Franchise Weekend – Mulan (1998)

Director: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook

Writer: Rite Hsiao, Chris Sanders, Philip LaZbnik, Raymond Singer, Eugenia Bostwick-Singer (Screenplay) Robert D San Souci (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, Pat Morita, Miguel Ferrer, BD Wong

 

Plot: To save her father from death in the army, a young maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China’s greatest heroines in the process.


Tagline – This time, the princess saves the prince.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, But Dark Adventure Film

 

Story: Mulan starts in ancient China with Shan-Yu and the invading Hun attack. Mulan is a young woman that hasn’t been following the traditions on the family, she isn’t ready to just be a bride, when her father is summoned to serve in the impending war, she wants to help, running away to fight in her father’s place. Spirit dragon Mushu is sent to be her guardian on this adventure, to return her safely, but Mulan has other plans.

Mulan sets out to join the army in her father’s place under the leadership on Captain Shang, in a hope to rebuild her family honour that she has disrespected.

 

Thoughts on Mulan

 

Characters – Mulan is a young woman, she has been raised to follow tradition, something she wants to break and taking her father’s place in the army shows the independence she wants to achieve. This is a strong anti-princess role which is something Disney broke the mould with. Mushu is the guardian dragon that needs to rescue and watch over Mulan, though he mostly just causes trouble for her. This character is here for all the laughs in the movie. Shan-Yu is the leader of the Hun that are attacking China, his armies are ruthless when it comes to battle, with him being a great and powerful warrior.

StoryThe story follows one young woman that wants to make a difference in a world where only men can become the leaders of the armies, she breaks tradition to make a difference and become great. This brings us the idea of breaking away from the tradition just because the people tell you follow that path. For Disney this movie broke their own traditions of have a princess in distress needing rescuing and now feels like the trailblazer it wanted to be.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure side of the film does give us real peril because it takes Mulan into a war battle which has taken lives of many, this could be slightly too dark for the whole family to enjoy too.

SettingsThe film brings us to Ancient China which brings us a new animated setting for an American movie, we have the mountain range which looks beautiful and the towers that show the empires built.

AnimationThe animation is the usual top notch from Disney never looking out of place for their level of excellency


Scene of the Movie –
Mountain range attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me For me Mushu got annoying after a while.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful animated movie that does show us the courage one woman showed to save her country against tradition.

 

Overall: Disney’s last good movie of the late 90s.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Next Karate Kid (1994)

Director: Christopher Cain

Writer: Mark Lee (Screenplay) Robert Mark Kamen (Characters)

Starring: Pat Morita, Hilary Swank, Michael Ironside, Constance Towers, Chris Conrad

 

Plot: Mr. Miyagi is back and he takes a new pupil under his wing; a troubled adolescent girl.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: For the Franchise Fans

 

Story: The Next Karate Kid starts as Mr Miyagi (Morita) is being involved in tribute to his fallen brothers in war, where he spends time with widow Louisa (Towers) of one of his best friends at war. Louisa is trying to raise her granddaughter Julie (Swank) after the death of her parents, but this is becoming difficult as Julie is becoming a rebellious teenager.

Mr Miyagi offers to take Julie under his wing hoping to offer her the discipline in life that she requires. The principal Col Dugan (Ironside) runs a strict regime on the students and soon clashes with Miyagi. Miyagi offers to teach Julie the art of karate to help her express the main she is feeling about her lost parents.

 

Thoughts on The Next Karate Kid

 

Characters – Mr Miyagi is remembering a lost friend from war, one of the first people he taught karate, now he takes his granddaughter under his wing to help her learn to express her pain from losing her parents, he uses karate passing on the discipline he had learnt through his life. Julie is the rebellious teenager that is filled with anger because of the death of her parents. Under Mr Miyagi she starts to learn karate to give her discipline in life. Colonel Dugan controls the students in the high school, he is strict pushing the students too far too often.

PerformancePat Morita is good giving us the same performance we have seen last time out, he doesn’t over play any part of his performance though. Hillary Swank is one of the big plus points in this movie, we know how far she went after this film and it shows us just what potential she had. Michael Ironside is always good as a villain because he is always that twisted when he plays these roles.

StoryThe story follows Mr Miyagi passing on his discipline to accept life a is comes and being prepared to defend yourself and stand up for yourself. While it is strange not having Daniel involved and we do fall into the idea that a young girl would be more interested in make-up, dancing and dresses, does feel degrading to what the film is meant to be teaching. Otherwise this does follow the same trends as the others which will keep the fans happy.

