Thursday, 10 January 2019

Blu-ray Review: The Karate Kid III & The Next Karate Kid

Mill Creek Entertainment; AMAZON

I'm almost positive almost everyone has watched the 1984 classic The Karate Kid at least one time in their lifetime. It's an iconic underdog story that inspired many 80s kids to learn martial arts. And, of course, the film kicked off a franchise, which recently included the YouTube Red spinoff series Cobra Kai.

Now available on a Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment is the The Karate Kid III & The Next Karate Kid ($14.98). There are no special features or bonus extras.

Directed by John G. Avildsen, The Karate Kid III (1989; PG; 112 minutes) picks up several months after the second film with Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi (played by Ralph Macchio and Noriyuki "Pat" Morita) returning to Los Angeles after their trip to Japan. Upon their return, they learn that Daniel's mother has moved to New Jersey to take care of her sick uncle and their apartment building is being torn down, leaving Mr. Miyagi jobless and Daniel homeless. Well, not exactly homeless, as he ends moving into Mr. Miyagi's home.

Mr. Miyagi isn't unemployed for too long. Daniel uses his college fund to open a bonsai shop with him. Unknowingly to them, disgraced Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese (played by Martin Kove) teams up with Vietnam War buddy, Terry Silver (played by Thomas Ian Griffith), to seek revenge against Daniel for winning the All-Valley Karate Championships. They hire Mike Barnes (played by Sean Kanan) to bully Daniel and to challenge him to a fight at the next tournament.

Directed by Christopher Cain, The Next Karate Kid (1994; PG; 107 minutes) centers on Julie (played by Hilary Swank), a troubled teenager living with her grandmother in Boston. After meeting Mr. Miyagi at a commendation for Japanese-American soldiers, he talks the grandmother into taking a vacation to Los Angeles and he would stay in Boston to look after Julie. Of course, Mr. Miyagi has another reason for wanting to babysit a teenager. He wants to teach Julie how to control her anger issues that she has had ever since the death of her parents.

Final Thoughts

While I'm not the biggest Karate Kid fan, I do remember watching the originally trilogy several times during my childhood. Like most franchises, the first film was the best. I never cared much for "Part II", but I did like "Part III," even though it's a rehash of the first film with some questionable acting from the Cobra Kai members. I watched The Next Karate Kid once around the time it was released to VHS in 1994 or 1995. I didn't like the film then and I still feel the same way after watching it on Blu-ray. Both Noriyuki "Pat" Morita and Hilary Swank give excellent performances, but the rest of the acting is awful; even Walton Goggins' small part is pretty bad. The plot is worse than the acting and the ending fight scene is laughable.

Both films are crammed onto one disc, so don't expect the picture quality to be topnotch. The films are in 1080p High-Definition Widescreen 1:78:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Personally, I would only recommend buying this Blu-ray if you're a fan of The Karate Kid Part III. The Next Karate Kid isn't worth wasting your time watching. 

*Note: I received a review copy from Mill Creek Entertainment.
All Opinions are my own.

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