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Rated PG
Copyright 1989 Columbia Pictures
Reviewed by Ben Black on 31 March 2007

The Characters:  

  • Daniel LaRusso - A 28-year-old Ralph Macchio playing the wussiest 19-year-old Karate champion ever
  • Mr. Miyagi - Pat Morita plays the wise sensei for the third time. Hard to believe he was nominated best supporting actor for the first one...
  • John Kreese - The evil sensei from the first movie; this time he wants to take revenge on LaRusso and Miyagi for making him lose his business...oh wait, it wasn't really their fault, but maybe the fact that he assaulted a student in the parking lot after he lost a karate match!
  • Terry Silver - Thomas Ian Griffith in the best role of the movie! He's an old Vietnam buddy of Kreese's who is now the CEO of a sleazy corporation that dumps nuclear waste. Kreese enlists his help and resources to get back at Daniel-San. Silver's role is essentially to be evil and train Daniel to the point of physical and psychological pain.
  • Jessica Andrews - The love interest who isn't really a love interest because she's eleven years younger than Ralph Macchio in real life
  • Mike Barnes - Karate's Bad Boy; Silver enlists his services as a rival karate champion in order to intimidate Daniel into fighting
  • Snake - The son of the director steals many scenes as Silver's henchman houseboy

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Last year's All Valley Karate Tournament champion Daniel LaRusso, fresh off his trip to Okinawa with his Sensei Mr. Miyagi, returns home to Los Angeles. He has defended his honor with karate twice now, and all is right with the world. Until...the evil sensei from the first movie, John Kreese (possibly the only bad guy who didn't come around and be all right at the end of that movie), has lost all his students, and is in somewhat of a depression. He reasons that it's all because of Daniel and his "slope teacher" Miyagi that he's in this current funk, so naturally he wants revenge.

Kreese goes to his old Vietnam buddy Terry Silver, who now owns Dynatox Industries, a big company that dumps nuclear waste in third world countries. We only know this for the benefit of making Silver seem even more evil, by the way--it has nothing to do with the plot. Apparently Kreese saved Silver's life in Vietnam many times, so they have a very tight bond. They started the Cobra Kai karate dojo together, and so Kreese's pain of losing that business becomes Silver's pain. He vows to correct this wrongdoing, and makes a promise to Kreese that he will get revenge for him. He sends Kreese off to Tahiti on vacation, cackles evilly, and starts getting the wheels in motion for his diabolical scheme.

Daniel is now ready to start college, and is living at Mr. Miyagi's house. The two have a bond that is tighter than ever, so when Mr. Miyagi runs into money issues, Daniel is there to back him up. He uses his tuition money to buy a shop for Miyagi to live out his dream of selling bonsai trees (what a dream, huh?). Daniel also wants to defend his title of champion, as it's the most important thing he's ever done in his life. But when he asks Mr. Miyagi, Miyagi says no, giving the reason that karate is for defending honor, not for defending trophy. Sappy as the movie is, Daniel finally agrees, and the relationship between the two becomes even more solid.

We also get the standard chick in the story, who takes the form of the spunky, girl-next-door type Jessica Andrews. She and Daniel become fast friends, but not anything more after it is revealed that she has a boyfriend (actually it was probably the producers of the movie realizing that Ralph Macchio was eleven years older than the actress who plays Jessica, and it would be creepy to build a relationship).

Yep, all is great. That is until Silver's plan is put in motion, and he hires a punk karate champion to intimidate Daniel. This punk (named Mike Barnes) starts coming around and beating up Daniel, even going so far as to kick Jessica! Daniel-San knows he has to defend his honor, but for some reason, Mr. Miyagi still thinks it's all about glory in the tournament, and refuses to train Daniel.

Then Silver comes around to Miyagi's house, and acts like a really good guy. He apologizes for his friend Kreese's "dishonorable actions," and gets on Daniel's good side. Because of this, Daniel goes to Silver when Miyagi won't train him.

Silver teaches him the dark side of karate, so to speak, and creates tension in Daniel and Miyagi's relationship. Daniel turns into a monster, and a pained one at that (Silver's evil plan also includes hurting Daniel during their karate workouts).

When Daniel realizes it's gone too far, he tells Silver he's done. However, Silver then reveals that he's been in league with Mike Barnes the whole time! Just when they're ready to beat the crap out of Daniel, Miyagi shows up and heroically fights the villains. Only then does he agree to help Daniel defend his honor once more.

The Karate Kid Part III is by far the worst in quality of the trilogy, but by far the most fun to watch. The best parts come from the corny lines and inane plot workings. Just have fun with this one--it's so bad it's great!

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Millionaire CEO's have nothing better to do than to torture 19-year-olds who run afoul of their Vietnam buddies
  • You can nearly pull it off if you want to make a 28-year-old seem 19, and a 27-year-old seem 40. (Yes, the villain is actually a year younger than the "teenage" hero.)
  • Parents will allow their teenage son to travel across the country as a hired karate thug
  • Waving your hands around in the air will do what kicks and punches cannot
  • If one old man is a talented martial artist, three thugs will attack him one-at-a-time, and will go at half-speed

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • Daniel's weight fluctuates throughout the movie
  • Daniel gets a date with Jessica, says "7 o'clock sounds great!" turns around, and nearly trips over his own feet
  • Daniel is kicked in the stomach and holds his stomach like the biggest wuss ever
  • The little mourning black cloth on top of Kreese's picture in the dojo is a particularly nice touch
  • How did Silver know that Daniel would be right there at that specific time?
  • Mike Barnes kicks how many guys in the nuts and isn't disqualified?


  • Terry Silver: "Look at this; 10 years ago, nuclear was the preferred waste. You could dump it anywhere! Now everybody's a detective. I'm lucky if I can make one deal a YEAR without being indicted!'
  • Terry Silver: "This slope, what's his name - Miyagi - and that punk kid - I'm gonna get them for what they did to you. They made you suffer, so I'm gonna make them suffer... and suffer and suffer and when I think they've suffered enough, then I start with the pain."
  • Daniel Larusso: "Why don't you just take off."
    Dennis: (shoves Daniel hard) "You take off!"
  • Terry Silver: "You think this is the end of it, old man? I'm gonna open Cobra Kai dojos all over this Valley. Hell, I might even teach for free! From now on, all that anyone will know about is Cobra Kai karate! John Kreese's karate! You won't even be a memory!"
    Daniel Larusso: "Yes, he will. You won't."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note karatekidiii1.wav Daniel: "This tree? He brought this all the way back from Okinawa."
Jessica: "Yea, but, I mean what if he tells you to put it back? I mean what if...seriously, what if he does?"
Daniel: "He's not going to tell me to put it back. Believe me, I know this guy. That bonsai shop was his dream come true."
Green Music Note karatekidiii2.wav Daniel: "Oh, Mr. Miyagi, look at this. Look at this. Look at my sweatshirt - I've got some poor guy's blood all over me. Everything you taught me, I did the opposite. Everything, I couldn't have been worse. I did everything wrong!"
Green Music Note karatekidiii3.wav Daniel: "Hey, I'm not going to fight. You can't make me fight."
Silver: "You don't have to. You can just stand there and let him kick your ass!" (Evil guys all laugh.)
Green Music Note karatekidiii4.wav Mr. Miyagi: "Daniel-son, this bonsai have strong roots, same as you. This tree now choose how it grow. So must you choose how you grow."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipkaratekidiii1.mpg - 2.7m
Daniel suddenly finds himself in a nest of Cobra Kai vipers. "Hey, this is not funny, you guys. Cut it out...ouch!"

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