Action/Family/SportsWe don’t get much fighting in this film, sadly most of the high school fights are between boys not the one learning karate, it does feel like a family film again as it does have moments of humour too.

SettingsThe film does have new setting which changes the tone of the training too, it doesn’t have the streets smart feel to the setting being used.

Scene of the Movie – Learnt the kick.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too girly.

Tagline – It’s ancient wisdom against teenage spunk. 1,000 years of karate tradition is about to get a kick in the pants.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the films that you will only enjoy if you have enjoyed the previous three, it sends the same message but cuts down on the karate.

 

Overall: one of the all the fans to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Karate Kid Part III (1989)

Director: John G Avildsen

Writer: Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Robyn Lively, Thomas Ian Griffith, Martin Kove, Sean Kanan

 

Plot: Ostracised villain John Kreese attempts to gain revenge on Daniel and Miyagi, with the help of a Vietnam War comrade, the wealthy owner of a toxic waste disposal business.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Continuation of the Story

 

Story: The Karate Kid Part III starts as Daniel (Macchio) and Mr Miyagi (Morita) return to America, Daniel alone leaving his new love back in Japan, while his mother is now caring for a family member leaving Miyagi to look after the college bound Daniel. Back in America Sensei John Kreese (Kove) hasn’t recovered since the defeat of his students in the first film, teaming up with his old Vietnam soldier friend Terry Silver (Griffith) wanting to get revenge on Daniel and Miyagi.

When it the one-year anniversary of Daniel’s title win is coming around he gets invited to defend his title, but Miyagi doesn’t want him to need to defend it, the two do start their own bonsai business which Silver is determined to sabotage as he wants Daniel to be embarrassed by his new champion Mike Barnes (Kanan), while Daniel defend his title and honour against the corrupt businessman or will Miyagi convince him otherwise.

 

Thoughts on The Karate Kid Part III

 

Characters – Daniel should be going to college, but soon uses his money to start a business for Miyagi only to find himself needing to train to defend his title or face the vengeance of the fallen Sensei Kreese. Mr Miyagi wants to retire and become a bonsai plant shopkeeper, he doesn’t want to train Daniel to defend his title believing you should only use karate to defend yourself, his reluctance causes a rift between the two, though he is teaching Daniel the next lesson. Jessica is a shopkeeper across the road just visiting who starts a relationship with Daniel. Sensei John Kreese turns to his former army buddy to help him extract revenge on Daniel and Miyagi who he wants to see pay for what they did to him.

PerformanceRalph Macchio is good this time around again, he does continue to show us how his character can be misled along the way. Pat Morita keeps the calmness in his character throughout which shows us who is the right-minded person through everything. Robyn Lively is good but doesn’t get too much to do that is original to the serious. Martin Kove is good as this time we see the effects from the villain in a previous film.

StoryThe story completes the full year since the title win for Daniel, it shows how the people who were defeated will still want to get revenge. The story shows how Daniel can continue to let his emotions guide him down the wrong roads which is the new lesson Miyagi wants to teach Daniel. The romantic story feels lazy and just writing out the girlfriend from the previous film is becoming too annoying this time around. The message in the story is clear, never turn you back on the person that trains you even if something else sounds like it could be better.

Action/Family/SportsWe get more action in this film, which is fun to watch as the fights and pressure to do the fights, this does feel darker and might not be for the whole family.

SettingsTaking the action back to America works because it shows the effects of the first film on the villains.

Scene of the Movie – Dojo showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Writing out the girlfriend again.

Tagline – First it was teacher to student. Then it was father to son. Now, it’s man to man.

Final ThoughtsThis is one for the fans of the original two films, this continues the story nicely but for a one of viewing people might end up feeling confused for certain actions.

 

Overall: Franchise Fans enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Karate Kid Part II (1986)

Director: John G Avildsen

Writer: Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Pat Morita, Ralph Macchio, Yuji Okumoto, Danny Kamekona, Tamlyn Tomita, Nobu McCarthy

 

Plot: Daniel accompanies his mentor, Mr. Miyagi, to Miyagi’s childhood home in Okinawa. Miyagi visits his dying father and confronts his old rival, while Daniel falls in love and inadvertently makes a new rival of his own.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Sequel

 

Story: The Karate Kid Part II starts 6 months after Daniel’s (Macchio) big competition win, his girlfriend has left him and now he must get ready to move once again only for Mr Miyagi (Morita) taking Daniel in. when Miyagi receives a note about his father being very ill, he takes Daniel to Okinawa to return to the past where Miyagi left a loved one behind to be with his best friend Sato (Kamekona) who become his biggest rival.

