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Film / The Next Karate Kid

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The fourth movie in The Karate Kid series, released in 1994.

Five years after the last movie, Mr. Miyagi and Daniel have parted ways and the venerable old man found a new student to help, Julie Pierce (Hilary Swank), who is the maternal granddaughter of an army buddy of Miyagi's and his wife Louisa Pierce (Constance Waters), with the Pierce family grieving after the deaths of both Julie's mother and Louisa's daughter, Susan, and her husband. She is struggling with a para-military group that almost runs her high school, with the leader Dugan (Michael Ironside) just as ruthless as Kreese from the earlier films. This time he takes her to a local monastery to learn about peace of mind.


This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Or school security in this case.
  • Accidental Pervert: Mr. Miyagi accidentally walks into the bathroom while Julie is using it. He immediately realizes his mistake and hastily backs out again, but Julia is nevertheless not amused.
  • Arrow Catch: As a birthday present, the Buddhist monks at the monastery present Julie with an arrow caught in mid-flight by Mr. Miyagi, in a demonstration of Zen archery.
  • As You Know: Julie ranting about her parents' death after being called by her mother's name is one of the most horribly awkward and forced pieces of exposition ever.
  • Blindfolded Vision:
    • Mr. Miyagi blindfolds Julie to teach her to anticipate and block "attacks" (swinging sandbags) using only her other senses.
    • The Buddhist monks bowl perfect strikes with their eyes closed while at a bowling alley and pass their secret on to a hotheaded bowler by making him wear a blindfold.
  • Call-Back: The "karate waltz" scene, where Mr. Miyagi teaches Julie how to dance the waltz under the guise of teaching her a new kata, reminds one of that The Karate Kid Part II scene where Daniel shows Kumiko the old children's toy that is the basis of Miyagi-Do Karate and shows her some moves, only for the latter to tell that they look a lot like her o-bon dance, and both start to dance to her rhythm on the bridge.
    • Another Mythology Gag is the reappearance of a (vocal) variation of the "Fascination" waltz song during the aforementioned scene, as previously heard in The Karate Kid (when Johnny attempted to reconcile with Ali at the country club) and The Karate Kid Part II (when the song played on the radio after Chozen picked up Miyagi and Daniel at the airport).
  • Chekhov's Skill: Julie lays out Ned in the film's climatic fight through what she learns of "controlling her senses" in Mr. Miyagi's blindfold exercise and bending her knee "like a praying mantis" before striking.
  • Cherry Tapping: Miyagi has Dugan at his mercy, but rather than dishing out a finishing blow, he simply blows him down like a leaf.
  • Cock Fight: Inverted. Ned gets jealous of Julie and Eric hanging out and challenges Eric to a fight.
  • Continuity Nod: Miyagi makes several passing references to "Daniel-san" in The Next Karate Kid, to the point of muttering that it was rather "easier to live with boys" when he inadvertently takes a peek of Julie in her underwear when he walks into her room.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Ned displays this when Julie gets close to Eric. Even before they established a relationship, Ned told Eric that she was his.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Multiple:
    • Julie against Ned
    • Miyagi against Dugan
  • Dirty Cop: While he isn't quite a cop, Ned fits the archetype. His Establishing Character Moment is framing Julie for smoking when she refuses to go along with his attempted sexual assault.
  • Dirty Old Man: This trope is flirted with. Old Mr. Miyagi has taken on a young female pupil to replace Daniel LaRusso from the previous films, and in one scene he is shown entering a women's clothing store to buy a prom dress for her. Miyagi is obviously playing the role of grandfather; but since he and the girl are obviously not of the same blood, a TV viewer flipping through that scene might get the wrong idea.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Alpha Elite's modus operandi. Turned down for a date? Frame the girl and have her suspended. Embarrassed by a student? Set his car on fire and order your goons to kill him.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Julie to Daniel.
  • Evil Mentor: Colonel Dugan, trainer of the shady school fraternity dubbed the "Alpha Elite" who teaches the group's members to strictly enforce the school rules, even using physical force, if necessary.
  • Frame-Up: Ned falsely claims he confiscated a pack of cigarettes from Julie after catching her smoking on the school premise, which gets Julie in trouble.
  • Friend to All Living Things: The monks Julie and Miyagi stay with. She learns to be this after trying to kill a cockroach.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The gas station bullies start a fight with Miyagi, who beats them up in this manner. He armlocks one guy then uses him to hit down his buddies in conjunction with using him like a meat shield.
  • Internal Homage: As in the original film, the first karate lesson Mr. Miyagi tries to teach Julie is the "Wax On, Wax Off" technique, which Julie initially rejects and returns to much later in her training.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Dugan is shown forcing the Alpha Elite to attack him during gym class, brutally beating them in turn, until Eric refuses, pointing out that all Dugan is doing is showing off his skills without actually teaching them anything.
  • Not Good with Rejection: If Julie rejects any of Ned's advances, he punishes her in some way.
  • Parental Substitute: Following the death of her birth parents in a car accident, Julie is raised by her grandmother Louisa; after Mr. Miyagi offers Julie's grandmother stay at his house in LA, Miyagi stays in Boston where he appoints himself Julie's caretaker.
  • Pet the Dog: After being introduced snubbing Miyagi when her grandma introduces him, Julie is shown looking after an injured hawk.
  • The Power of Love: What makes Eric leave the Alpha Force after Colonel Dugan forbids him from answering the phone call from Julie, even though he'll lose that place in the Army that Dugan had promised him and that was going to be his future.
  • Tame Her Anger: Julie learns to do this after getting suspended from school.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Ned arrogantly underestimates Julie for being a girl. Imagine his complete shock after she rightfully beats his stupid sexist ass in.
  • Villainous Crush: Ned has one on Julie and stalks her throughout the movie.


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