Facts to know:
- Directed by: John G. Avildsen, Produced by: Jerry Weintraub
- Film debut of Tamlyn Tomita.
- Although set in Okinawa, the film was actually shot in Oahu, Hawaii. The island was chosen because of its similar climate to Japan, its large Okinawan population and the convenience of shooting on US soil.
- Actually earned more at the box office than The Karate Kid (1984).
The story continues from where Part I ended – literally. Just after the tournament, where a humiliated (and unfit) dojo teacher seeks justice by bullying his students in front of a crowded parking lot. I feel sorry for Johnny (William Zabka) actually. He did exactly what his sensei wanted of him, but still it held no satisfaction. Luckily, Mr. Miyagi is to the rescue once again! Proving a point that death is not the best answer, nor is it the right answer. So while the first film focuses on learning the basics of karate, the second film focuses on the backbone of karate and what its core beliefs are. Lessons that Ralph Macchio’s character, Daniel LaRusso, had to learn the hard way.
Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki “Pat” Morita) receives ill news of his father in Okinawa, Japan, and a change of plans were set into motion. He had to return to his long (but not forgotten) past. However, an old rivalry between his childhood friend could tempt him to break the family’s code of honor. Miyagi’s conscience constantly struggled with his morals against his nemesis Sato (Danny Kamekoma). The whole film reveals that doing the right thing may not be the easiest path to take, but always worth it in the end.
How suiting that this feud between the elderly rivals transfers to their best (or only) students as well. Developing between Daniel-san and Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto), Sato’s leading henchmen. A most angry individual with strong ideals to what honor is, and he is willing to go to great lengths to uphold his family’s honor. We learn that in Okinawa, honor has no time limit. Honor determines the respect one receives and qualifies where one stands in the family. It can even lay ruin to family lines if the honor is not upheld properly. Sato displays this vividly because his pride, and yes his honor, was damaged in the past and he hasn’t been able to let it go. That would explain his bitterness indeed.
Good news is though, as much anger and hatred as there is was shown, there is love blooming to the same degree. Not with the rivals – the ladies. Flames reignited with Miyagi’s long-lost love, Yuki (played by Yuji Okumoto), which literally brought tears to my eyes. On the other hand, seeing Daniel fall for the lovely Tamlyn Tomita as Kumiko made butterflies fly in my stomach. Complete with cheesy 80’s music; talking on and on about a knight in shining armor and saving love..? Strange, but true. Song is called “Glory of Love”, performed by Peter Cetera.
On a side note, I would like to thank Mr. Miyagi for making a very good point (among many other valuable points) in this film…”Never keep lady waiting.” Fellas, remember that one.
With the setting taking place in Japan, traditional-style, it brings serenity and chaos in all its glorious beauty. Just when you think “the end” is near for somebody, they are left with their lives intact and their dignity shattered. Some see mercy as a weakness, but that is false by a long shot. It’s the exact opposite actually. Allowing one to live with themselves puts them in the direction of rebirth…like a phoenix rising from the ashes, taking on a new life, to rebuild themselves anew….