If you were born in the 50’s and 60’s then your first memory of Pat Morita was probably seeing him on television shows like Happy Days or MASH. For those of us born in the late 70’s and 80’s then you remember Pat from his iconic role in The Karate Kid as Mr. Miyagi. What most people don’t realize is that Pat had an amazing comedy and acting career that most people would dream of. But what everyone except those closest to him doesn’t realize is there was a man with a lot of pain inside. More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story is an amazing documentary that chronicles the life of Pat Morita through his own words and those who knew him best.
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You have probably heard the saying that “You can tell what type of an impact a person has by seeing who attends their funeral.” In this documentary, it is easy to see the Pat Morita was a special man who touched the lives of many people. This documentary doesn’t just tell the life of Pat but more importantly is the friendships he made throughout his life. Most people just know Pat from his iconic role as Mr. Miyagi where he received an Academy Award Nomination in The Karate Kid. The success of the first film paved way for three more Karate Kid films where Pat would reprise his role as Mr. Miyagi.
The documentary chronicles Pat’s journey as a young Japanese boy living in the United States post World War II to his last days on earth. As a young man, he knew his path would lead to Hollywood where he would begin his career as a comedian. That career path would lead Pat to roles on iconic television shows like Happy Days, Mash, and Welcome Back Kotter. Those roles would lead to opportunities for leading roles in short lived television shows but then to Mr. Miyagi.
More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story does an amazing job of highlighting the legacy that The Karate Kid especially Pat’s role as Mr. Miyagi. Every person that was interviewed in the documentary connects that The Karate Kid franchise wouldn’t be where it is today. The highlight of the documentary is when Ralph Macchio talks about putting together Cobra Kai and saying that he wouldn’t do it unless it focused on the legacy of Mr. Miyagi.
It is amazing to see how many people Pat came in contact with and all the positive things they had to say about him. Even in the later years of his life when he became consumed by alcoholism, no one could say a negative thing about him. Fans of Pat, The Karate Kid, or even Cobra Kai should definitely check out this documentary. For older fans, this documentary will leave them needing tissues.
The Oscar-nominated actor, Pat Morita, best known for his role of “Mr. Miyagi,” left behind a painfully revealing autobiographical record of his much-too-brief time here on Earth, tracing his journey from being bed-bound as a boy to the bright lights and discrimination in Hollywood. Deep inside that sweet, generous, multi-talented performer seethed an army of demons, that even alcohol and drugs couldn’t mask.
More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story features interviews from Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, Martin Kove, Henry Winkler, James Hong, Sean Kanan, Marion Ross, Esai Morales, Tommy Chong, Don Most, Anson Williams and more.
You can watch the documentary yourself on February 5 on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu,
Google Play, DVD and Blu-ray.