The Karate Kid Part III (1989)

We are treated to flashbacks of Karate Kid and Karate Kid Part II detailing Sensei Kreese’s brutality with his students and the reason for his fall from grace– getting his nose honked by Mr. Miyagi. In true “Part III’ fashion, this film picks up following the end of Daniel-san and Mr. Miyagi’s two-month stay in Okinawa. Not seen: Yukie and Kumiko.

Kreese isn’t too broken up about being humiliated, but his combat buddy from the Vietnam War is. Mr. Terry Silver makes it his mission to not just humiliate Daniel-san and Mr. Miyagi, but to ultimately destroy their lives.

Daniel-san cashes in his life savings and buys Mr. Miyagi a corrugated sheet metal shack next to the railroad tracks to sell his bonsai. Some hooligans hired by Silver wreck the shop and steal all the bonsai when Daniel-san decides he won’t enter the All Valley Tournament as returning champion. Daniel and his new belle figure the best course of action is to steal and sell Mr. Miyagi’s prized possession: an natural-growth bonsai.

Act II peaks with some deceptive training, bloody feet and hands, sore elbows, and an emotional explosion. Mr. Miyagi tells Daniel to concentrate on the fundamentals, so Daniel heads to the Cobra Kai Dojo to tell Mr. Silver he won’t compete in the tournament. We close out Act II with Mr. Miyagi agreeing to train Daniel for the tournament after finding out Mr. Silver is a sadistic creep.

ACT III

Daniel and Mr. Miyagi train on the kata and replant the natural-growth bonsai.

A question about Act II: was Kreese hiding behind that cardboard cutout whole time?

Yes. If you look closely in the previous scenes that take place in the Cobra Kai Dojo, you can see Kreese periodically peaking out from behind that cutout.

How many new rules did the All Valley Championship add this year?

Just two: the returning champ only fights in the Final Round and the Final Round has a Sudden Death in the event of a tie. Mr. Silver bought the tournament, essentially, so he added some new rules to make sure Daniel would be utterly humiliated in defeat.

Is that the same referee from last year?

Yes, and he hasn’t brushed up on the rules either.

All told, how long has Daniel been training karate?

One year and two months with Mr. Miyagi. Slightly longer if you count the training he does from VHS workout tapes before that. Pretty remarkable how he simultaneously looks like he knows nothing about 1-on-1 combat and makes professional fighters look inept.

So that’s it, the Cobra Kai, Kreese, and Mr. Silver are going to leave Daniel-san and Mr. Miyagi alone because Daniel flipped Mike Barnes onto his back and tourney-punched him?

There’s a deleted scene where Mr. Miyagi stays after the confrontation at the Cobra Kai Dojo to look over and sign a couple contracts ensuring those folks would leave him and Daniel alone. On the commentary track, the screenwriter said he thought that scene helped show how Mr. Miyagi was capable of running a business.

If there’s another question begging to be answered about the finale of the Karate Kid trilogy, ask it below.

~Phil

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