The Karate Kid Part III (DVD, 2001) Reviews
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The Karate Kid Part III (DVD, 2001)

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The Karate Kid, Part III — Bullying 101, Part III

Jun 30, 2008 (Updated Jul 1, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Terry Silver makes for a colourful villain; Miyagi is still cool

Cons:Everything else

The Bottom Line: This should have been called The Karate Kid Redo, even though the first movie was already perfect.


Within the first 10 minutes of watching The Karate Kid, Part III, I already figured out the ending. It's essentially the original movie re-written in a way that is supposed to feel fresh and different, yet at the same time without deviating too far from the original concept in fear of not staying true to the theme of non-violence. That essentially has been the message in the first two movies—to find alternate ways or walking away from violence. Ironically, this is the most violent movie in the series.

Back for the ride are Ralph Macchio and Noriyuki “Pat” Morita reprising their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Kesuke Miyagi. John G. Avildsen is also back at the helm directing this third installment that is supposed to continue the original story. I say supposed to since that's what a sequel is intended to do. Instead, for the most part, the original story is repeated but sugarcoated to make it look different. Upon closely examination, the same conflicts, problems and sometimes even dialogue is regurgitated under the banner of "Part III". There are times when I couldn't care less if the movie entertains me. In this case, it failed to do so.

Picking up immediately after The Karate Kid, Part II, the traveling duo arrive back in the United States only to find that things have changed since they were away, namely their homes due to be torn down. That means Miyagi is without a job and Daniel has to move house again. In order to make money, Daniel suggests to Miyagi that he open up a bonsai tree shop.

Meanwhile, John Kreese (Martin Kove) is still stinging from his humiliation at the hands of Miyagi that occurred after the tournament almost a year ago. His students have left the dojo, his reputation is shot, and his school has gone bankrupt. Dejected, he turns to an old Vietnam war buddy, Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), to help get his revenge on Daniel and Miyagi. Silver is a successful businessman making his living dumping toxic wastes. Karate, to him, his a hobby. But he would do anything to help the man who saved his life back in 'Nam. In order to do that, they enlist the help of Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan), a vicious karate fighter, to take down Daniel in the All-Valley Karate Tournament.

Terry Silver: "Either you fight one day or you fight for the rest of your life."

As the reigning champion, Daniel is invited back to compete in the tournament. This time, however, he only has to fight in the final to defend his championship. Miyagi refuses to help him this time noting that the first time was to defend Daniel's honour. This time, he's only defending a piece of plastic. Daniel agrees until Barnes starts harassing him and bullies him to sign the tournament documents. Since Miyagi won't help him train, he turns to Silver (unbeknownst to Daniel that he is in cahoots with Barnes and Kreese). Eventually, he feels that Silver's way is too violent and decides to call it quits. Unfortunately for Daniel, the plot thickens and he finally understands what it truly means to be bullied.

Daniel Larusso: "Wait. Mr. Silver, you can't make me do anything I don't want to do."
Terry Silver: [laughs] "Danny, Danny. Since the moment I met you, I've been making you do things you don't want to do."


The difficultly to this film is finding opponents that pose a greater threat to Daniel, but after facing Chozen in The Karate Kid, Part II, someone who is willing to kill and holds your life in his hands, everyone else looks like a caricature. And this is what it turns out to be for this movie: Daniel vs. the Three Stooges. In the end, those three are just bullies in various degrees. Barnes does it for money, Kreese does it for revenge, and Silver does it just for kicks. Out of the three, though, Silver is the most colourful character that holds any semblance of interest. He's slick, shady, clever and quite stylish. But none of them are developed any further than the stereotypical role they fit into for this movie.

Daniel and Miyagi really don't advance much in their respective roles either, especially Daniel. More than anything, I believe he regressed. Daniel was whiny, petulant and annoying. I couldn't stand him more than anyone else in this film, and that's surprising because he's the main character. Miyagi is Miyagi, and he's the one person I don't expect to change. He needs to be solid as a rock, but how many times does he have to pull Daniel's fat out of the fire? However, it happens to be the best part of the whole film when Miyagi systematically takes down the Three Stooges one at a time to save Daniel.

In the end, The Karate Kid, Part III is a formula movie that overran its course. It really should have ended at two movies, unless something completely different was offered other than a remake of the original. In that case, I offer up my suggestion on doing the whole Legion of Super-Heroes' version of Karate Kid. That is definitely a whole different ballpark in its own right.


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Related Reviews
The Karate Kid || The Karate Kid, Part II


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This is part of my Funny Pages Write-Off that I have extended until the end of July. Columbia Pictures had to get permission from DC Comics for usage of the name of the Legion of Super-Heroes comic book character Karate Kid. As indicated by the film, the 30th Century hero never made one appearance at all.


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