Director Fabrizio DeAngelis smartly positions Karate Warrior 3 as essentially Karate Warrior: The Next Generation as the Golden Kimono (while clearly hideous and more than a little sissy, but due to some ancient far east mumbo jumbo is inexplicably quite sought after) is passed from original Karate Douche Kim Rossi Stuart to Ron Williams.
And rest easy fans because in the acting and manliness department Ron is more than up to the task of being just as lacking in both categories as the suddenly departed Kim. (Don’t worry about Kim’s whereabouts. He parlayed his Karate Warrior fame into a part in Lamberto Bava‘s Cave of the Golden Rose series).
Also moving on to greener pastures is the original Karate Warrior’s girlfriend (Amy Lynn Baxter who took her acting to the next level in Penthouse Pet of the Year Play-Off 1991) and Karate Warrior’s sensai. The new Karate Warrior’s girlfriend handles her role as the anonymous blonde chick quite well, never getting in the way of the action. (This could be because Karate Warrior 3, Karate Warrior 4 and Karate Warrior 5 are not available in English so I wouldn’t have noticed if she was nagging Karate Warrior to take out the trash or not.)
As great as all these changes were (it was genius to finally have Karate Warrior’s mentor working right in town at a restaurant so that Karate Warrior could hang out in the kitchen and get trained in holding a lot of plates), Fabrizio also recognizes that sometimes when something is working, only tweaking things a bit can make it even better. Thus we are treated to the return of Christopher Alan who was the evil Dick Anderson in Karate Warrior 2! But Dick Anderson was so lame, he to had hire a real kung fu villain to handle Karate Warrior. So now Christopher Alan is local dojo delinquent Joe Carson! And it isn’t long before he and Karate Warrior are butting heads at the beach!
Following Joe and his crew’s humiliation of a nerd at the beach, Karate Warrior rolls up on them and in perhaps Karate Warrior’s only truly bad ass moment in six entire films, he picks up Joe’s boombox and throws it against a wall! Really, busting a guy’s electronics just because he tossed some dork’s salad in the surf seems like an overreaction, but I like overreaction from my martial arts heroes. Overreaction is what causes necks to get freaking snapped!
But violent overreaction works both ways, thank God! Joe and his punk posse storm the original Karate Warrior’s dojo, beat down the geek caretaker, trash the trophy case and steal the Golden Kimono!
And it only got worse when after Joe wore it during the last battle, he lost and had it stripped off of him so that Karate Warrior could wear it! Imagine how gross it must have been with it being drenched in Joe’s loser sweat!
In between its theft and the recovery, the Golden Kimono being in the wrong hands causes all manner of low level action. There’s the humiliation of Joe wearing it to the local club for the big costume party (Karate Warrior’s Indiana Jones costume easily took the award that night for “Costume that Required the Least Effort” with his hat and leather jacket), Joe trying to run Karate Warrior over while he was riding his bike and Joe arranging it so that the bicycle race Karate Warrior wins is tainted due to the interference of some dudes on motorcycles!
They even framed Karate Warrior’s friend for something or other by pouring fake blood on his moped and bashing out the lights. Watching Karate Warrior’s best pal hauled away in cuffs while Joe laughed made me laugh too, but also made me drool as I imagined how much overreaction there would be by Karate Warrior!
Like Karate Warrior 4 and Karate Warrior 5, not having any English really helped the film since I wasn’t subjected to inane dialogue explaining the various moronic subplots that appeared to play out whenever Joe wasn’t running roughshod over Karate Warrior and his gang of gomers.
I think there was something about Karate Warrior’s mom needing $2500 to keep her house and Karate Warrior’s girlfriend’s rich dad trying to pay him off to leave his hot daughter alone. He was won over though once Karate Warrior dominated Joe in their fight and rewarded Karate Warrior and his mom with a boat trip on the yacht where I think he was also hitting on Karate Warrior’s mom! No English necessary for that!
A satisfyingly horrid effort that while lacking the random lunacy of the next three films in the series (remember the shopping spree at JCPenney’s, the mermaid, Tubby’s diet pills, the Ron Jeremy cameo?) adequately sets it all up and includes such guffaw-inducing moments as Karate Warrior’s mentor massaging some flashbacks into his head during the big match after Karate Warrior gets his ass kicked, Tubby either running around in his King Chicken gear or dressed up in his John Wayne Gacy clown costume, the mentor’s wacky facial expressions during various reaction shots and the criminally insane use of slow motion to emphasize how terrible the little action that happens in the film truly is!
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