The movie is about an angry orphan. She is able to find direction and focus in her life with the help of an old karate master. The Next Karate Kid (1994)
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Staff Sergant Keisuke Miyagi (Pat Morita) is seen attending an event honoring Asian American soldiers who fought WWII. Sgt. Miyagi is accepting a medal of honor on the behalf of the unit he fought in. He is then seen sitting next to an older woman and smiling at her.
Now in Boston, Miyagi is having dinner with Louisa Pierce (Constance Towers), the women he was seen with at the event. She is the widow of one of Miyagi's old war buddies. They discuss Julie Pierce (Hilary Swank) and her absence. Just as Louisa is talking about Julie the girl arrives. A dramatic scene takes place. Louisa asks Julie where she has been. Julie rudely declines to answer the question. During the fight Louisa accidentally calls Julie Susan, the girls mother. Julie explains angrily that she is not her mother and she reminds her grandmother that both of her parents died in a car accident. Without a real explanation Julie leaves the house with some meat in her bag. When Julie is gone Louisa apologizes to Miyagi. Miyagi is unfazed. He says a child that has lost a parent often becomes angry. When she asks what she should do with Julie, Louisa is told to water flowers in California at Miyagi's home. Louisa is a bit confused.
Meanwhile, Julie is sneaking into a school. It is revealed that she went to visit a caged hawk, Angel, with a broken wing. She tells the hawk she wishes her parents where still alive. She reveals that the hawk would be taken away if it were found. Just then the cops appear and see her on the roof. She is chased and escapes down a flight of stairs. Julie outruns the cops and goes home. Her grandmother is waiting for her there. Louisa reveals that Miyagi offered to stay in Boston and take care of things while she goes to California for a break. When Lousia is being dropped off at the airport Julie attempts to apologize and explain herself but her apology is cold and awkward. Julie reveals that her birthday is coming up soon and she thinks her grandmother forgot. Miyagi tries to connect with Julie but she is rebellious and resistant. He drops her off at school and tells her that he will pick her up later that day.
A bully, Ned, finds Julie in the greenhouse nursery and he tries to intimidate Julie into going on a date with him. Julie is hostile and she refuses. When a teacher shows up Ned wrongfully turns Julie in for smoking cigarettes. Later is is revealed that Ned is a member of the Alpa Elite, a group of glorified hall monitors who use force to get what they want. In the principle's office Julie is being chastised. She has one more chance or she is going to be kicked out of the school. Eric McGowen (Chris Conrad) is seen in the hallway and ordered by Col. Dugan (Michael Ironside) to escort Julie to class. On the way Eric tries to get to know Julie but she icily brushes him off. It is revealed he also works for Dugan as an Alpha Elite. Julie is not impressed by McGowen and looks upon him even more poorly because of his affiliation with the group. Julie disappears into the girls room as the bell rings. Ned accosts Eric in the hall. Ned heard that Eric was taking Julie to her class and he asks about her. Eric is told that Julie is his girl. It is clear that Ned does not Like Eric. Eric enters the girls room looking for Julie. She climbed out the window and is on the roof tending to her injured hawk. It is revealed that she found the hawk on the school grounds. Julie wants Eric to keep Her secret. Julie attempts to threaten Eric into keeping the secret. Eric refuses to tell her whether he is going to tell or not.
The Alpha Elite are having a meeting in a field after school. The coach is telling the Alpha Elite to give the maximum response to the least of offenses. Dugan also teaches the Alpha Elite to physically attack other people. He does this by attacking his recruits. Eric is called out but he says he will only fight if there is a good reason Mr. Miyagi is watching as Dugan as he is beating Eric up. Miyagi interrupts the group and asks for Julie. Miyago explains that he is a friend of Louisa's and is caring for Julie. Dugan tells him he is trespassing and he needs to get off of the school property. Dugan then sends his students off to do laps. Dugan tries to get Miyiagi to leave again. Miyagi tells Dugan a story that Dugan does not understand. The gist is that bullies will always lose.
