The Next Karate Kid (1994)



Critic Consensus: The Next Karate Kid is noteworthy for giving audiences the chance to see a pre-Oscars Hilary Swank, but other than a typically solid performance from Pat Morita, this unnecessary fourth installment in the franchise has very little to offer.

Movie Info

Karate Kid, Part 4 is better known by its release title, The Next Karate Kid. The sole holdover from the first three KK flicks is Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, once more cast as janitor/martial arts maven Miyagi Yakuga. This time, his pupil is orphaned 17-year-old Hilary Swank, the granddaughter of Miyagi's war buddy. Relentlessly bullied by her male classmates and feeling responsible for her parents' fatal accident, Swank is taught self-worth through the tough-but-gentle guidance of Miyagi. While The … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family
Directed By:
Written By: Mark Lee
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 28, 2001
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


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Critic Reviews for The Next Karate Kid

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (8)

The Next Karate Kid is harmless as children's entertainment, but for 104 very long minutes, there isn't a recognizable human being in sight.

Full Review… | June 14, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The overt message of any Karate Kid movie: Don't fight unless you absolutely have to. The implicit message: You'll always have to. Let the smitings begin!

Full Review… | May 22, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

While the message that a girl can defend herself against the boys threatening her is a good one, it's lost in a movie where the bullies look like Mussolini's bodyguards and where Julie waits for her boyfriend and Miyagi to come to her defense.

Full Review… | May 22, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Only the reasonably-appealing performances of Morita and newcomer Swank keep it all from becoming even more of a loser.

Full Review… | May 22, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Not that girls will go see this or boys will care.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

The franchise is still kicking -- but not very high.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Next Karate Kid

Fourth and final entry in the series is a mess from start to finish, one that never should have been made. I never got the fact why they kept making films to the original; they constantly recycled ideas with every sequel, and never did anything new with the formula. With this final entry, we get a change of a lead character, who is a girl played by Hilary Swank. Swank would go on to star in far better films, and this among her worst. At least it was during her time when she was honing her skills as an actress and was still a rising talent. Luckily she would become one of Hollywood's greatest actresses. The franchise by now has clearly run out of ideas, and this final entry has nothing to show for it. I think that The Karate Kid should have been a standalone film, and each sequel simply didn't offer anything good or original. I think the filmmakers overplayed the themes of previous films far too much and it lost its meaning and made it uninteresting to watch. Hilary Swank is a great actress, however this is a film where she doesn't deliver, and you see how she's struggling with the bad, predictable and recycled material. Stick with the first film, and avoid all these bad sequels. Luckily, The Next Karate Kid was the final entry in the series and with good reason. The remake would be much better, and offer something that was missing since the original, which was a compelling, truly inspiring story. The New Karate Kid is a film that should be forgotten after you've had the misfortune of seeing it.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

Funny and i found it much more entertaining than the other 3 movies, mainly because miyagi has much more screen time and is much funnier

michael e.
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer


The same kinda story but with a new apprentice, enter a girl who needs Miyagi's help with the usual bully problems. Yes its the same but it still works well, Morita makes it really but Swank is very good and looks like she can do the moves. It is one story too far really but it just gets by, the plot involving Morita's background and Swanks father being old war buddies does actually work, in the end its a kids film but much much more and soo much better than most. Better than you would expect.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

The Next Karate Kid Quotes

– Submitted by Finn M (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Finn M (3 years ago)

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