Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Karate Kid I & II: Collector’s Edition’

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CHICAGO – Before you make plans to check out the remake of “The Karate Kid” with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan on June 11th, flashback to where the phenomenon began with the 1984 original film starring Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, and Elisabeth Shue and the film’s first sequel, now available on Blu-ray. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

Having not watched “The Karate Kid” in years, it’s somewhat easy to forget how huge the movie was when it first came out. Those of who were just the right age (seven to seventeen) for the movie to connect on a personal level couldn’t get enough of “The Karate Kid” and the memorable quotes and iconic moments number more than you probably even remember.

It’s also worth noting that the film itself has held up surprisingly well. Often times, the rose-colored glasses of ’80s nostalgia can turn some mediocre movies into “classics”. Such is not the case with this very well-made, perfectly-paced, and expertly produced film. The ensemble is better than you remember with young stars Ralph Macchio and Elisabeth Shue displaying an easygoing chemistry that comes with perfect casting and Morita never faltering. When a film becomes a phenomenon, it can be easy to write it off as a fad, but “The Karate Kid” is a better movie than you probably even remember.

The Karate Kid I and II: Collector's Edition was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 11th, 2010.
The Karate Kid I and II: Collector’s Edition was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 11th, 2010.
Photo credit: Sony

The same cannot be said for the 1986 sequel, a lackluster follow-up that never quite comes together. It’s funny to think that if the first film hadn’t been sullied by mediocre sequels, it might be even more fondly remembered. Let’s hope the remake finds some of that original magic.

Have you always wondered how they caught the fly in the chopsticks or why Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) wore a red jacket? You can listen to Macchio and Zabka reveal behind-the-scenes details on an excellent “Blu-Pop” track that intercuts standard trivia with interviews with the two stars. Both have fond memories of making the movie and offer more interesting anecdotal stories than the average commentary track. It’s a very enjoyable trivia/audio track.

Other special features on the first film include a commentary with Director John G. Avildsen, Writer Robert Mark Kamen, and Actors Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita, “The Way of The Karate Kid,” “Beyond the Form,” “East Meets West: A Composer’s Notebook,” and “Life of Bonsai”. The film’s technical specs are pretty average with a 1080p HD picture that looks like it could have been remastered a bit more but is never distractingly bad. Same goes for the English DTS-HD Master Audio track, one that gets the job done but doesn’t impress.

The same tech specs apply to “The Karate Kid II” along with the following special features: “Blu-Pop” trivia track and “The Sequel”.

‘The Karate Kid’ and ‘The Karate Kid II’ is released by Sony Pictures Home Video and stars Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, and Elisabeth Shue. Both films were written by Robert Mark Kamen and directed by John G. Avildsen. The Blu-ray set was released on May 11th, 2010. Both films are rated PG. content director Brian Tallerico

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