Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Karate Kid 3 Proved To Be A Challenge For Ralph Macchio

Sometimes, film trilogies just work. Take, for example, 1990's "The Godfather: Part III," which garnered $88 million more worldwide than its 1974 predecessor (via Box Office Mojo). But other times, audiences feel that franchises should quit while they're ahead.

A prime example of this is "The Karate Kid," which chronicles teen Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) as he learns a less-violent type of self-defense from Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) to defeat his bullies. While the original 1984 movie earned over $90 million worldwide, its 1986 sequel, "The Karate Kid Part II," surpassed this with over $115 million — a tough feat for a follow-up film. However, the success of the franchise took a massive dive with 1989's "The Karate Kid Part III," which earned just under $39 million, as reported by Box Office Mojo.

Once again, Daniel is forced to face some aggressive foes, this time in the form of vicious fighter Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan), who is hired by Cobra Kai's Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) to defeat him at an upcoming tournament. At one point, Daniel even temporarily shifts to the dark side and trains at Cobra Kai. Similar to the first two "The Karate Kid" installments, this third part is chock-full of intense fight scenes, plus heartwarming moments between Daniel and Mr. Miyagi.

Yet unlike the original, there was something about "The Karate Kid Part III" that simply didn't resonate with audiences ... or Macchio. Let's take a look at why the actor wasn't — and still isn't — a fan of the third film.

Ralph Macchio thinks Karate Kid 3 is repetitive of its predecessors

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ralph Macchio didn't hold back while expressing his dislike of "The Karate Kid Part III." He said, "I felt the story was only repeating itself ... It was not a smooth ride. In the end, there were parts of the character that I didn't embrace as well as I did with the original and the first sequel. I don't put it on the top of my resume."

Macchio told GQ that there's a lack of "freshness" in the script regarding his character. He also felt the film places too much emphasis on the various types of martial arts, whereas its predecessors have more magically iconic moments. Who could ever forget the "wax on, wax off" lesson of Mr. Miyagi?

Plus, after quite literally fighting for his life against Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) in "The Karate Kid Part II," some fans were disappointed in Daniel's lack of strength in the follow-up film. On Reddit, u/Spidey007 said, "[H]e became a mature, strong, lethal man. KK3 erases all of this. Karate Kid 3 ruined Daniel's character and fighting skills. To me, he became stubborn, obnoxious, wimpy, weak ... "

Still, according to Macchio, there's a bright side to the third movie — it helped influence the hit Netflix series "Cobra Kai," which recently dropped its fifth season. "[I]t informs 'Cobra Kai' going forward, clearly with Season 4. It gives us so much story," Macchio told The Hollywood Reporter. "And what is so wonderful about doing the 'Cobra Kai' series, the creators find ways to take that story and let it evolve and find backstories for characters who might have been thinly written."