When Miyagi returns to his home village he learns things have changed but Yukie (McCarthy) never married, where Daniel strikes up a relationship with Kumiko (Tomita) which causes a new rivalry in the village.

 

Thoughts on The Karate Kid Part II

 

Characters – Daniel now lives with Miyagi, his girlfriend has left him and his mm has moved for work, he gets to experience a new culture when he goes to Okinawa, the home of Miyagi and soon finds himself in the middle of a battle while also falling in love again. Miyagi takes Daniel in, but when his father is dying he returns home where he must face his old love, his old friend and now sworn enemy Sato, as we learn about his past. Sato is the old rival of Miyagi who has been waiting for a chance to prove his honour against Miyagi, he lets him have the honour of mourning his father’s death before demanding the fight. Chozen is the hot-headed nephew of Sato that takes an instant dislike to Daniel, he has learnt the hate to reach levels higher than Sato

PerformanceRalph Macchio continues from where he left of as the excitable teenager learning the calmer style of karate. Pat Morita is again great as Mr Miyagi showing his characters calm and grace through each situation. Danny Kamekona and Yuji Okumoto both make for goo enemies for our heroes too.

StoryThe story continues to show the relationship between Daniel and Miyagi, even though they just write out Daniel’s girlfriend and mother in one sentence. Moving the action to Japan works because it helps us learn more about Miyagi’s past where he has rivals waiting for him, loves left behind but his beliefs will keep calm even through the toughest situations. This does continue the story well, it opens new doors without closing them either.

Action/Family/RomanceThe action is restrained this time, we don’t get many fights and the ones we get are very short lived. The family side of the film will hopefully teach the value of family and honour, the romance side of the film has the idea of dealing with lost love and the start of a new love with someone from a different culture, which was nice to see.

SettingsMoving the story to Japan gives us a new prospective on everything, it helps Daniel learn about new cultures too.

Scene of the Movie – Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It hits at more fights then we get.

Tagline – This time, the combat is real.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good sequel to a much-loved original film, which is something that we would like to see more often, it builds on the world and the mystery about Miyagi.

 

Overall: Good sequel for all to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Original V Remake – The Karate Kid (1984)

This is also an entry into the Then and Now Blogathon, with the Then appearing on Realweemidget site

 

Director: John G Avildsen

Writer: Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue, martin Kove, Randee Heller, William Zabka

 

Plot: A martial arts master agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: Karate Kid starts as Daniel (Macchio) moves from New Jersey to California with his mother, he needs to make new friends and it isn’t long before he meets a girl Ali (Shue) from his new school but also grabs the attention of the local bullies and their leader Johnny (Zabka) who knows karate.

When the handy man Mr Miyagi (Morita) of the building sees Daniel’s struggle he comes to his aid showing that he is a martial arts master and agrees to train him ready to face Johnny and the bullies in a karate tournament. Daniel goes through an unusual training routine to prepare him for the fight.

 

Thoughts on Karate Kid

 

Characters – Daniel moves to a new town where knows nobody, he finds himself targeted by the local bullies but with the help of Miyagi he learns karate to get one over the main bully. Miyagi is the karate master that works as a building handyman to cover his personal pain, he does see bright things in Daniel and agrees to train him with unusual methods. Ali is the girl that Daniel falls for at school, she is the ex of the bully, she likes Daniel even though he is from the wrong side of town. Johnny is our bully, he doesn’t like that Daniel will stand up to him and uses his advance karate to point him in his place.

PerformanceRalph Macchio gave us a performance here that made people want to be in a karate movie, he sums up the lost teenage perfectly. Pat Morita is fantastic in his role as the mentor which often gets emulated but never duplicated. Elisabeth Shue is good as the love interest and William Zabka is good as thee bully.

StoryThe story shows how an ill-disciplined student can be turned into a calm fighter ready to defend himself against anyone who challenges him. This shows us that anyone can blossom into something great given the right guidance and self-belief in their own abilities, making it a bench mark for anyone that has been questioning their own skills.

Action/Family/SportThe action plays to a typical 80s musical background being high school level chases and fights. The family side shows us just what you need to be doing within a family when it comes to guiding children. The sport is karate in competition.

SettingsThe settings show us the places 80s high school student would hang out and the trouble they can find themselves in.

Scene of the Movie – Training.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would say the film is slightly too long for the same point message.

Tagline – He taught him the secret to Karate lies in the mind and heart. Not in the hands.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the classic films of all cinema, it is a film that shows character needed to defeat in the right manner.

 

Overall: One of the best sports films of all time.

Rating