Look no further for all Karate Kid movies ranked, watch order, and where to stream them. Here at Otakukart, we did the work, and we present this article just for you. Firstly, The Karate Kid saga spans four movies across nearly twenty-five years. It tells the story of Mr. Miyagi, masterfully portrayed by Noriyuki “Pat” Morita as a martial arts teacher and his students. Well, that’s most of the films, because, in one of them, Jackie Chan steps in for him, but we’ll expand further on that later.
The Karate Kid saga consists of five movies. Three of them are connected. While two of them have no connection to each other. The original 1984 film became a cult classic for Generation Xers, and it even spawned a spin-off franchise for YouTube Red. That later got picked up by Netflix called Cobra Kai. Without a doubt, Karate Kid left an imprint in American pop culture all over the place, with films all over the place referencing the characters, and it’s the message it transmits that is so powerful. Now, let’s wax-in and wax-out and rank these films here at Otakukart!
5. The Next Karate Kid
Although this 1994 film stars a young Hillary Swank— playing a troubled and grieving teenager with some repressed anger problems and Pat Morita in her first feature film. Unfortunately, it fails to deliver the mystique. The film was directed by Christopher Cain. Many people nowadays will praise it because the mid-1990s film deals with female empowerment against sexual harassment. Others will praise Michael Ironside’s performance. Still, all in all, the movie is pretty lame. The fight sequences are tame, and most people will agree it ranks at the very bottom of the Karate Kid films.
4. The Karate Kid III
The 1989 movie stars Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Martin Kove, Sean Kanan, and Thomas Ian Griffith, and directed by John Avildsen, who helmed the whole trilogy, is pretty much more of the same. It’s really a vengeance tale, as Cobra Kai teacher John Kreese (Martin Kove) wants to revenge Daniel and Mr. Miyagi for defeating him and destroying Cobra Kai. He enlists the assistance of his nutcase buddy, Terry Silver (played by Thomas Ian Griffith), who draws Daniel in and accepts him as a pupil to separate him from Mr. Miyagi, who has said that he would not teach Daniel. Then, well, insanity ensues.
The Karate Kid Part III is a strange and too-familiar film. On the one hand, the entire Terry Silver/Mike Barnes plotline to persuade Daniel to join them is ridiculous, but on the other hand, the film retreads the same material as the original Karate Kid, making it dry and a bit dull. In the end, it’s the least fascinating of The Karate Kid trilogy.
3. Karate Kid II
The Karate Kid Part II (1986) is unique in that it is set in Japan this time. Mr. Miyagi’s father is dying, so he travels to Okinawa with Daniel. But, unfortunately, we discover that Mr. Miyagi’s former fling did not marry this wealthy businessman who once had a grudge against Miyagi for liking the same lady. And since this same industrialist has a nephew who is hostile toward Daniel, both the instructor and the pupil are in hot trouble.
I enjoy The Karate Kid Part II because it offers Mr. Miyagi more to accomplish this time around than simply bail out Daniel. It also has a more serious tone than the first and third films, which I believe makes it the most engaging of the trio. I’ve heard that The Karate Kid Parts II and III should be reversed so that this one is the last installment in the trilogy, and I agree, primarily because The Karate Kid Part II is excellent and The Karate Kid Part III isn’t, so it would have made for a more assertive trilogy finale.
2. The Karate Kid (2010)
Many have reservations regarding this film, directed by Harald Zwart and starring Jaden Smith, Taraji P. Henson, and Jackie Chan. It would have been better titled “The Kung Fu Kid” rather than “The Karate Kid,” and they are dead on point. In China, they titled it as The Kung Fu Dream —lol. However, since it is part of The Karate Kid series, it goes here. This one is about a 12-year-old kid called Dre (Smith) who needs to go to China due to his mother’s work. He meets a bully who picks on him, but he later learns Kung Fu (not Karate) from the maintenance guy (Jackie Chan). He then knows to stand up for himself.
1. The Karate Kid
The first film in the series is still the finest. It’s about a brash young guy called Daniel who comes to a new town, is harassed by these martial artists, and meets a repairman (played by Morita) who also knows Karate. The repairman trains Daniel Karate, and then Daniel competes in a competition, performs the entire crane kick that people still do whenever they talk about this series. Lastly, the first film just had everything going for it. The Cobra Kai club’s harsh training methods are still fascinating, Daniel and Mr. Miyagi’s relationship is very lovely, and it contains the most excellent song in the series, “You’re the Best Around,” by Joe Esposito.
The Karate Kid Watch Order and Where to Watch
The watch order for this saga is pretty straightforward. Firstly, watch The Karate Kid parts I, II, and III from the 1980s, then, you can watch the Next Karate Kid with Hillary Swank, and lastly, you can watch The Karate Kid with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. When it comes to where to watch. Netflix would be the first to watch the first three films, and Cobra Kai, the spin-off. But if you want to watch The Next Karate Kid, you’d have to tune to AMC+. As for the version with Jackie Chan, you have various options, including Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video