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Review – Karate Kid III

Karate Kid III

Karate Kid III is the lamest movie I’ve ever seen.

Released in 1989, the third-part of the Karate Kid trilogy (yes, I know there was a fourth that was even crappier than this) sees Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) returning with Miyagi from their trip to Okinawa and suddenly get involved with John Kreese’s desire for revenge over the loss of his karate school.

With Kreese still bitter and angry, he visits an old army buddy in the shape of millionaire Terry Silver who vows to get revenge on both Miyagi and LaRusso, and – ever the business opportunist, realises the full business potential of getting into the karate school game.

To this end, Silver hires Karate Kid “bad boy” Mike Barnes, and hatches a plot to unstablize the relationship (more on this later) between Miyagi and LaRusso and forcing LaRusso into defending his championship again. However Miyagi flatly refuses to train LaRusso.

This leaves LaRusso in a no-win situation. Terry ups the ante by pretending that Kreese has died and when learning that Miyagi refuses to train him, offers LaRusso a chance to learn techniques; such as hitting a wooden dummy and making his knuckles bleed.

Of course, in reality Silver is putting LaRusso through a regime that slowly turns him from the “light” side to the “dark” side (yes, the plot does smell like its been ripped wholesale from “Return of the Jedi”).

During this transition, LaRusso gets involved with a girl (Jessica) and buys Miyagi a Bonsai street shop, and when Mike Barnes and his gang (including plump jewellery wearing hot-head “Snake” whose catchphrase is “You know it!”) trash the shop it forces LaRusso and his female friend to uproot Miyagi’s priceless Bonsai tree to sell to raise cash.

Anyway, LaRusso finally discovers that Silver, Barnes and Kreese are all working together and finally… Miyagi offers to train LaRusso.

The end fight sequence see’s LaRusso punched, kicked and beaten… and then he looks at Miyagi and does a dance, and wins! YEY!

Karate Kid III is by far the worst of the trilogy, but for some odd morbid reason the most fun to watch. The best parts come from the corny and rather lame plot.

Why this movie sucked

There are lots of reasons why I feel “Karate Kid III” just plain sucked. So I made a list (this is in no particular order);

  • LaRusso is a lot fatter than in Karate Kid II (Macchio was hitting 30 and was even older than Thomas Ian Griffith (Terry Silver) at time of filming
  • LaRusso just finished beating up “Chozen” in a “fight to the death” in “Karate Kid II”, yet is scared half to death by Karate “Bad Boy” Mike Barnes — in addition, he seems to have totally forgotten everything Miyagi taught him!
  • LaRusso sure whines a lot in this movie
  • Jessie Andrews — is she a love interest, or not? Of course she can’t be because she’s eleven years younger than Ralph Macchio in real life!
  • Silver, for a millionaire, seems to have a lot of time to spend on beating and torturing “19-year-old” kids (Ref:
  • Terry Silver and his maniacal laugh — heck, why don’t you just make him curl his moustache and wear a black cape and top hat too! Listen to the music, he’s evvvil!!
  • Why would kids choose a kid who won rather cheaply over a superior opponent?
  • So, LaRusso wins — but what did winning actually solve? I don’t think it solved a damn thing. Silver, Barnes, etc could still raise Miyagi’s Bonsai shop to the ground. And they could still open their karate clubs…and still bully Miyagi and LaRusso
  • Watching LaRusso getting beaten up seems to get funnier as the movie goes along?
  • That damned end fight sequence… he won by dancing???

Cult of Karate Kid III

Interestingly, the movie has built up a cult following, primarily on the IMDB forum.

Most of the chatter is centered around sheer lameness of the plot, and movie in general, covering topics such as “Give ‘The Karate Kid, Part III’ a new ending!” and “Why did Daniel turn into such a whiny little b*tch

Of course, there’s the cult built around the Snake character and his “You know it!” catchphrase.

However, if you dig hard enough you can read the inspired reading of the Disturbing ‘relationship’ between Snake and Terry Silver (note you may choke on your popcorn when reading this thread).

In summary

This movie would probably have worked if it were a standalone movie. Nah, I’m lying — this movie would have sucked if it were standalone too.

I grade this movie a: 1/10.