Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eh . . .

Hmm, well that didn't go the way I expected.

I watched Karate Kid I on Blu-ray over the weekend. Very, very good. Even better than I remembered it.

But then I watched Karate Kid II, which I'd previously mentioned was my favorite in the series . . . and let's just say it no longer holds this honor.

Keep in mind, it's been many many years since I last saw this film. I guess I was a child still, then. Because WOW is this movie crappy! It totally felt phoned-in by the key actors, most notably Ralph Macchio. Also, I was very uncomfortable by the way all the fake Okinawans in Miyagi's home village all happened to speak the same broken English. Putting aside the ridiculousness of native Japanese people speaking to each other in a language other than their birth tongue--and very poorly at that--when did they all have the time to learn English? And at the same exact level of proficiency, too?

The worst part is when American-born Asian actors in the movie are forced to speak in this limited fashion. Why not let them speak straight up English? If you're not even going to try putting authentic Japanese with English subtitles in the film, why force capable American actors to speak in this insulting manner? Just simply embarrassing. Ugh!

Perhaps the worst affront, however, is the end fight. I honestly didn't recall it being this bad originally. But I guess that was the benefit of my youth and low standards. Because, honestly, that fight between Daniel-san and Chozen was laughable. I saw almost no display of real Karate prowess there at all. Especially from Chozen, who is supposed to be Sato's prized student and top instructor at his chain of dojos.

Anyway, I don't mean to harp on the movie so much. I still hold it in high esteem due mainly to the emotional parts of the story, which really do resonate well even to this day. As I mentioned in that earlier post, the scene where Daniel comforts his sensei after the death of Miyagi's father is still beyond touching and brought me close to tears. God, I love that scene! As someone who's lost a parent, it captures exactly all the stages of grief and guilt one feels in the aftermath.

Anyway, KKII is still a great film. Just very flawed. I now place it in 2nd place within the trilogy, behind the original movie. Karate Kid III is still turd pellets, however. Yet, I'll eventually add that to my collection once it finally drops on Blu-ray, too. What can I say? I'm a completest like that.

What are your thoughts on the second movie?


  1. Dude, I'm sorry you were disillusioned. It's a very rare 80s movie that lives up to the hype years later when you watch it as an adult.

    Personally, I still like KK2 as much as I did back then, but for different reasons now. Whenever I watch it, I relive my first experiences watching the movie. It's really cool.

    I agree about the broken English, but at the time it was a HUGE step forward. Remember, there was a time when Asian's weren't allowed on screen AT ALL in American films.

    That's one of the reasons I'm dying to see the new version of KK. Just from the trailers, you can see a greater understanding of the Chinese culture.

  2. did you watch the memoirs of geisha? there was a few chinese girls (michelle yeoh, gong li and zhang zi yi) pretending to be japanese, and speaking english. anymore hilarious can that be? LOLZ...

  3. True, ShinLoo. That movie was pretty ridiculous, too. For almost the same reasons.

    Rodney, I take into account the passage of time when re-watching cherished 80s movies. The first Karate Kid, for instance, is far cheesier in certain aspects than I remembered. But yet, where it counts, it's far better for reasons I could not readily appreciate when I was a kid. The theme of balance--physically and spiritually--the focus between Karate for defense and Karate for offense, and the theme of cultural displacement are all aspects I did not catch at all as a child. But all of which makes the first film a very nuanced production that borders almost on genius.

    In Karate Kid II, you get none of that! Everything is painted in such broad strokes. Almost as if all who were involved were just cashing in a paycheck.


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