25 November 2015 | The_Phantom_Projectionist
"We'll make ninja burgers outta ya!"
MAGIC KID was a flawed but decent freshman vehicle for karate kid Ted Jan Roberts, but its sequel here is merely flawed. Losing the original film's strengths in the process of multiplying its weaknesses, MAGIC KID 2 sees its lone bright star - Roberts - slowly eclipsed by more buffoonery than even a PG-rated picture should have to put up with. The martial arts are still better than typical kiddie fare, but not enough to put up with the rest of the feature.
The story: Having become a movie star, young Kevin (Roberts) is unhappily stuck in a job that stifles his integrity leaves him little time to be a regular kid. When his pleas for a more relaxed schedule fail to sway his domineering agent (Hugo Napier) and his intimidated uncle (Stephan Furst), he will need to take matters into his own hands.
What hurts the movie more than anything for a viewer older than seven is that with very few exceptions, the story is populated by ridiculously goofy characters. The obsessive agent who thinks the best way to deal with a runaway star is to have his henchman (Donald Gibb) beat up the uncle is one matter, but it's the same uncle who takes the level of buffoonery into orbit. Stephan Furst's role is even more overblown than in the first picture, and his performance is one of painful abandon as he engages in arguments with his pet bulldog and completely overexerts himself while pantomiming martial arts moves. Occasionally, there's a genuinely funny gag, but this coincides with some sexual humor that parents probably won't appreciate in a PG flick.
Ted does his best in being the only sensible individual amidst all the adult goofballs, but even his acting suffers a bit of a low when he has to play a teen romance scene with a young Dana Barron. His impressive karate moves make a statement of their own and peak early in a stick fight with Richard Rabago, but the majority of the brawls are intentionally hokey setups being shot for a fictional movie. A funny but unexciting chase scene yields an impressive chicken truck crash, and later three sports cars explode for the sake of quota, but that's about it as far as the action goes.
Oddly absent from the sequel are both Shonda Whipple as Kevin's sister and Don Wilson as Kevin's idol. While I don't miss Kevin's incessant hero worship, the movie would have benefited from Wilson's presence, and Shonda's absence may make this one less appealing to young girls. Then again, the film's audience probably isn't going to compose of much these days other than nostalgic fans. Know yourself before purchasing.