"The Karate Kid, Part II" Talkback (Spoilers)

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Matt Zimmer
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Jan 19, 2004
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The Karate Kid, Part II

Okay, so I haven't read any actual reviews but I vaguely recall hearing the Karate Kid sequels were a bunch of diminishing returns. As far as that first sequel goes, I couldn't disagree more. As in I thought the first film sucked, and this was an actual good movie. I don't know what the complaints are supposed to be but I liked this one much better.

It doesn't get off to a rousing start, to be honest. It is totally on-brand for how dumb 80's movies believed their audiences were that the movie starts off with a five and a half minute recap of the first film. But I did find it interesting that the film picks up right where the first film left off after that. Good move. I think the ending to the first movie sucked. This actually fixed it. If the second scene of this film had been the last scene of the first film, I would have liked it more. Kreese gets the proper comeuppance here, that I believe the first film was crazy for simply letting go of. Not only is he properly humiliated, but the adults present loudly proclaim his behavior as wrong, and it completely undoes the normalization of his abuse the first movie asked us to tolerate simply because we don't like Johnny Lawrence. Already the movie is off to a better start just with that.

I again, haven't read any reviews, so I'm wondering if some of the complaints are due to the fact that Daniel Larusso has entirely lost his edge, and essentially turned into a goodie-goodie. Let me tell you, if people are mad about a lack of emo teenaged angst there, they value different things than I do. I was very pleased with his moving scenes with Mr. Miyagi about their fathers, and what Daniel believed the actual expectations were there. That's more interesting to me than whatever snits Daniel threw in the first movie.

Ralph Macchio is SUCH a little guy, that even though the movie is made a couple of years later, and it doesn't appear like he's actually aged (much less grown) any. Either he was a full-grown adult when he acted in the first movie, or they lucked out with his growth being permanently stunted. He could have looked a bit ridiculous two years later entering a building in the last scene of the first movie and exiting it a foot taller and with a much deeper voice.

I think Sato is a dumb villain. It doesn't occur to him Miyagi is actually a better fighter, and simply didn't want to fight him because he didn't want to kill his old friend. That's not cowardice, it's mercy. Sato is especially dumb believing Miyagi has come to kill him in the middle of the storm. What I like thematically is the fact that the film has him break the wood plank that Sato has spent years trying and failing to split to free him, so not only does Miyagi save him, but it proves he was the stronger fighter all along.

I was a bit leery of the last fight scene of the movie. It seemed a bit abrupt, raw, and violent after things were wrapping up. But Daniel showing mercy as the crowd applauds DOES feel like a satisfying place to leave off after all.

I don't know. I didn't like the first film. I liked the second. I don't really understand what the problem was supposed to be. ****.
 

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