The Next Karate Kid

4.51 h 47 min1994PG
When ancient wisdom takes on teenage spunk, 1,000 years of karate tradition gets a swift kick in the pants.
Christopher Cain
Pat NoriyukiHilary SwankConstance Towers
English [CC]
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Supporting actors
Michael IronsideChris Conrad
Jerry Weintraub
Columbia Pictures
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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4.5 out of 5 stars

2535 global ratings

  1. 74% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 12% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

K. JacksonReviewed in the United States on February 4, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
2nd Best in the Series, Negative reviews undeserved
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Honestly I think people didn't like it because it was a female lead. Hilary was a phenomenal actress. The finale move was the best, most climatic move out of all the movies. The fight scenes were better choreographed than the others as well.

The called this movie a coming of age story. Funny thing is, all of the karate kids were a coming of age story. The boy versions all centered on young love, bullies, discipline and self-respect. Julie found young love, self-discipline, values and respect of self as well as human-life... no difference. Both kids, were without their parents only Daniel's mom was alive. This movie was amazing, I'd want my daughter to watch this movie and aspire to be like Julie.
14 people found this helpful
H. BalaReviewed in the United States on June 8, 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
"Boys easier."
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The Next Karate Kid may be the least regarded entry in the franchise. Some folks have called it unnecessary. Rotten Tomatoes have it at 7%. The Next Karate Kid came out in 1994, and is fourth in the series, and is absent of Ralph Macchio. But Pat Morita is still around, even if the venue shifts from California to Massachusetts. Them critics didn't lie, though. This was a pretty forgettable flick. Back in the day, there was one concensus take-away: that young actress, Hilary Swank, was pretty damn good.

Plot: Miyagi Yakuga (Morita) has traveled to the east coast to attend a ceremony commending the Japanese-American soldiers who fought in the 442nd Regiment during World War II. Afterwards, Mr. Miyagi is invited by his commanding officer's widow (Constance Towers) to her Bostonian home to catch up on old times. At her house, Mr. Miyagi meets the widow's granddaughter, Julie Pierce (Swank), a petulant, insubordinate 17-year-old who is having a hard time of it after the deaths of her parents from a car accident.

The grandmother has tried her durndest to get thru to the girl, but Julie is just always angry. They're both at the ends of their ropes. Miyagi notes this and suggests to the widow: Why not have her go to his home in California for a bit of respite and he house-sits in Boston and minds the kid for a while?

Mr. Miyagi promptly learns it's trickier mentoring a girl than a boy. You can hear him later mutter, "Boys easier." Whereas Daniel-san was this whiny kid, Julie is just plain foul-tempered and recalcitrant. I snickered at how Miyagi tried to impose his "wax-on, wax-off" philosophy/con job on Julie, and she just smirks him off.

The movie shines best when it's developing the relationship between Julie and Miyagi. These two actors playing them click nicely. Miyagi does what he does best, which is instill in his protégé certain life lessons thru the prism of karate and a heap of inscrutable Oriental platitudes. I guess it's true that even the most nonsensical phrase can sound like the most profound thing ever as long as a wizened old Asian person says them. "Grief trapped in heart become big anger." "Sun is warm; grass is green." Oooh, that's deep, I guess...

It's funny to me how these movies' message always is: Don't fight unless you have to... but you'll always have to. Thing is, we come to these movies to see the fight scenes, and The Next Karate Kid only has a bare bones dosage of them. What we get is a heap of angst and moments that drag and the overwhelming sense that it's a very thin plot bloated with filler scenes. There are some highlight moments such as when Miyagi teaches Julie how to dance under the guise of teaching her martial arts moves. But touching moments like that are few and far between. And what does Mr. Miyagi do when he's not making any headway with Julie and then she gets suspended from school for two weeks? Yep, he takes her to a Zen Buddhist monastery. There, Julie learns discipline and serenity and how to respect all life... even a cockroach's life. She also learns a boss praying mantis-type move.

That's not even the most ridiculous bit. The most eyebrow-raising thing are the bad guys. For some weird reason, Julie's school had hired this sadistic colonel (Michael Ironside) to run some sort of harsh ROTC-type operation. He calls his bunch of kids the Alpha-Elite and gives them the run of the school as these evil hall monitors. The colonel's head kid (Michael Cavalieri) is so creepy and menacing you can't help but cringe in discomfort as he puts the moves on Julie, and by "puts the moves," I mean he threatens and bullies her and frames her. But, seriously, what sort of non-neo-Nazi academy would ever okay a vicious security fraternity like the Alpha-Elite?

