Is Macchio (and mostly everyone else’s) estimation of Karate Kid III a fair one? And if so, is there any chance that the Karate Kid III-centric Cobra Kai season 5 redeems it? Let’s discuss.
Why Karate Kid Part III Sucks
Among the many issues that ruined Part III was the loss of Sensei Kreese (Martin Kove) as a main villain. Kreese is unceremoniously sent off to Tahiti by the new villain who supplants him, Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith).
“When I read the script, it’s like, they were rewriting it because they had lost Kreese…” recalls Griffith to Den of Geek. “Robert [Mark Kamen, the scriptwriter] came in thinking he had to create a villain badder than Kreese. So it’s like this over the top thing.”
Silver is indeed a caricature of a baddie replete with stereotypical “bwahahaha” laughs. The entitled inheritor of a sketchy toxic waste disposal company called DynaTox, Silver hatches his evil plots against Daniel-san as he soaks in a bubble bath, smoking a cigar.
Silver enlists “Karate’s Bad Boy” Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan), another cookie-cutter villain, and together, the pair terrorize poor hapless Daniel-san in completely psychotic ways. What’s more, Kanan almost died while filming an action scene. He suffered internal bleeding from a ruptured connective membrane and collapsed four days after the shoot. He was rushed to the ER where the surgeons were barely able to save his life.
On top of cliche villains, hackneyed plot, and set accidents, there were other issues to contend with. Robyn Lively was cast as Jessica Andrews, who was originally intended to be LaRusso’s third love interest after Ali (Elisabeth Shue) and Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita). But at the time of filming, Lively was only 16 and Macchio was 27 (although his character LaRusso was 18). Uncomfortable with that arrangement, the script was rewritten so Jessica was only a good friend.