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With the new wave of popularity that Netflix’s Cobra Kai has brought to the legacy of The Karate Kid franchise, feelings of nostalgia and discovery await fans old and new. And a crucial part of that history is, naturally, the presence of actor and comedian Pat Morita, who cemented its timelessness as one of the greatest mentors in cinematic history: Mr. Miyagi. But if you thought you knew the man behind the legend, the new documentary More Than Miyagi is ready to test that claim, as Pat Morita’s life story is about to be told in greater detail than ever.
Pulling from interviews from Mr. Morita’s many co-stars, like The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai leads Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, More Than Miyagi does indeed reinforce the story of the man who would help define an ‘80s classic as a timeless tradition. However, the documentary also pulls from an incomplete autobiography that Pat Morita left behind, which talks about everything from childhood illness to his personal struggles, both in his personal and professional life. Above all else, More Than Miyagi seeks to draw a more complete picture of the man that taught so many to believe in themselves, and overcome any obstacles that stood in their way.
In addition to contemporary interviews, More Than Miyagi uses what looks to be extensive archival footage and photos to tell the Pat Morita story. Personal images from Morita’s childhood, behind the scenes footage, and home movies all compliment the moments from the legendary actor’s career that are used to bring Pat Morita’s personal story into better focus. Combined with moments from his career as a stand-up comedian, as well as a fixture of sitcoms like Sanford and Son and Happy Days, More Than Miyagi will provide what could be the most accurate portrait of the iconic actor.
To think that there was a point in time that Pat Morita almost didn’t land the role of Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid is absurd in hindsight. That very situation looks like it’s about to gain a lot of context through the story that Morita always intended to tell, and that More Than Miyagi is going to provide. So diehard fans of the Cobra Kai origin story, as well as anyone who loves a good story about personal stakes, is about to be in for a treat.
More Than Miyagi will be released on February 5, and it will be available on Digital HD, as well as Blu-ray and DVD on the same day. Meanwhile, all three seasons of Cobra Kai are available on Netflix, to stream at your leisure. But if you’re looking to see what’s headed our way in the theatrical year to come, head over to our 2021 release schedule to get the details.