bill-swift - June 13, 2013
Let me stop you right there before you tear my head off. When was the last time you watched The Karate Kid Part II? When you were 10? Believe me friend, it does not hold up as a good movie. Wonderfully horrible? Yes. Part III was just painful and Part IV with Hillary Swank is a demonic abomination. But Part II has a cheesy 80's charm that can't be beat. The first Karate Kid is a really great movie. It's perhaps one of the best coming-of-age movies of all time, (Stand By Me is number one in my opinion). But Part II was largely a rehash of the first movie with a little exotic quasi-racist Orientalism thrown in for added flavor. Oh, and a truly triumphant song by Peter Cetera.
Part II picks up immediately after Daniel LaRusso, (Ralph Macchio), beat the Cobra Kai at the tournament from the first movie. The evil Cobra Kai sensei comes after Mr. Miyagi, (Pat Morita), only to be humiliated by having his nose honked, (oooooh, snap!). Daniel and Mr. Miyagi then travel to his native Okinawa because Miyagi's dad is dying. Apparently, many years ago Miyagi ran from a challenge to a fight to the death by his friend Sato for the hand of some chick. This was dishonorable because it is. There is a lot of mysterious Asian talk about honor and stuff that sounds an awful like a White dude with no knowledge of Okinawan culture wrote it, (because it is). Daniel soon runs afoul of Sato's nephew who wants to bone the young Okinawan chick that is sweet on Daniel, (Elizabeth Shue from the first movie dumped him when she realized that Daniel-san is a douche). This all leads to a stand-off between Sato's nephew and Daniel where a technique based on a spinning drum you can buy at any gift shop in Asia allows Daniel to win. Daniel shows he's the bigger man by only honking the guy's nose and not killing him. Way to not commit murder, Daniel-san!
The movie is kind of racist in its stereotypical depiction of the people of Okinawa. Everyone lives in paper houses and has a black belt in karate. They spend all of their time talking about honor and stuff like they are about to have a samurai sword duel on a secluded island. Still, a little Oriental othering never stopped me from enjoying a movie, (I love me some Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, for example). The writing is schlocky and even more didactic about its "important life lessons" than the first movie. But the best scene in the whole movie is a love montage where Daniel and his little girlfriend run around on the beach to the sound of Peter Cetera's The Glory of Love. This may be one of the greatest maudlin love songs of the 80's and that's saying something. I guarantee that if you put this song on the next time you are with your girl that you'll get laid...OK, not guarantee...
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