The Karate Kid Part II is basically more of the same from director John G. Avildsen, a sequel that studies the high points of the original so closely that it could be considered a remake set in a different location. Instead of being cheered and applauded by an American tournament crowd won over by his underdog status, this time Daniel is urged onward by the swell of handheld percussive instruments scattered through a Japanese crowd won over by his underdog status. However hastily it was rushed into production, The Karate Kid Part II does manage to duplicate the original's winning vibe, including prompting pleased moviegoers to karate chop the air on their way out of the theater, in turn expelling their adrenaline. The fact that it cleared over $115 million domestically, compared to the $90 million taken in by the original, indicates the appetite for escapism that prompted two more similar sequels. This also probably corresponded with a hike in enrollment at karate studios around the country. Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita exude considerable comfort with the traits expected of them, with Macchio hauling back out his blue-collar New Jersey pride and Morita getting more laughs from wise eccentricity. The series began a serious slide after this installment, though it did feature future Oscar winner Hilary Swank in part four (The Next Karate Kid).
by Derek Armstrong review