Meanwhile, Eric and Julie talk. She catches him as he is leaving school. She only wants to know what he is going to do about Angel. Julie gets into his car and says she isn't going to get out until she tells him what he is going to do. It is revealed that Eric is a security guard at a train yard. At the train yard Julie gets to know Eric. Eric is from a broken home, he is going into the air force, and he has plans for the future unlike Julie. She finally gets him promise not to tell anyone about her hawk. Afterward, Julie goes home. After Julie dresses she and Miyagi talk. He wants her to do the homework she missed for the past three weeks. He is very respectful in trying to help her but she is rude and disrespectful. She runs out of the house and tells him to stop telling her what to do. He tells her he is only trying to teach her not tell her what to do. She insults him and tells him he can't even speak proper English. She runs into the street and is almost hit by a car. She only survived by jumping onto the hood of the car. Frazzled Julie runs back into the house. Julie is defused when Miyagi responds in the opposite way that her grandmother. Julie reveals that she learned karate from her father when she was young. That is how she was able to jump the way she did. It is reveal that her grandfather saved Miyagi during the war. Miyagi taught her grandfather karate as a way to say thank you. Miyagi reveals that his partens died at the same time too. It is then that Julie starts to open up to Miyagi. She tells him about her loving parents and the unfairness of their sudden death. Julie is upset that she cannot remember her parents' faces. Miyagi comforts her and tells her that their legacy was karate because karate is practiced from the heart. Julie wants him to stop speaking in parables so she can understand him better. Miyagi says she will get answers when she asks the right questions. The next morning Mr. Miyagi is awakened by loud music. Later that day Miyagi and Julie talk. She asks Miyagi to give her a few lessons so she can fight off the Alpha Elite. He tells her to pay him for her lessons by doing her homework. They haggle homework assignments until they come to an agreement. Miyagi agrees and tells her to wax the car as a karate exercise. She refuses and storms off. Miyagi admits he has a lot to learn about girls. He then says boys are easier. Later Julie asks Mr. Miyagi to lend her some money for the mall. He tells her he arranged for her to babysit the boys across the road.
Julie accepts the job and she struggles through her duties as babysitter. The boy are energetic and mischievous. Miyagi visits Julie while she is working and teaches her a mantra to keep her calm. He had come by to drop off some toys. He leaves almost as quickly as he showed up. When Julie is done babysitting Miyagi tells Julie that babysitting is sometimes a good exercise for karate students. Julie doesn't understand. She would prefer to be breaking boards instead of learning the basics. Miyagi tells her that breaking board doesn't teach her karate.
That night Julie sneaks out to go see Angel. The Alpha Elite are at school waiting. They were alerted by the police that someone was sneaking into the school at night. Ned watches as Julie sneaks into the school. When she notices him she runs and he chases her into the cafeteria where she hides. While he is searching for her he tells her that he just wants to talk. He tells her that he doesn't like Eric and it is implied that he wants her to stay away from him. When he gets close to her hiding place she flees. Ned grabs her feet as she tried to run up a flight of stairs. This traps her in place. Julie is able to pull an fire alarm. This makes Ned let go of her feet and Julie escapes just in time to lock him and the other Alpha Elite in the school yard. As the emergency vehicles roll up Eric yells for Julie to remember their date at the docks. Col. Dugan arrives with the police and Julie is arrested. Miyagi is seen picking Julie up from the police station. Julie tells Miyagi she was only trying to feed her hawk. On the way home Julie asks Miyagi if he is angry. He says feeding the hawk was good but she should have told him about it. He tells her that he is going to take her to a special place to an old friend of his the next day. The next day Julie visits Eric and tells him about her two week suspension. She asks him to feed her hawk while she is gone. He agrees and asks if Julie will miss him. She stalls but eventually says yes. At a gas station on the way to their destination Mr. Miyiagi is forced to fight a group of men who were hasseling him. Miyagi uses karate to make the men beat each other up. In the car Julie praises him but Miyagi says he always tries to find a way not to fight.
Their trip ends at a monastery where Miyagi and Julie bunk for the night. The next morning Julie interrupts Miyagi's meditation. While they are at the monastery Mr. Miyagi teaches Julie to be alert, to focus, to respect herself, to respect others, to respect all life including bugs, and to respect other people's beliefs. Julie only gains this knowledge after she violates the rules and is shunned for doing so. When she is ready she applies what she has learned to learning karate. Over time Julie becomes a very skilled practitioner. Julie also makes a real connection with the monks through music, dancing, and showing that she respects their beliefs.
One day Julie calls Eric pretending to be his mother. The call came at a time when Eric was in training with the Alpha Elite. Eric chooses to leave the group even though it will cost him a recommendation to the Air Force Academy and his place in the Alpha Elite. He does not reveal to Julie that her call cost him so much place. He tells her that Angel is fine but the bird misses her. Eric also tells her to come back soon.
On the last day at the monastery the monks give Julie a cake, one wish, a gift, and they sing her “Happy Birthday.” They agree to grant her wish to come visit Julie in Boston even though they haven't left the monastery in years. Julie is given an arrow that was used in a ritual involving the arrow being shot at Mr. Miyagi, an honor he volunteered for.
Julie is a different person when she returns to school from her suspension. At lunch she meets with Eric. Eric tells her Angel is fine. Eric and Julie go up to the roof to see how Angel is and to talk. Angel is missing. Eric says Angel was there the day before because he fed her. Ned followed the pair up to the roof and he tells them that he called animal control. He antagonizes Julie and Eric and a fight breaks out between Eric and Ned. Julie eventually breaks up the fight. Ned tells Eric that they are going to finish “this” on way or the other. After the fight is broken up Miyagi and Julie are seen at an animal shelter. They found Angel which makes Julie happy. Miyagi suggests that it is time for Angel to be set free. Julie assumes Angel is still unable to fly but she listens to Miyagi. Julie releases Angel at a lake. Angel returns to Julie. Miyagi suggests that Angel is afraid but the bird needs to be free. Julie encourages Angel back out into the world again. This time Angel does not come back. Afterward, Julie talks to Miyagi about the senior prom. Eric asked her to go but she is concerned that she will not have a suitable dress. Miyagi is seen entering a dress boutique. He awkwardly tries to buy a dress for Julie. He does his best to describe Julie. The clerk tries to help him the best she can.
