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The Karate Kid Part III

Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 109 mins . PG . PAL


Like The Karate Kid Part II, The Karate Kid Part III starts with five or so minutes of flashback, for in reality five years had passed between the first and third films. If, like me, you are skeptical of sequels, and just plain ol' cynical about a sequel's sequel, then you will settle in to watch this one with equal parts of both. Whether or not you will enjoy The Karate Kid Part III will depend on your ability to push that cynicism aside, for while The Karate Kid Part II, although successful, wasn't really necessary from a storytelling point of view. There was even less of a need for The Karate Kid Part III.

The film starts with John Kreese (Martin Kove) fresh from his fall from grace at the All Valley Karate Championships in the first installment. It seems no one wants to be trained by a cheat, a bully and a loser. His karate school has folded, so he decides to leave town. Fortunately he bumps into an equally shady mate, a successful businessman and karate champion (is there anyone in these films who isn't a karate champion?) named Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) who promises to return his army buddy to where he belongs. He promises Kreese that he will be back running his own chain of karate schools, and he has the plan to achieve that and disgrace Daniel and Mr. Miyagi in front of a thousand people at this year's All Valley Karate Championships, where Daniel triumphed so heroically last year.

Daniel and Mr. Miyagi return from Okinawa and form a business partnership, opening a shop selling bonsai trees. Daniel is bullied and threatened by Silver's hired goons into defending his title, and against Mr. Miyagi's better judgement, he reluctantly enters. Mr. Miyagi won't train him, as karate is not about fighting, and fighting in a tournament goes against everything he believes. The previous year was necessary to defeat his tormentors, but this year it's different. Daniel finds himself a new teacher, or more correctly a new teacher finds him, but little does Daniel know he is Kreese's mystery friend, Terry Silver. The plan is to teach Daniel some illegal and suspect moves, so that in the tournament final (which he goes straight into as defending champion - yeah right), he will lose to Silver's hired champ, Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan). Uncovering the truth a fraction too late, Daniel goes back to his best friend and teacher for the further training he requires. Plans come together, and before he knows it, Daniel is back in the ring and right back where he started.

There are many similarities between the first and third films. Daniel (Ralph Macchio) is back as the focus of the story, he is to fight a proven bully in the same tournament, and there is so much that he has to learn before he even gets there. There is another chicky babe hovering around, providing another love interest (training distraction), and Daniel and Miyagi find their friendship under strain.

Although suffering a little from overkill, and from 'sequel syndrome', The Karate Kid Part III for me was no worse a film than The Karate Kid Part II. It is a little more faithful to the spirit of the original, and is a little less corny than Part II, though just as predictable. Again, the performances of the leads are strong (even if Ralph Macchio was 28 by now he doesn't look it), and it is puzzling as to why Macchio never really went on to greater things. He certainly had the looks and ability. The public can be fickle I guess.


The good news continues in The Karate Kid Part III, which is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. The image is a little softer than the previous two films, but still comes across as watchable and detail is acceptable. Colours appear a little more washed out than the previous films, especially in the earlier scenes, but does improve. Film artefacts are at a minimum, and grain is again present in many scenes, particularly outdoors.

Shadow detail is acceptable dropping off in the darker scenes. Black levels are more grey than black for much of the time, and there is some evidence of chroma and low-level noise. These are not severe, and neither is the slight aliasing.

There is no layer change in this film and it is presented on a single layer disc.


The audio transfer once more is an acceptable Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Surround mix. There is only one English option, and like the two previous films there are other language options of French, Spanish, German and Italian. Vocals are placed in the front, with the surround used exclusively for ambient sounds and the return of those awful '80s power ballads and bland rock songs. The subwoofer is all but silent, and dialogue is clear.

Low level sounds sound fine, and the karate chops come through loud and clear. There are no problems with audio synchronisation.


Like The Karate Kid, the extras on offer are rubbish. There are Filmogrpahies for the lead actors and director, and are silent text only screens.

There are two trailers included, for The Karate Kid Part II and Roughnecks: Starship Troopers - The Pluto Chronicles. Both are full frame presentations and of poor quality,

There are, according to the case at least, the same Weblinks and DVD-ROM games Catch The Fly, Find The Village, and Capture The Bonsai. I could not find these extras on this menu either so perhaps they also fire up upon insertion of the disc into a DVD-ROM.


The Karate Kid Part III is a little too similar in plotline to the first film to be truly enjoyable, and is aimed fairly and squarely at kids. It is not a bad film; it just doesn't offer anything very new in the way of a story or character development. The audio and video quality on DVD is sufficient, and rounds out the story nicely.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1739
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      And I quote...
    "Hoping the public won't notice they've simply remade Part 1, the cast and crew reunite for the third installment in the series..."
    - Terry Kemp
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          Sherwood SP 210W
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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