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The Next Karate Kid- Less of the Karate, More of the Kid!,
This review is from: The Next Karate Kid (DVD)
"The Next Karate Kid" is the fourth and as it stands final Karate Kid movie. Released in 1994, a few years after "The Karate Kid Part III", this movie no longer focuses on the Karate Kid Daniel and his relationship with his Karate teacher Mr Miyagi. It is unexplained but suffice it to say the original karate kid has grown up. In "The Next Karate Kid" we follow Mr Miyagi's relationship with a teenage girl named Julie and watch as she becomes the next karate kid.
Julie (played by Hilary Swank who went on to win an Oscar for "Boys Don't Cry") is being bullied by boys at school who are following the violent teachings of their coach. Mr Miyagi (played by Pat Morita from the original Karate Kid movies) comes into her life and helps Julie learn courage and self respect through the use of karate and belief in oneself.
In comparison to the other three Karate Kid movies, "The Next Karate Kid" is a lot less violent. The Karate Kid has been increasing the violence with each movie, but has gone the other way with this one, and is all the better for it. There is a lot less of the karate and a lot more of the kid! No longer does the karate kid become about the next fight scene or the major karate move taught by Mr Miyagi. In "The Karate Kid" Danny learnt the crane, in "The Karate Kid Part II" Danny learnt the driver punch and in "The Karate Kid Part III" Danny learnt the Miyagi family kata. These special moves were used at the end of each movie. In contrast, with "The Next Karate Kid" Mr Miyagi teaches Julie the tiger kick, but she doesn't need to use it in the final fight. In fact in this movie Mr Miyagi has the final fight. No longer is fighting the driving force of the movie, and I'm sure that's something Mr Miyagi would agree with since he hates fighting anyway.
Here in "The Next Karate Kid" we are able to focus on the characters. And from that we can really feel for them when the fight scene does come. So if you are looking for a real karate action movie I suggest another movie. The fight choreography itself is sometimes a little poor, but it is all done by the same choreographer as the original Karate Kid movies so maybe he was just having a bad day. Mr Miyagi also appears to be having a bad day, because although he wins his fights fairly easily, he does look very old when fighting. I'm sure he used to kick higher and not lose his balance in the previous movies.
Hilary Swank is truly fantastic as Julie. Hilary Swank makes you believe in Julie and her actions are perfectly credible through Hilary Swank's performance. Mr Miyagi is almost as much Mr Miyagi as he always was. I say this because some of what Mr Miyagi says is questionable. He says lines like "If must fight, win!" Not entirely sure Mr Miyagi would say that. Anyway this is down to the writing and not the wonderful performance from Pat Morita.
For me, the movie did end kind of suddenly since I was expecting a bigger fight at the end. However this is based on my experience of the other karate kid movies. This fourth installment is very understated so be prepared for that.
In conclusion, "The Next Karate Kid" is great and I'm glad it's on DVD.
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Initial post: Oct 31, 2007 8:15:58 AM PDT
This is a great review. I have never seen this movie before but you described it pretty well and now I want to.
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