Just as young Daniel LaRusso could never have imagined becoming a martial arts master, the cast and crew behind the making of the karate kid (1984) probably never could have expected the franchise that the movie would spawn.
What started with a New Jersey boy and his bonsai tree-loving karate master has now blossomed and grown into a universally recognized household name. After the first movie was made over ten times, its estimated budget, the future consisted of a full trilogy, a spinoff movie, an animated series (we’re not kidding), a remake, and a blockbuster sequel series. who said sequel series, cobra kai (2018-present), has become one of the crown jewels in Netflix’s esteemed crown, with a new season hitting the streaming service on September 9, just in time for the start of the school year.
With cobra kai generating a lot of new interest in the series some may end the highly anticipated season wanting more and not wanting to wait another year for season six here’s how to watch every movie and tv entry in the karate kid series both by release date and in chronological order.
Karate Kid Movies and Shows in Release Date Order
- the karate kid – June 22, 1984
- Karate Kid Part II – June 20, 1986
- Karate Kid Part III – June 30, 1989
- The next karate kid – August 12, 1994
- cobra kai – May 2, 2018
- the karate kid (Animated series) – September 9, 1989
- the karate kid (Remake) – June 11, 2010
Karate Kid Movies and Shows in Chronological Order
Since there are no prequels or anything like that, following the main timeline is pretty straightforward. We’ll first cover the main entries in the series and then focus on the non-canon ones and how they tie into the franchise.
The Karate Boy (1984)
The story of the underdog who started it all. Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) wants to be a normal kid after moving to the San Fernando Valley, and even meet a girl he falls madly in love with named Ali (with I) (Elizabeth Shue). Unfortunately, Daniel becomes the subject of relentless harassment by Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and his fellow karate lovers from the Cobra Kai karate academy, run by a militaristic sociopath named Kreese (Martin Kove). Fortunately for Daniel, he has formed a bond with his apartment’s maintenance staff, Mr. Miyagi (morita pat), who also happens to be a martial arts master. To end Daniel’s torment, Miyagi and Kreese strike a deal; if Daniel wins the All-Valley Karate Tournament, Johnny and his team will leave Daniel alone. He probably knows the rest. Our underdog hero trains with all his heart and accepts a triumphant victory, but what sets the karate kid aside from other underdog sports movies like Rocky (1976) is its infectious ’80s charm, consistently entertaining action scenes, and the compelling relationship between Daniel and Miyagi. Not much else to say other than it’s an all time classic that is truly “The Best… Around”.
Karate Kid Part II (1986)
Tracking the runaway success story that was the karate kid it keeps the momentum going by picking up moments after the last movie ended. After winning the All-Valley Tournament, Daniel accompanies Mr. Miyagi to his teacher’s hometown in Okinawa, Japan. There, the duo come face to face with an enemy from Miyagi’s past and his own aggressive student; the psychopathic Chozen (Yuji Okumoto). the karate kid Part II is often and understandably overlooked by fans in favor of its predecessor, but many also claim that the sequel is just as good, if not better, than the original. It truly is the “diamond in the rough” of the series, and we mean that literally as Karate Kid Part II it’s an absolutely beautiful movie. director of photography james crab (Rocky) does some of his best work here, with some incredible shots showing off the beautiful landscapes of Okinawa, which is an impressive feat given that the movie was actually shot on Oahu, Hawaii.
Karate Kid Part III (1989)
The third and final film in the original. karate kid The trilogy features the return of Kreese, who seeks revenge after being publicly humiliated by Daniel and Miyagi. The founder of Cobra Kai recruits an old war buddy, Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), to manipulate Daniel and train him as a student of Cobra Kai. Daniel is slowly seduced by Cobra Kai’s dirtier tactics, but ultimately he will have to overcome that temptation if he is to maintain his friendship with Mr. Miyagi. Karate Kid Part III brings the series back to its roots, but much of it feels like it’s stepping back onto familiar ground with another brash bully and another climactic tournament. That’s not to say the film lacks its positives, the biggest of which is Thomas Ian Griffith’s Terry Silver, who is somehow able to match Kreese’s chaotic energy while using his infectious charisma to put Daniel on the line. side of him.
