Mr. Miyagi and even got use to the over used quote "Wax On, Wax Off". But when it comes to "The Karate Kid, Part III" I have to say it is a disappointment, thanks to various issues, including rehashing too much of the first movie, this third part just fails to really capture the audience in the same way as the previous outings managed.
Having returned from Okinawa not only does Daniel (Ralph Macchio - Crossroads) find himself homeless but Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita - Honeymoon in Vegas) is out of the job as their old apartment block is demolished. But all is not lost as Daniel moves in with Mr. Miyagi and together they set up a Bonsai store. Things turn sour when Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) an ex army buddy of Cobra Kai instructor John Kreese (Martin Kove - The Hollywood Mom's Mystery) turns up and dupes Daniel into training for the All Valley Karate Championship, intent on hurting both Daniel and Mr. Miyagi for what they did to his buddy Kreese.
A big problem when it comes to "The Karate Kid, Part III" is that it returns to familiar territory with not only Daniel becoming the centre of attention again but also featuring more bullies and a return to the All Valley Karate Championship for the big yet predictable finale. There is nothing especially new in this outing and although I admire the attempts to develop the storyline so that Daniel rebels against his surrogate father it just doesn't work. It doesn't help that by now the formula is too well worked and it's far too easy to guess what scene comes next and what the outcome will be. In honesty this third movie shouldn't have been made because the storyline had been developed to its max in the previous movies and this time it just comes across as a blatant attempt to squeeze as much money out of the franchise as possible.
Due to the nature of the storyline which sees Daniel rebel against Mr. Miyagi and head off to a new mentor the charming relationship between mentor/pupil is lost. The relationship between the two is without doubt pivotal to why the first two movies worked and although being rebellious is quite realistic it means that a big chunk of the Karate Kid magic has is missing. It also doesn't help that with the re-introduction of John Kreese and his army buddy Terry Silver we have the worst bad guys in movie history. You just can't take them seriously for a moment as they rub their hands together, cackle and basically are more laughable than threatening.
Adding to the issues is that where the first two movies effectively managed to teach us a life lesson through karate, this time round the lesson seems to be missing. You can tell it's there but is never really brought to the front to give you that deeper meaning to what we are watching. This makes this third outing feel even shallower and more along the lines of money grabbing commercialism by the producers.
But the most shockingly bad thing about "The Karate Kid, Part III" is sadly Ralph Macchio as Daniel. The truth is in 1989 when "The Karate Kid, Part III" came out Macchio was in his late twenties, a fact which makes his childlike looks in the previous two movies even more remarkable, but now showing signs of being much older than the character he's playing he lacks the boyish charm he once had. It doesn't help Macchio's cause that his character is even whinier than in the first movie, come on haven't you learnt any lessons from Mr Miyagi, and basically is quite annoying in almost every scene. Add to this Martin Kove and Thomas Ian Griffith as Kreese and Silver respectively, basically taking it in turns to play pantomime villains and things certainly don't go well for "The Karate Kid, Part III".
The only actor who does manage to come out of this third movie with his integrity intact is Pat Morita who is still as brilliant as ever as the wise old Mr. Miyagi and in fairness his character is at least a little more developed this time round. Just a shame that the chemistry between Miyagi and Daniel is seriously lacking due to the nature of the storyline.
What this all boils down to it that "The Karate Kid, Part III" comes over purely as a way to drain every last cent out of a franchise which should have ended at part II when it was on top of it's game. This time round the whole movie feels too repetitive and in many ways rehashes too much of the original movie in trying to develop a storyline. It doesn't help that with Macchio now showing a few signs of his age doesn't quite have the boyish charm to bring Daniel back to life and the fact that his character has returned to be an annoying whinging kid spoils all the work to develop it in the previous movies. But it is still mildly entertaining just for the fact that Pat Morita is still brilliant as Mr. Miyagi if nothing else.