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

 

 

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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

 

 

Taps (1981)

Director: Harold Becker

Writer: Darryl Ponicsan, Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay) Devery Freeman (Novel)

Starring: George C Scott, Timothy Hutton, Ronny Cox, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise

 

Plot: Military cadets take extreme measures to insure the future of their academy when its existence is threatened by local condo developers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Little 80’s Movie

 

Story: Taps starts as we meet our Military Cadets with Cadet Major Brian Moreland (Hutton) getting the promotion to this rank for his final year at the academy from General Harlan Bache (Scott). Bache informs the students this will be their final year before the academy is going to be knocked down for development.

When there is an altercation outside the grounds Bache accidently kills a young civilian. The consequences of this are that the base is going to close early but Moreland brings together the cadets with his Captains Alex Dwyer (Penn) and David Shawn (Cruise) to hold the base so they can have their final year and prove the academy is important for the community.

 

Thoughts on Taps

 

Characters – General Harlan Bache runs the military academy, he has done for years and enjoys developing the next generation of soldiers, when he is accidently involved in a shooting of a civilian he is removed from the base ending up in hospital. Cadet Major Brian Moreland leads the cadets, he was handpicked by the General and once the General is off the base, he leads the defence of the base from the incoming developers. Cadet Captain Dwyer is the closest friend Moreland has on the base and does clash with Shawn at time over clash of styles. Cadet Captain David Shawn is the fellow captain that is determined to prove the cadets can handle themselves, he acts quicker than Dwyer which leads to their tension at times.

PerformanceThe performances are great throughout, George Scott is your big name draw for the time and is good in his role, with Timothy Hutton here right after his Oscar win that is great throughout. Tom Cruise and Sean Penn both show their skills in the supporting role where they easily becoming big stars.

StoryThe story does follow the cadets who look to defend their school after an accident that is about to be getting closed. It shows how they were trained to handle themselves and stand up for what they believe in a bigger cause than themselves. It does have moments where you think it is a kids movie but the reality war is never just this tone and you also couldn’t see both sides fighting for what is mostly property.

SettingsMost of the film is set at the academy which shows how the young men worked together to stand up for what could build on a generation of future soldiers.

Scene of the Movie – Escape the locals.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This does seem like fighting for almost nothing, even if it is mostly tactical building up to a potential battle.

Final ThoughtsThis film shows us three young talented actors who all went onto bigger project in a film which shows the meaning behind being a solider from a young age, working together and understanding when to stand up for something you believe in.

 

Overall: Good drama showing us plenty of military tactics.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – C – Colombiana (2011)

Director: Oliver Megaton

Writer: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Zoe Saldana, Jordi Molla, Lennie James, Amandla Stenberg, Michael Vartan, Cliff Curtis

 

Plot: A young woman, after witnessing her parents’ murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Pay Off Action Film

 

Story: Colombiana starts as a young Cataleya witness her parents murder by Marco (Molla) and his men for Don Luis (Benites) in Bogota, Columbia. Her father gives her the means to escape and Cataleya makes it to America where she reunites with Uncle Emilio (Curtis) who offers to teach her how to be a killer.

15 years later Cataleya (Saldana) is all grown up, she is now an assassin for hire and a brilliant one at that. Cataleya has been making a name for herself as a mysterious unknown killer leaving messages on her victims’ bodies, this is against her Uncle’s will and finds special agent Ross (James) tracker her down. Can Cataleya keep her secret life away from the authority and get her revenge on Don Luis that is what we are left to guess about.

 

Thoughts on Colombiana

 

Characters/PerformanceCataleya is the assassin who witnessed her own parent’s murder, she has trained for 15 years to get her revenge but now she must continue to pay the price for wanting to see the people responsible die. She is strong, determined and deadly one of the better assassins we know. Marco is you typical villain that breaks the rules and is willing to do anything to stay on the wrong side of the law. Ross is the agent looking to do the right thing on every step of the way.

Performance wise, Zoe Saldana is always going to make for a beautiful sexy assassin, Jordi Molla is fine throughout but isn’t used as much as you would think, and Lennie James is good as you would expect in a law role.

StoryA young girl that witness’s parent’s murder and turns into an assassin to get revenge, this has been done before and is a classic tried and tested formula for the genre which I feel does get the good pay off here without being the greatest in the genre. There isn’t too much we need to see for it to be new but what the hell it is fun.

Action/CrimeThe action is plenty of shooting with bullets and bodies flying around, this is all good fun and having the assassin revenge angle also works.

SettingsThe settings are all what you would have come to expect from the genre without being anything original.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good watch, it checks all the boxes without needing to make you think about what is going on.

 

Overall: Sit back and enjoy the action.

Rating