The Next Karate Kid

 
Violent sequel doesn't benefit from gender change.
  • Review Date: October 6, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In the movie (as in all of the Karate Kid films), fighting and competition are presented as the best/only way to handle conflicts and problems.

Positive role models

While Julie is ultimately a strong female character who learns to believe in herself, she and other characters take part in some iffy behavior -- including reckless driving, bungee jumping, and even teen sexual harassment.

Violence

Recurring, vengeful beatings.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Scattered "hells" and "damns."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will see recurring, vengeful beatings and hear a moderate smattering of "hells" and "damns." As throughout the Karate Kid series, fighting is presented as the solution to most conflicts/problems. There's also reckless driving, bungee jumping, overtones of teen sexual harassment, and lots of showdowns. But Julie is also ultimately a strong female character who learns to believe in herself.

What's the story?

In this installment of the series, karate master Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) leaves his California home to attend a ceremony honoring WWII veterans like himself. There he meets the widow of an old army buddy whose orphaned 17-year-old granddaughter, Julie (Hilary Swank), is in perpetual trouble at her Boston high school. Miyagi thinks he can help. At school Julie is stalked by a bullying gang of athletes. At a Buddhist monastery, Miyagi teaches the rebellious girl self-esteem and self-defense. He even shows her how to dance, in preparation for the upcoming prom. Julie is a changed person now. But the jock bullies are not. Under orders from their coach, they crash the prom and later beat Julie's boyfriend. Enter Julie and Miyagi; she uses her karate to defeat the lead bully, while Mr. Miyagi trashes the cruel adult.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Eager-to-please material offers an unsuccessful mix of warm relationships, stark brutality and hit 1990s rock songs. A couple of charming moments, like the dance-teaching scene, are undermined by a predictable, violence ridden story. "I don't think you know anything about girls!" bleats a reckless female teenager, being straightened out by the martial-arts wisdom of a kindly old Japanese karate master. Folks behind this movie don't seem to know much about girls. Or boys. Or grownups. But they sure know how to stage a fight.

The gender change does this Karate Kid sequel little good. In fact, it adds a disturbing sexual threat when the slavering jocks chase Julie through the deserted high school at night. Newcomer Hilary Swank and most of her fellow high schoolers all look to be in their mid-20s. The gentle, cross-cultural, cross-generational friendship between Miyagi and his new student is undercut by inevitable brawls. Whether with creeps in the classroom (just what young viewers need, more images of black-clad school predators) or rednecks at a gas station, fisticuffs are never far off.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how violence is depicted in the movie. Could the charaters have solved their problems in other ways?

  • Is fighting ever the right response to conflict?

  • Is Julie a good role model? Why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 12, 1994
DVD release date:August 28, 2001
Cast:Hilary Swank, Michael Ironside, Pat Morita
Director:Christopher Cain
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Sports and martial arts, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:violence and some mild language

This review of The Next Karate Kid was written by

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byAirlocke June 13, 2010
age 7+
 

Awesome!

This was a really good movie with a positive message on how to control anger and stuff. It was funny too. The only concern was the beating up. But the wasn't too bad at all. Great movie!!! :)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byWildAnatolian November 25, 2013
age 10+
 

The next karate kid

Not epic but an OK movie..
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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