Making the Grades
Just incase you haven’t seen, or don’t remember, the first Karate Kid, this sequel opens with a montage of past scenes to acquaint you with the characters. Extra footage (apparently shot during the first movie) continues the storyline from the triumphant end of the karate tournament into the parking lot where a disappointed teacher verbally and physically berates his losing student. (This sequence includes portrayals of bloody injuries.)
Then the script jumps ahead six months. Daniel (Ralph Macchio) is graduating from high school, however his celebrations are cut short by a break-up with his girlfriend and the announcement his mother is getting a transfer to Fresno. However when he goes to seek sympathy from his mentor, he finds Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) caught up in his own problems.
The arrival of a letter from the elderly karate teacher’s ancestral home of Okinawa announces the ill health of his even more elderly father (Charlie Tanimoto). The sad news is only compounded by the identity of the author of the note—a woman named Yukie (Nobu McCarthy) whom Mr. Miyagi fell in love with forty years ago.
Sensing his best friend may now need his support, Daniel gets permission to travel with the aging gentleman. During the voyage, Mr. Miyagi explains that despite his deep feelings for Yukie, he left Okinawa rather than fight his best friend for the right to her hand. Yet when the pair arrives on the Asian island they quickly discover Sato (Danny Kamekona), who has spent the intervening years becoming a celebrated karate instructor, still wants to duel to the death.
Of course Mr. Miyagi refuses to battle. So Sato sends his nephew and best student Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) to pressure the pacifist into accepting the challenge. Happy to obey, the young adult eagerly carries out his assignment by threatening, harassing and vandalizing the property of Mr. Miyagi and the villagers in his hometown. He also provokes Daniel, which results in scuffles, kicks, punches, throws and attempted choking.
Although this chapter of The Karate Kid saga spends more time than the last developing dramatic plot lines, including a romance between Daniel and a local teen (Tamlyn Tomita), there are still plenty of martial arts action and violent depictions. And this time the participants are not engaged in tournament games, but mortal combat. Parents may find these stakes make The Karate Kid 2 even more frightening for younger viewers.
Between these contests, Mr. Miyagi does prove a worthy role model of courage and self-control. Preaching the best defense is not to be involved in the conflict at all, the man urges Daniel to ignore the taunting and Sato to forgive past offenses. While this is wise advice, don’t expect the story to strictly follow it. Such a plot would not make for a very exciting movie.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Karate Kid 2.
Sato accuses Mr. Miyagi of offending his honor and then being too cowardly to meet the challenge of a duel. What is the difference between honor and pride? What is the difference between cowardliness and self-control?
Mr. Miyagi claims, "For person with no forgiveness in heart, living is worse punishment than death." Why? How does this statement reflect Sato’s desire to pursue past grievances, even after so any years?
What does Mr. Miyagi mean when he tells Daniel, "Never put passion before principle—even if you win, you lose?" Do you agree with him?