Review: ‘The Next Karate Kid’

The franchise is still kicking - but not very high - in The Next Karate Kid, in which a troubled teenage girl is transformed from bratty rebel into confident martial artist.

The franchise is still kicking – but not very high – in The Next Karate Kid, in which a troubled teenage girl is transformed from bratty rebel into confident martial artist.

Boston dweller Louisa (Constance Towers) has her hands full with granddaughter Julie (Hilary Swank), whose parents were killed in a car crash. Having witnessed Julie’s swift reflexes in averting a near-accident, wise Mr Miyagi, played again by Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita, embarks on a low-key mission to rescue the floundering 17-year-old via karate. Wholesome apprenticeship tale has its scattered moments of humor and insight but lacks sustained verve.

Morita excells as one cool, compassionate dude who always finds a way to recycle conflict and adversity into spiritual growth. Athletic Swank is gratingly cranky at the outset and a tad too enthusiastic once she shapes up. Chris Conrad is appealing as the kindly hunk who admires Julie’s independent spirit. There’s not much karate action compared with previous three pix.

The Next Karate Kid

Production

Columbia. Director Christopher Cain; Producer Jerry Weintraub; Screenplay Mark Lee; Camera Laszlo Kovacs; Editor Ronald Roose; Music Bill Conti; Art Director Walter P. Martishuis

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1994. Running time: 104 MIN.

With

Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita Hilary Swank Michael Ironside Constance Towers Chris Conrad Arsenio Trinidad

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