"The first Karate Kid literally spoke to any kid who felt out of place and picked on. Strongly enough, it was a concept played out over and over again. But the evenhanded direction of Avildsen made it a triumph. So what do you do for a sequel? You get real. Not that the first one wasn't real. The threat to Daniels safety in the first movie was always there and fully realized. But take this student and mentor pair and send them to Okinawa, and you have a whole different ball game. The story centers more on Miagi and his journey home to see his dying father, and facing demons he left as a young man. Asian culture takes certain things much more seriously. Honor in this movie is a subject brought up constantly, and we see it from Daniels perspective; as an American who does not understand why these people do things they way they do in the name of honor. As Daniel comes to grips with this life code in the small village of Miagi's youth, he realizes that the bully who has targeted him this time does not hold back. He's ready to kill Daniel. He has no qualms about it either and feels it's justified. As Daniel swoons a beautiful Asian girl and finds he's getting in deeper with the affairs of Miagi's past, he holds his ground, and his good upbringing helps to hold his own honor in place. In the end, the climatic fight scene is what really makes the movie. The whole story builds up to that moment. The idea is that this fight is real, there is no competition, no points. This is not a tournament, this is not a spectacle. Daniel is fighting to stay alive. And it is more brutal then the rules laden tournament of the first movie. Morita and Maccio play off each other so well it's obvious these two have great chemistry. The teacher/student relationship is apparent from the first scene despite their polar opposite personalities. As in the first movie, each character gives the other what they are missing. Daniel gets a father figure/teacher, Miagi gets a son/student. This movie is just as good as the first in my opinion, just different. A different set of circumstances played similarly to the first one. It's as different as it can be while still holding the same values. I give it four stars only because of some very minor inconsistencies but overall, it is a very good film."
One step above the Crane technique... (Pt. 2 of 3)
Underground Reborn | ny | 12/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You could tell from the ending of the first `Karate Kid' that this was only the beginning of the story. The continuing journey of Daniel LaRusso bursts wide open in 'The Karate Kid Part II' Mr. Miyagi must return to his home land of Okinawa to see his dying father, but he is also well aware that the scars of his past are still there waiting for him after all this time. Daniel learns of Mr. Miyagi's best friend Sato and how Miyagi broke the village tradition to ask for the hand of his best friend's betrothed wife. Daniel learns through his trip that karate is more than tournaments and trophies. He learns that it is about honor and pride. He soon understands that there are people who take honor very seriously that they will stop at nothing seek out the purity of honor if it has been disgraced. That means anything is possible, even a fight to the death. Only through the sacred rules and techniques of the Miyagi family karate can Daniel overcome the tremendous obstacles he will face at this step in his journey.
This movie is one of the fabled sequels that live up to its predecessor. The story is darker and Pat Morita's performance is his best by far. I am surprised that he didn't get nominated a second time for an academy award. The villains are just as evil as the Cobra Kais (who actually make a brief appearance in the film) and the final fight shows that karate is not about fancy moves and glory. The message learned from `Part II' is that when it comes to fighting the most powerful technique is the one that your opponent doesn't see. "
The 80's tradition comes back
B. Inoue | Tacoma, WA United States | 08/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I should be considered an expert on this film but I'm not going to claim it. Right now I'm in Kyoto Japan and I am Japanese-American. So this movie has a very special meaning to me. I saw it when I was very little and loved every minute of it. I was always asking my mom if certain things were correct or if the Japanese was correct. Albeit now the Japanese Slang is a bit old and the issues are a bit ancient (not to also mention most of the movie was filmed in Pat Morita's home state of Hawaii). This movie still speaks to me. I like it better than the first and truthfully I think whether it's better or not is just a state of opinion not actual quality. I just think the second one speaks to me more than the first. I wasn't the skinny outcast being picked on in high school. However, I recommend seeing both the first and second not only because of the messages relayed within about honor, respect, love, and the bond between an aged fisherman and a kid from New Jersey, but also because these movies have some of the greatest one liners ever! "Daniel-san nobody perfect." Check them out and see what I mean. Relive the 80's and come back to the depressing reality TV era. BTW I'm reviewing the Japanese DVD. They just remade all the movies here on DVD for about $15 each. So I'm picking these up."
An oversight by the editors...
steve sperry | Deland, Fl United States | 01/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Karate Kid II is not only the best of the series, it is a premier movie of the eighties. In the beginning it was only made to build upon the successful sequel theory, but this film was part of a greater movement; Kid II was instrumental in the popular acceptance of "Eastern" culture. For Asian-American children, it provided a springboard into popular white society and created a mystique and awe about anything Asian. For some, respect grew from the disciplined culture that was eloquently protrayed throughout Kid II. For many others, Asians were again equivocated with martial arts and respected for an element of the eyes. No matter what the initial reasonings for acceptance or respect, it did lead to a general perception that Asian culture was something to be admired and that if cross-bred with American culture, there could be a tremendously successful result. Karate Kid II plays on all the emotions of American capacity and is both sad and inspiring. If an editor chooses to dismiss any piece as only "for kids," then unfortunately his narrow sightedness will never allow him to write an article worth reading. Buy it. Watch it. Take it to heart."
Mr. Miyagi's Personal Journey aka Karate Kid II
Stephanie Sandlin | Spokane, Wa | 11/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Karate Kid II.
Such division in the views on this movie. Chalk me up as one who loved this one. I'll go as far to give it a notch up on Karate Kid I.
Several reasons for my views on this. One - Additional depth of the characters. I love that Mr. Miyagi is the center of the story. The movie gave him a back story and explained him much more. It humanized him. Second - It isn't all about Laruso. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed the first film and its themes. It was brillance on the part of the writers make Laruso a secondary character to Miyagi in this one. Third - the themes are intact and expanded upon (honor, loyality, love etc) others have mentioned it. I whole heartidly agree.
On the sappy front I love Daniel's relationship with Kumiko. It was touching and felt much more honest and real opposed to Daniel's love intrest in I. Too bad Kumiko didn't return for III. Could've been some nice development there.
In regards to the acting - Its very good contary to some others opinons expressed here. The only exception being Miyagi's father's death scene. I thought the "death" was the only weak acting point. The scene is good, just the actor who played Miyagi's father I think overplayed the death. Other actors peform well.
Overall, this film avoids the cliches and trappings of sequels. It develops the characters and shows you new sides to them. It also keeps the themes intact of the original.
This film still holds up well. Its a bit different in that it doesn't play the bullying card the way the first movie does. It isn't just about Daniel and winning respect. This one is about support and love to a friend and mentor in his time of need.
A wonderful sequel that has earned its spot next to I.