Lest you forget about the level of prestige that used to be associated with this franchise, Pat Morita snagged an Oscar nomination for the first Karate Kid movie ten years before. Despite this fourth movie scraping the bottom, Morita was still solid in this one. He hadn't lost his warmth and sneaky sense of humor. And Hilary Swank was a find and was athletic and graceful enough that she looked credible as a fledgling martial artist. And the monks were pretty cool, whether they were dancing - badly - to the Cranberries or taking over the local bowling alley with their Zen bowling. Everything else was bad. The cartoony ridiculousness of the Alpha Elite. The deadly, sluggish pace of the movie that never allows the viewer to work up enough gusto or engrossment for the plot. Julie's love interest - a fellow student - who looks like he's in his mid- to late-twenties. The lack of action. And there's Julie's caring for an injured hawk that I think is supposed to be a deep metaphor for something, except who gives a sh--? I'll say this, though. The colonel's Alpha-Elite are so mean and nasty it's worth it to stay 'til the end just to see them get what's coming to them.
19 people found this helpful
V. DainoReviewed in the United States on July 29, 2018
1.0 out of 5 stars
Getting Kicked in the face is less painful than watching this movie.
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"The Next Karate Kid" is next to my trash can...I'd rather watch a turtle eat lettuce, it is faster and more exciting. The best part of this movie was the scene with the monks bowling, I am serious.
I was in High School when the original Karate Kid came out, I want to say it was 1985 or 1986. I loved it and the music soundtrack hit the mark. Then You Tube Red came out with the series "Cobra Kai" and I watched one episode after another and it was AWESOME. Getting reacquainted with "The Karate Kid" got me interested in the earlier ones I had not scene. Up until now I had only scene the first two. I have yet to see "Karate Kid III" and the one with Jaden Smith, and after this flop I am not looking forward to it, but I will watch them. Heck, I just bought all 5 movies on DVD. There is no saving this one. I think I was in more pain then the stunt men taking the cheap shots. Save your time, money and dignity and let this one pass you by.
6 people found this helpful
Michael WolfeReviewed in the United States on September 11, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
It’s...just too little and too much.
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Yknow.... the only really good part of this movie is the part where it’s just before prom and she is in her dress and all happy, and Miyagi is Happy, and I was happy for them.

Other than that...this movie is a tad to ridiculous even for Karate Kid.
Like seriously...the bad guys are waaaaaay too bad.
You’ll see what I mean in the lunchroom scene, where it’s a tad....rapey.

Also....I know it was 1994, but I’m sure even then people were all like “okay that’s a bit too stereotypical for girls.”

This movie just went to too hard extremes....also I don’t know if I am projecting but you almost feel like you can see it in the actors eyes how done they are with the film. One scene has great chemistry then suddenly everyone has a look of defeat in their eyes. I was going to give it 3 stars but then that ending was something extremely disappointing,

SPOILER: They blow up a car....which would normally be cool, but here somehow just causes laughs. Like....not even Kreese would be this crazy for no reason at all. It’s like they assumed they could get away with big explosions cause it’s a Karate Kid movie...and it is... but it isn’t technically karate kid 4. I mean it’s this kids first adventure and boooooom! Honestly the explosion just made it laughable especially cause there was no direction or character development towards it.

It’s just weird.

I like Hillary Swank...but clearly at this point she was just a step or two above after school don’t do drugs vhs level of acting. Though she can pull off the crying... that scene was good.

I think my least favorite part is that I came into this wanting just a little bit more of Miyagi....and I got that sure, but by the end the movie took more from him.

Summary: If you like the character of Miyagi...maaaaaybe just don’t watch this one...
One person found this helpful
Keon Shere' McIntoshReviewed in the United States on November 3, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Love a bad girl
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Hilary Swank takes over as The Next Karate Kid bringing a sense of charm and love to the film. Not one of the best but very fun to watch. Hilary Swank plays Julie- a very bitter & angry young woman who is having a hard time dealing with the death of her parents dying in a car accident. Miyagi (the late great Pat Morita) takes on the dawning task of trying to help Julie channel her inner anger by helping her the way he knows best: The art of Miyagi-do karate. He soon discovers girls are far more different than boys dealing with her stubborn attitude & violent mood swings. But in the end, Julie finds the mentor & father figure in her troubled life well needed to help her own a sense of belonging & balance in her life to help her cope with all things around her & going on.
One person found this helpful
Jacquelyn ThomasReviewed in the United States on January 20, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Absolutely absurd
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Absolutely absurd. The characters don't make sense. The plot is kind of cheap. Miyagi's advice and wisdom just doesn't land well. It really seems like a lot of the events here should maybe be taken just a little bit more seriously. They really just blew up this dude's car.

Anyway, it was fun to watch. Hilary Swank beat up a dude at the end and the hawk got to fly away. Five stars.
3 people found this helpful
Michelle ChoquetteReviewed in the United States on June 25, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent ending to the franchise
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I really liked this movie when I saw it on Netflix. I did a binge watch of all the Karate Kid movies. I'm a fan of Cobra Kai. I relate to these movies more as an adult than I did when they first came out. The Asian philosophy fits in with my Qigong practice & I'm an admirer of the Samurai's Bushido Code. I love Mr. Myagi's words of wisdom. One of my favorite scenes is when the Buddist monks come to Boston & go bowling. Zen bowling lol.
For me, this is the perfect addition to the first 3 Karate Kid movies.
One person found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on July 16, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Only works for kids because by 4th movie you know where everything's going
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After three sequels Columbia Pictures decided to reboot the Karate Kid franchise by introducing a new hero. Gone was Ralph Macchio as Daniel and in came Hilary Swank as Julie Pierce. Of course how were these kids going to learn Karate without a master so Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi stayed on as the sensei. After the fourth time this series was pretty played out.

The film plays upon many familiar themes for a movie featuring a teenager. Julie is a moody orphan who lives with her aunt after he parents died. It’s up to Mr. Miyagi to teach her how to be mature. On the other hand the story borrowed from the old movies by having a bully character in the form of Colonel Paul Dugan (Michael Ironside). The movie develops in a predictable way. It’s still good for kids but doesn’t stand up for older audiences.
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