We've never made a secret about our love for the Karate Kid franchise, even the rather forgettable third installment. There was one gap on our ledger, however: we have somehow never seen its follow-up, the number-less "The Next Karate Kid".
Well, "somehow" has an explanation: the teenage us couldn't understand turning over the franchise from Daniel-san to... a girl? But now, almost thirty years removed from such ridiculous prejudices, and spurred by the rumor that that girl, played by Hilary Swank, will appear on a new season of "Cobra Kai", we decided to watch. Besides, there are worse fates than spending two hours with the wisdom of Mr. Miyagi.
"The Next Karate Kid" is... not good. Somehow taking place in Boston and having little to no connection to the previous three films (other than Mr. Miyagi, of course), it suffers from an awful script, terrible acting (with one exception), 25-year-olds playing high schoolers, a cartoonish villain with completely unexplained motivation, a love story that lacks an ounce of chemistry (Oh, Daniel-san and Ali with an "i"!), and very little karate. And yet, there is one redeeming factor: the young, radiant, pre-fame Swank, who rises above the milquetoast material and shows glimpses of the star and two-time Oscar winner she will become. (Not a Jew, thanks for asking.)
As for Mr. Miyagi? Well, we'll leave you with the following wisdom:
"Before, live with friend, Daniel-san. Daniel-san come Miyagi room, Miyagi go Daniel-san room. No big thing."