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The Karate Kid Part II (PG)
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Caution: spoilers.

This came out in 1986, and I'm sure I saw it at some point in the 80s, but it doesn't exactly feel nostalgic to me, now. It did much worse critically than the first movie, but I think I like it slightly more than the first movie. Certainly it's nowhere near as iconic, and it has its flaws... but none of them bother me. Maybe it's just because of my love for all things Japanese. I suppose if I were told I could only ever watch one Karate Kid movie again, I'd pick the first one. And maybe I'm even wrong to think I like this one more. My memory's not that good. Maybe I just think that because I watched this more recently (even though I only saw the first movie a number of months ago). Whatever the case, I definitely liked this movie a lot.

During the opening credits, we see some scenes from the first movie. The first new scene in this movie takes place immediately after the tournament that Daniel won. Kreese is bullying Johnny for having come in second, and Miyagi steps in to help Johnny. After humiliating Kreese, the story jumps forward six months. Daniel goes to see Miyagi right after senior prom, and says Ali broke up with him. Miyagi teaches him to breathe, and sets him to work on building a guest room. Daniel is upset that he's going to have to spend the summer in Fresno, but it turns out the guest room is for him to stay with Miyagi while Daniel's mom is away. Then Miyagi receives a letter from his former girlfriend, Yukie, saying that his father is dying. So he goes to Okinawa to see him, and Daniel tags along to be supportive.

Miyagi explains that the reason he left Okinawa many years ago was because his and Yukie's parents arranged for her to marry his best friend, Sato, but Miyagi made a declaration that he intended to marry Yukie, himself. That led Sato to challenge Miyagi to a fight to the death. Since Miyagi didn't want to kill his friend, he left home. Now Sato thinks he's a coward, and demands a fight with Miyagi, but Miyagi still has no intention of fighting him. Meanwhile, Miyagi reconnects with Yukie, who never married. Daniel befriends Yukie's niece, Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita), who becomes a potential love interest for him. He also gets bullied by Sato's nephew, Chozen, and his friends. Daniel learns a new karate technique, based on a handheld drum. Eventually, Sato, who owns the local village, threatens to destroy it unless Miyagi agrees to fight him. So Miyagi has no choice. However, before they can have their fight, a typhoon strikes the village, and some things happen that cause Sato to change his mind. This includes Daniel saving a young girl who had been ringing a bell for everyone to head to a shelter, but who got caught in the storm herself. (I have no idea why it was a child's job to ring the bell, that doesn't make sense to me. I feel like it was just a plot device for Daniel to have someone to rescue, which I would say is one of the movie's flaws. One of the reasons some people call the movie "manipulative". But I say pretty much all movies are manipulative, so it doesn't bother me much.) Meanwhile, Sato tells Chozen to help Daniel, and he refuses to do so. So, Sato disowns him, which causes him to later challenge Daniel to a fight to the death. Daniel wins the fight by using the drum technique, but of course he refuses to kill Chozen.

There. That's the movie. I've left out enough details, I think, but as so often happens, I also feel like I've said too much. There's actually probably a lot of things that don't make a ton of sense. But as I've said twice already, I don't care. I liked the story, I liked the setting, I liked Yukie and Kumiko as characters. So I don't care if it's objectively not as good as the first movie. I don't care if I'm misremembering my feelings about the first movie, either. I still feel, subjectively, like this is a pretty good movie in its own right.

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The Karate Kid franchise
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The Karate Kid * Part II * Part III * The Next Karate Kid
The Karate Kid (2010) * Cobra Kai