Sato: Out of respect for my teacher, I give you three days to mourn. When finish, I come back. You prepare to join him.
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
With the success of the first Karate Kid movie it only made sense to capitalize on said success with a sequel. The result is sadly not as good as the first movie but it still legitimately tries to continue the story. Even though it can’t be as good as its predecessor you can definitely see the effort through the flaws.
The story involves Mr. Miyagi and Daniel traveling back to Miyagi’s hometown in Okinawa to visit his dying father. Miyagi finds out that his childhood sweetheart Yukie is still single despite having been arranged to marry Miyagi’s former best friend turned rival Sato. Meanwhile Daniel takes a liking to Yukie’s niece Kumiko. But both romances are interrupted when Daniel is challenged by Sato’s nephew Chozen and Sato is still bent on settling an old fight between him and Miyagi.
It was really nice to see the story expand on Miyagi’s character. And it really feels deep in how in his actions he has tried to be honorable and has sacrificed so much happiness to maintain his code of honor. However it does come off as a bit cheesy when we find out why Miyagi left Japan and considering that Yukie always loved him and never married Sato for years it’s rather odd given that we know from the last movie Miyagi did move on.
Even though this is more Miyagi’s adventure with Daniel tagging along the bond the two have with one another is still strongly enforced in a new fresh way as Daniel is shown to be willing to go to Japan in Miyagi’s time of need. Just about every interaction they share is wonderful and heartfelt. An example is Daniel’s tender words after Miyagi dies and it’s a very moving scene that really highlights just how far things have come.
Another aspect I liked is that the opening does resolve the whole thing with Cobra Kai with Kreese going berserk and Miyagi managing to put him in place in awesome fashion but then they wrote out Daniel’s love interest Ali in a horrible manner by saying she dumped him for another guy. That being said Kumiko is a lot better of a love interest giving a tad more of a tougher appearance than Ali as seen when she defends Daniel from the bullies. However while the romantic relationships keep interest, she and Yukie are still more or less one-dimensional characters on their own.
Then there’s a matter of the villains who are definitely an interesting case. Sato as this grand capitalist is definitely fitting for a villain of the 80s. His character does have a legitimate arc and given what we know about him he feels like a legitimate threat not only as a rival to Miyagi but also the people. That being said, his rage to have Miyagi fight him wears out fast and its resolution is even more of a deus ex machina. Then there’s Sato’s nephew Chozen who’s not nearly as memorable (even his name is hardly mentioned). He mostly comes off as a whiny jerk particularly towards the end. Even the climax with him willing to take on Daniel to the death tries to be bigger but feels smaller in its weight namely because he doesn’t feel nearly as threatening as someone like Kreese or Lawrence. However the action is still good with a legitimate ending.
On the whole Karate Kid 2 is definitely a bit of a hokey movie with some of the romance, a bit of decline with the villains, and a smaller scale despite trying to be bigger. But it’s still a moderately good sequel. The returning characters still carry the movie, the relationships feel more mature, and it still keeps a relatively pleasing tone. It’s just some aspects of the new characters that definitely hold the movie back. If you’re a fan of the first movie this is worth your time. It’s trying to do something new and not just be a retread of the first movie (we’ll get that later).