The Pat Morita Story

More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story-Movie Review

Ralph Macchio & Kevin Derek
Ralph Macchio & Kevin Derek

January 11, 2020 (NYC)- More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story (2021) is the new film by Kevin Derek, director of 2016’s The Real Miyagi.  It is everything the title says, and more.   The documentary is the real life story of the beloved actor and comedian that brought the iconic and endearing, Mr. Miyagi, to life in The Karate Kid film series.

The story of Pat Morita is told through personal archived footage and interviews with people that knew him best, from his 3rd wife, Evelyn Guerrero, his Happy Days co-stars, and the cast of the original Karate Kid, including Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, and Martin Kove.  

While the film is a look at the life of this universally beloved character actor, it is more.   It is also a look at the evolution of the Asian-American experience in Hollywood films and television, a look at the post World War II experience of Japanese Americans, and a look at the personally destructive pain of the legacy of alcohol addiction.  All of this reflected through the scope of experience of this complex and likeable, groundbreaking star of stage, television, and movies.

Henry Winkler
Henry Winkler

Nearly four decades after he created the most iconic role of his career, and one of the most iconic roles in movies history, and more than a decade after his passing, the world is again immersed in the world of The Karate Kid thanks to the Cobra Kai resurgence on Netflix.  As we discussed in our prior review of Cobra Kai, despite Pat Morita’s absence from the series the presence of him, and Mr. Miyagi, loom large over and through the fabric of the series;  this is, partially, why it is so successful.  In many ways the series is, itself, a tribute to Mortia’s legacy, as much as Miyagi’s.

More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story (2021) helps viewers to fill the gap of time between seasons of Cobra Kai, for those who can’t get enough of The Karate Kid saga.  More importantly, it helps to explain how, despite having no prior martial arts training, Pat Morita used his life’s experiences and pain to create the believable and beloved martial arts master that earned him an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor.

This is an enjoyable and moving film and I highly recommend it.   

The film will be released of February 5TH on Apple, Amazon, GooglePlay and VUDU 

-by Marc Zirogiannis, Editor in Chief

Here our podcast discussion of this great film:


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