5 Questions: The Karate Kid Part III
There is no question why movie fans fell in love with The Karate Kid. The story of young Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and his mentor Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) was a feel good story filled with valuable life lessons.
After the box office success of the 1984 original, there is no question why two more films starring Macchio and Miyagi in their most iconic roles were produced. But after a recent viewing of 1989’s The Karate Kid Part III, I did have some questions…
1. When will John Kreese accept responsibility for his failures?
As The Karate Kid Part III begins, we see a down and out John Kreese (Martin Kove) still haunted by the Cobra Kai defeat in the finals of the previous year’s All Valley Karate Tournament. We learn that things continued to go down hill for Kreese after the tournament… he’s lost all of his students, he’s behind on his bills and he spends most of his days walking around drunk on the streets of SoCal.
Kreese blames all of his problems on Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi. Not once does he consider the way he handled the loss was the real reason everyone left the Cobra Kai dojo. Kreese confronted his once prized student, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), in the parking lot after the tournament and starts choking him out in front of the rest of the dojo and many of the tournament spectators who were making their way out of the building. Who the hell is going to want Kreese to be their sensei after that?!?!
But Kreese ignores his own anger issues and bad decisions and continues to hold a grudge against Daniel and Mr. Miyagi. The absolute delight in Kreese’s eyes when his old war buddy Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) shows up and Silver starts talking about the revenge he is going to get for Kreese, the man who saved his life in Vietnam, is proof that John Kreese is one of the greatest villains in movie history. Absolutely no remorse.
2. What other business ventures are Terry Silver and his company Dynatox Industries involved in?
We know that Terry Silver’s company Dynatox Industries is primarily involved in the toxic waste disposal business and that is how Silver has amassed his vast fortune. We also know that Silver is investing money in a chain of Cobra Kai dojos. Toxic waste disposal and martial arts schools are two very different businesses. This makes me wonder what else Silver is involved in? Does he own some fast food restaurants? Is he a minority owner of a minor league hockey team? Does he own a random UHF television station?
Bonus Terry Silver Question… why does he conduct face to face business meetings while he is in the bath tub?
3. What is the story behind Terry Silver’s mansion?
Terry Silver is filthy rich. And when you are as wealthy as Terry Silver you can afford to live in a one of a kind, palatial estate. But what is the real story behind the home used as Terry Silver’s mansion in The Karate Kid Part III.
First off, the property is known as The Ennis House. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1923 for Charles and Mabel Ennis (hence the name). Frank Lloyd Wright’s design was based on an ancient Maya temple. With its rich history it is no surprised that The Ennis House has been designated as a historical landmark.
The Karate Kid Part III was not the only movie to utilize The Ennis House over the years. Other films including Blade Runner, Black Rain and Rush Hour were partially filmed at The Ennis House.
The Ennis House is owned by billionaire Ronald Burkle. And here’s a little fun fact for you, Burkle also owns the Harold Lloyd Estate (also known as Greenacres). This was the mansion used in the Schwarzenegger classic, Commando! Maybe for his next on location assignment, our intrepid reporter Paul London can find out if Greenacres really has a huge boiler room in it.
4. Has anyone in the history of cinema been more excited about macaroni and cheese than Daniel LaRusso?
One of the weaker aspects of The Karate Kid Part III is the “friend zone” relationship Daniel has with Jessica (Robyn Lively). I’m not really sure why they didn’t pull the romantic trigger on these two, but Jessica does end up being a good friend to Daniel. She helps him with his training, she helps him dig up Mr. Miyagi’s most precious bonsai tree and she even brings him over some macaroni and cheese one evening for dinner.
Now I will admit I am a fan of mac-n-cheese. It is great as a meal or as a side dish. But LaRusso loses his ever loving mind when presented with the opportunity to eat some homemade macaroni and cheese. LaRusso can often come across as a cheeseball in these movies, but he is at his cheesy best here.
5. Who would win in a fight between Johnny Lawrence and Mike Barnes?
The Karate Kid Part III introduces us to karate’s bad boy, Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan). Barnes, like Johnny Lawrence before him, makes it to the finals (and loses) against Daniel LaRusso as part of the All Valley Karate Tournament. But it got me to thinking.. who would win in a battle of the runners up?
As much as I love William Zabka, I can’t realistically choose Johnny Lawrence over Mike Barnes. Johnny only knew what John Kreese taught him, where Mike Barnes had already made a name for himself before he became associated with the Cobra Kai, John Kreese and Terry Silver. I think Barnes’ additional experience would be too much for Johnny to overcome and Mike Barnes would get the W!