Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita will always be remembered for his Oscar-nominated portrayal of Mr. Miyagi in John G. Avildsen’s enduring 80’s classic The Karate Kid. It is the kind of defining role that both cements an actor’s legacy and also, in the case of Morita, further pigeonholed the Japanese-American actor in the eyes of Hollywood. It is this aspect of the role, and Morita’s life before, during and after the success of The Karate Kid that takes the focus of this new documentary that seeks to reveal more about the man, his struggles and the impact his career has had concerning on screen representation as a whole.
Director Kevin Derek, who was also behind the documentary The Real Miyagi which focused on Morita’s stunt double for The Karate Kid films, karate master Fumio Demura, crafts quite an intimate portrait of the late Morita (who passed away in 2005). It is a portrait made up of talking head collaborations with many of his colleagues from his Happy Days tenure to The Karate Kid franchise, but is largely driven by Evelyn Guerrero, Morita’s widow, who promised to deliver his life story truthfully and in a very candid manner. It is this candid approach that makes More Than Miyagi a truly enlightening film, one that crafts a picture of a charismatic and well loved man, but a very troubled one at that.
Full review over at THN, originally published February 11th 2021.