April 19, 2017

Karate Kid III

To download, right-click here and choose, "Save file as..."

(A Note From Derek: With it being Easter weekend, there was always the possibility that someone wouldn't be able to do the show. Up until Easter Sunday, we all thought we were good to go. However, Jake ended up not making it because of family obligations, so it was just Larry and myself this time around. And I know we had agreed that we would watch a Jackie Chan film if one of the guys couldn't make it, but it was short notice, and I wanted to get this flick out of the way, so we went ahead and watched the planned movie.)

The third movie in trilogies is almost always a grab bag situation. Take the Star Wars trilogies, for instance. Sure, Revenge of the Sith was the best of the prequels, but that's not really a high bar to reach. Whereas, Return of the Jedi, the third in the original trilogy, while a pretty good film, was hampered by ridiculous, murderous teddy bears. Then there's the third film in the Godfather trilogy. It is a turd, wrapped in burnt hair, surrounded by awfulness.

And Thai Chi.
This week's movie, Karate Kid III, falls firmly into that last category. Let's recap, shall we?

In the original film, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) moves to California from New Jersey, and he is being picked on by a gang from the local karate school, Cobra Kai. The maintenance man at the apartment complex where Daniel lives, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), helps Daniel learn karate to defend himself, entering him in the All-Valley Karate Tournament so he can fight the Cobra Kai guys and somehow earn their respect...? Anyway, he wins.

Sewing the seeds of his own demise.
In the second movie, which starts right where the first one left off, Miyagi and Daniel see the Cobra Kai teacher, John Kreese (Martin Kove), assaulting his students because they lost, and Miyagi saves their bacon, leaving Kreese with bloodied hands and a deep sense of shame. They they go to Japan to see Miyagi's father before he dies, and they end up saving a fishing village from Miyagi's former best friend, Sato, as well as a typhoon, for some reason. Daniel fights Sato's nephew and wins.

This movie takes up just before Daniel and Miyagi return from Japan. Kreese, having shown himself to be a colossal asshole, has lost all of his students, his bills are piling up, and he is ready to call it quits. When he stops by his army buddy Terry Silver's (Thomas Ian Griffith) mansion to drop off the keys to the dojo, Silver, who owns the place, says all Kreese needs is a vacation in Tahiti and ships him off with a promise that this LaRusso kid and his teacher will pay for what they did. (What they did was win, fair-and-square, and show Kreese to be the utter dick bucket we all knew he was, so it's obvious that they need to be made to suffer.)

As Kreese is leaving, Daniel and Miyagi are returning home, only to find that their apartment complex has been sold, and Daniel's mother is back in New Jersey to take care of her ailing uncle. Miyagi lets Daniel stay at his house so Daniel can start college while Mrs. LaRusso is away. Daniel, ever the idiot, spends his college tuition to lease a shithole building so Miyagi can start a bonsai store called "Mr. Miyagi's Little Trees".

Everything wrong with this movie
in one shot.
Let that sink in for a second, won't you? In the first movie, Daniel fought for his own honor. In the second, he fought for his friend Mr. Miyagi's honor. In this one, he opens a specialty store that has little to no chance of turning a profit...er, for his honor...?

Like the other movies, Daniel has a love interest--in this case, the young lady who runs the pottery store across from thier bonsai store. Her name is Jessica (Robyn Lively), and she is the most 80s-looking female in the whole wide world. However, he doesn't have a chance to ruin this relationship because she already has a boyfriend, and she cockblocks him almost immediately. It's for the best, really.

The closest he gets to a hug.
Once the whole bonsai store story is established, we move on to the whole Kreese thing, which has been treated as a subplot up to this point. Terry Silver first dresses up like a not-so-well-off former army buddy of Kreese, whom he tells Miyagi and Daniel committed suicide due to the shame brought on by losing the tournament the year before and the embarrassment of being caught showing everyone what a jerk he really was. They believe him instantly, and then go back to getting the shop ready to open.

Silver, meanwhile, hires Karate Bad Boy Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) to pick fights with Daniel and convince him to enter into this year's All-Valley Karate Tournament. He also assigns a pair of goons, including the director's son (Jonathan Avildsen, who looks like a pudgy Sean Astin as Snake), to help. They show up at the bonsai shop and demand Daniel sign-up, then break some stuff. Then they show up again, beat up Daniel and Jessica, and then get a serious beatdown when Miyagi shows up. But that doesn't stop them from doing donuts in front of the store and taunting our heroes.

Karate Bad Boys!
The rest is just an ongoing tedious argument between Daniel, who wants to join the tournament, and Miiyagi, who says that he didn't teach Daniel karate to compete, but to defend himself, which seems reasonable. Daniel, however, is having none of that, and, when Silver's paid thugs steal all of the bonsai trees that had been prepared for the store and then almost destroy one that Miyagi had brought with him from Japan when he first came to the U.S., he signs up for the tournament. He then goes to Silver, who offered to help him train if Miyagi wouldn't.

Thus, we get to the heart of Sliver's plan, which is to make Daniel hurt himself a lot. "Make his knuckles bleed," was what Kreese requested, and that's what Silver plans to do...

This led to an argument...
Which led to a written apology.
Will Daniel see through the pointless, uncalled for, and ridiculous plan of Kreese and Silver? Or will he need Miyagi to, once again, pull his fat out of the fire? Will Daniel defend his title against Karate Bad Boy Mike Barnes? AND WHAT ABOUT THE BONSAI STORE? WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BONSAI STORE? You'll have to tune in to find out!

Who gives a shit?
Larry picked this one, despite knowing how awful it was. He was bothered by the fact that Jessica tucked her jeans into her socks, and was somewhat disappointed that there was no Ghost-like pottery scene. He also thinks it's funny that Karate Bad Boy Mike Barnes is called a Karate Bad Boy. The guy just isn't all that intimidating. He does, however, enjoy Terry Silver's over-the-top evil. It's almost cartoonish.

Derek hated it. All of it. Sure, Silver is evil (his company is called DynaTox, for crying out loud!), but why would he suspend all of his business activities just to have some kid kick the shit out of another kid? Also, could Daniel be more of a whiny punk? Every single problem this kid has is his own fault, and he deserves a beating. Miyagi is the single voice of reason in this film, and even he sees how pointless it all is, which is why he spends most of his time in the bonsai shop.

So put on your gi, bow to your sensei, and listen to this week's episode!