Later, Miyagi is seen moving furniture at the house. Julie asks what he is doing. Miyagi teaches her how to dance using karate as a basis for a waltz. It is revealed that Julie's grandfather taught Mr. Miyagi how to dance. While Julie is practicing he presents her with a beautiful white dress. Julie is impressed and tells Miyagi that he would have been a good parent to a daughter.
The monks come to visit Julie as promised. They all stay at the house. The night of the prom Eric comes to pick up Julie and is surprised when a portly monk answers the door. He makes awkward conversation with the monks and Mr. Miyagi. Miyagi plays the part of a father. He tells Eric to treat Julie with respect and Eric agrees. Miyagi goes up to get Julie and tells her she looks beautiful. The moment is emotional when Julie says she wishes her parents could see her. Miyagi tells her that her parents are watching. She says she remembers what Miyagi said about keeping her parents in her heart. It is a way to love someone even when they aren't with you, Julie explains. Miyagi is a bit emotional when he sends Julie off.
Outside Eric asks who the monks are and says he likes them. Julie says they are her friends and she likes them too. In the car Eric is so taken with Julie that he can't take his eyes off of her and he goes down a one way street.
Meanwhile, the monks go out on the town with Miyagi. They eventually decide to go bowling. At the alley man becomes upset because one of the monks touched his ball. The man is rude and a wager is eventually made. One dollar a point. The man does not believe the monks will win and he gladly takes the bet. The monks “zen bowl” and win the game. At the end the man sheepishly pays what he owes.
At the dance Eric and Julie have fun. She apologizes for getting Eric in trouble with Ned and the Alpha Elite but Eric brushes it off. Alpha Elite literally drop into the party using bungee cords attached to a rafter in the ceiling. One of the jumpers becomes injured. It is revealed that the stunt was Ned's idea. When Eric tries to help the injured Alpha Elite Ned tells him to leave the guy alone. Before a fight breaks out Eric and Julie leave the prom. On the stoop of the school Ned seethes saying that he was challenged and he won't let that go. Dugan encourages this. Ned follows Julie and Eric to Julies' house. As Eric and Julie are talking Ned busts Eric's' windows with a bat. Ned runs back to his car and challenges Eric to a fight at the docks. Julie is left at the house and Eric goes to finish the feud at the docks. Julie wanted him to call the cops but he refused. At the docks Ned is alone. Ned says he didn't think Eric would show. Eric says it will be a one on one fight. As Eric approaches Ned the rest of the Alpha Elite and Col. Dugan are seen materializing out of the darkness. They gather by a flaming trash can to watch. Dugan antagonizes Eric's while the Alpha Elite set his car on fire. The fight begins. Eric holds his own for a bit but he loses steam as the group attacks him. Dugan encourages the group to “finish him off” when Eric is down. The group collectively stalls unwilling to kick a man while he is down. Just then Julie and Mr. Miyagi show up to retrieve Eric. Even though Dugan lies and says Eric had a car accident Miyagi knows better. Miyagi says a fight that is five against one is no accident. As Miyagi, Julie, and Eric begin to leave Ned grabs Julie's arm. This action makes her want to fight him. Miyagi discourages fighting but she says she will never respect herself until she fights Ned. Ned is in disbelief that Julie would consider something as ridiculous as fighting him and he provokes her. Miyagi allows her to fight and tells her true strength comes from within. Dugan tells Ned to “put her away.” Ned takes a cheap shot that misses Julie and Julie gets the upper hand. Ned plays dirty by throwing dirt in Julie's face which blinds her. With encouragement from Miyagi Julie roundhouse kicks Ned to the ground. Miyagi says that the fight is over. The Colonel says the war is not won simply because a battle was lost. Dugan searches his group for another boy willing to fight Julie. None will take the challenge they all see Dugan as a psycho instead of an honorable man due to the events of the night. Col. Dugan takes Mr. Miyagi on. Dugan loses that battle horribly. After the fight Miyagi, Eric, and Julie leave. Julie praises Miyagi but he reiterates that fighting is not good but he adds that if you have you fight you should win. The movie ends with Angel freely flying over a lake.
Best part of story, including ending:
I don't like the parts of the story where Ned pushes himself on Julie. I wish there was a different conflict between them.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene of happens at a dress boutique. Miyagi attempts to describe Julie but it is difficult because he doesn't know much about girls or fashion.
Opinion about the main character:
I dislike how angry Julie is. She flies off the handle at every small provocation.