The Next Karate Kid
The movie that took the most risks with the franchise formula but retained the youthful enthusiasm of its young lead.
Who says the good guy has to be a guy?
When a war veteran visits the widow of a soldier he fought alongside he promises to help her with her brooding granddaughter. When a situation at school goes beyond her control the granddaughter decides to take the veteran up on his offer to train her in martial arts as a way of dealing with the problems that begin to overwhelm her.
Keisuke Miyagi is a Medal of Honor bearer of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team from World War II who offers to be the care taker of the grand daughter of his deceased commanding officer in Boston. Julie Pierce is a karate prodigy who was taught by her father before his death with her mother in a car accident and now has anger management issues which causes her to clash with authority figures at her school. Eric McGowen is a member of a high school security fraternity called the Alpha Elite who takes an interest in Julie to the chagrin of another member. Ned Randall is the leader of the Alpha Elite who has taken a perverse interest in Julie and is jealous of her attention to Eric who he feels is too weak for her to have chosen over him. Colonel Paul Dugan is the trainer of the Alpha Elite who encourages the members of the frat to be aggressive while enforcing the school rules, but turns a blind eye to their bullying behavior off campus.
The Next Karate Kid was an interesting entry into the series as it focused in Mr. Miyagi’s past military life and the connections he made with a fellow soldier and his family. This was a commendable installment in the series that tried something new while working within the formula set by the previous films and even the short lived animated series. Hilary Swank gives a strong performance as our new Karate Kid, but everyone else new to the franchise seem to be coasting in their line delivery. Christopher Cain brought his directing style in a way that made this film feel more like his previous directing effort The Principal when it should have felt more like his directing effort in Young Guns. Mark Lee is able to flesh out the character of Miyagi more in this film, but is not able to make the villains more than a two dimensional threat. Bill Conti’s score is able to bring out the proper nostalgia when watching this film but the music I remember most from this installment is You Gotta Be by Des’ree. This is the revamp of the cinematic series that took the most chances and even though it didn’t quite reach the heights of the previous films it remembered to have heart. I rate this movie a rating of 3 out of 5.
On Video On Demand