The Karate Kid Part II left fans of the first movie’s romance unsatisfied. Daniel and Ali’s breakup happens off-screen on the night of prom at the beginning of the movie, leaving Daniel to relate the story to Mr. Miyagi while still wearing his periwinkle blue tux and frilly blue pirate dress shirt. Somehow, in Daniel’s telling, Ali both wrecked the car that Mr. Miyagi gave him in the first movie and revealed she was dating a football player from UCLA over the course of the same night, and that’s that.
In terms of ’80s movies briskly and efficiently dispatching characters, it’s right up there with Indiana Jones drawing his revolver and shooting the swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark. But unlike that one, this moment falls far short of iconic, and how it plays shortchanges the character of Ali. She wasn’t even this cruel to Johnny (William Zabka), who refused to accept their breakup and harassed her and Daniel throughout the entirety of the first movie. The two separate offenses Daniel complains about to Mr. Miyagi feel like a miscalculation, like the movie’s trying too hard to garner sympathy points for Daniel. Wouldn’t her wanting to date a college kid be enough to end their relationship? Isn’t the car just overkill?