- Director: John G. Avildsen
- Produced by Jerry Weintraub
- Based on characters created by Robert Mark Kamen
- Release date: June 30, 1989 (USA)
The mutual understanding and respect that exists between friends, such as Mr. Miyagi and Daniel, is not only hard to find, but practically impossible to break. Or at least, so I thought…But according to the Joker, ” Madness, as you know, is like gravity, all it takes is a little push.” And our duo suffers such by being pushed to their limits. Unraveling their bond like a domino-effect, all thanks to a kind face.
After the last two Karate Kid films, you see our duo invest in karate and overcome their bullies. But lo and behold, the tournament may have only put an end to the enemies at hand, but not to the root of the problem. That being the influence given to certain individuals, not the individuals themselves. It all revolves around the “roots” of one’s upbringing. In other words, Cobra Kai and it’s teachings are the true culprits here.
The owner of the Cobra Kai dojos, a close friend of John Kreese (the dojo teacher who trained Johnny from the first film), is a man named Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith). A man who is willing to do anything to get what he wants, regardless of the misfortune it may inflict on others. When John Kreese (Martin Kove) is distraught over his loss, he goes to return the dojo keys to Mr. Silver, but is rejected of his proposal. Instead, he is rewarded by being sent to Tahiti for a vacation to recollect himself in a sense, while Mr. Silver begins plotting revenge on the culprits responsible for John’s downfall. Which is of course, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio).
Now this devious devil decides to come at his enemies as a friend, rather than an enemy. Working wonders for him in his attempt to deceive his enemies. A young Jean-Claude Van Damme wannabe, Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan), is hired by Mr. Silver to compete in the tournament to take on Daniel, in hopes of giving him the beating of a lifetime. Drastic measures were taken by the fierce bullies to get Daniel to compete once again in the tournament. But the one thing that truly shook Daniel was his own psychology.
Before, Daniel always followed Mr. Miyagi’s wise advice, but this time around Mr. Miyagi was preoccupied with other issues, causing Daniel to branch out on his own. In all honesty though, Daniel is now old enough to make his own decisions considering he’s out of high school, which qualifies him as a fully fledged adult. I can say that Daniel has matured much in this film, but he still needs to learn to control his temper. By sticking to Miyagi and his teachings, Daniel is a calm, rational thinker. But when he decides to stray from those important ideals, Daniel becomes this whole other person who is a lost, irritable guy lacking fear. Desperate to better himself, he turns to a new sensei: Terry Silver, and the madness escalates from there…
If you ask me, Terry Silver is a psychopath and a sociopath all mixed into one body without a soul. Some extremely wealthy dojo-entrepreneur with chloride sludge dumping in Borneo and no schedule is a suspicious individual, if you ask me. No other job or business was ever mentioned that could explain his illustrious income. Only answer I can fathom, is that Mr. Silver sold his soul to acquire the lavish lifestyle that he lives. It would explain why he appears “soul-less”, and why he manages to always attract negative people into his life while corrupting them even more. Or maybe, he’s a dark force himself, sent to bring about chaos to those he encounters. Either way, he’s bad luck that’s best left alone.
On the good side, Daniel helps Mr. Miyagi out big time by helping him to achieve his retirement early. The money that he had intended to use for college, ended up going towards Mr. Miyagi’s dream of owning a bonsai tree shop. If all goes well for their business, Mr. Miyagi would make sure Daniel continues his schooling, that I’m sure of. So, I wouldn’t say that it was unwise of Daniel to act so boldly. But is was foolish of him to rely on ideals that went against his own.
There’s also a love interest once again for Daniel, considering the last one ended unfortunately, but is cut short because she decides to return back to her homeland and work it out with a former lover. However, in her time spent before leaving, Jessica Andrews (Robyn Lively) provides a mature non-sexual friendship that Daniel needed to experience, considering it’s a necessary part of growing up. In a way, Jessica helped Daniel in ways Mr. Miyagi couldn’t, by being understanding while also questioning his motives. I believe she made Daniel stronger by causing him to realize that his happiness doesn’t (and shouldn’t) rely on his relationship with women. Reminds me of the transformation seen in Tony Manero (played by John Travolta) in the movie Saturday Night Fever. His character matures by befriending a woman as well with the same kind of relationship. (We, women, tend to have that effect on others. It’s a gift.)
By the way, what’s with Daniel always mentioning that Mr. Miyagi is like Spiderman?
Overall, I would recommend this movie to most ages, except very young kids considering there’s one line that’s disturbing to young viewers. When the confrontations happen between Mike and Daniel, Jessica always seems to be present and because of it she gets added to the equation. If Daniel were to back out of the agreement made, Mike comments that him and his two buddies will do something to her. That kind of dialogue should not be in a kids film. But other than that, it was a blast to watch this film! It teaches great lessons and helps one understand the dynamics of growing up. I give it 6.5 out of 10 stars!
One can only wonder what became of our duo after the trilogy, but perhaps we’ll find out this year in 2018. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka will star in a 10-episode, half-hour series titled Cobra Kai on subscription service YouTube Red. Surely it won’t be the same without Mr. Miyagi, but it’ll be interesting to see where it goes.