The Next Karate Kid (1994)
The next karate kid marks the first installment in the series not to include Daniel LaRusso, though we do thankfully see the return of Mr. Miyagi. Miyagi this time is training Julie Pierce (Hillary Swank), who is a young high school student and the granddaughter of Miyagi’s commanding officer during World War II. This time, Miyagi is helping the young teenager take on a group of evil school security guards led by Dugan (Michael Ironside), and stop his master plan to control the entire school. Now him karate kid Movies have always had an heir to nonsense, like how Miyagi is somehow able to miraculously heal someone just by rubbing his hands together. The next karate kid takes silliness to another level, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. The fact that the villains are supposed to be essentially evil hall monitors but somehow have the resources and influence of a private army is just absurd. Also, while Hilary Swank is certainly an accomplished actress, she just can’t quite reach the iconic level of Ralph Macchio’s Daniel. Hereinafter, The next karate kid is the only film that has not yet been referenced in cobra kaialthough perhaps off-screen Tory Nichols’s mother (Peyton List) could set the stage for an appearance by Hilary Swank.
Cobra Kai (2018 – Present)
The last chapter of karate kid The saga picks up more than thirty years after the first film, framing itself as a Johnny Lawrence spin-off story. Since we last saw him being choked by Kreese in Part IIJohnny has been living a less than charmed life as a poor, grumpy alcoholic, while his longtime rival Daniel is a wealthy car dealership owner. After helping a young man named Miguel (Xolo Mariduena), Johnny decides to start a school of his own, even adopting the name Cobra Kai. That’s just scratching the surface of what cobra kai has to offer, as almost all of the lead actors from the original films, except for the late great Pat Morita, return to reprise their roles. If the returning favorite wasn’t enough, the show also offers a wide cast of new faces who have their time to shine as the new heroes of the San Fernando Valley. Season five is coming very, very soon and season six is already underway, so if that’s not a testament to how entertaining this show is, we don’t know what is.
The Karate Boy (1989)
There was a weird period in the ’80s and ’90s where every moderately successful movie franchise got its own animated children’s series. Police Academy, Ace Venturaand even Rambo Y robocop it was just a few blockbuster franchises to market shows to younger children. the karate kid animated program sees Daniel (joey dedio), Mr. Miyagi (Roberto Ito), and a new character by the name of Taki (Janice Kawaye) travel the world and fight evil wherever you are. A simple premise for a simple show. The animated series only lasted one season and is very clearly trying to emulate the style and tone of the popular G.I. Joe (1985) cartoon (which many studios were already trying to copy). It’s fun for kids, although Pat Morita returns to do opening narration for nearly every episode despite not playing Mr. Miyagi for most of the show.
Karate Kid (2010)
The new 2010 version of the karate kid it lacks a rather big titular detail: karate. See, this reimagining of the iconic story takes place in China and instead had Kung-Fu as its martial art of choice. Despite the change of scenery, the story remains largely the same, with a young man named Dre (Jaden Smith) learning to stand up to his bullies through training with his apartment’s handyman, Mr. Han (Jackie Chan). Story-wise, the movie is a beat-for-beat remake, but does that make it “bad”? Oh no, far from it. In fact, thanks to having a martial arts legend like Jackie Chan, the karate kid 2010 has some of the best fight choreography of any entry listed here. Chan also gives a remarkably powerful performance in which the teacher’s pain is a massive point in the film’s emotional core. Although nothing in the 2010 film explicitly contradicts the main films, a crossover has already been ruled out, though Jaden Smith’s father, Will Smithstill remains involved with the franchise as a producer on cobra kai.