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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Teens > Martial Arts Cycle > The Karate Kid I & II (1984 + 1986/Sony Blu-ray Set)

The Karate Kid I & II (1984 + 1986/Sony Blu-ray Set)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: B/C+     Films: A-



Acting as one of the most recognizable coming of age films in recent time The Karate Kid is a fun, yet memorable tale.  The Karate Kid film series acts as the quintessential underdog tale that like Rocky before it and Rudy after as it has you cheering in your seat.  The premise is simple enough as a good hearted kid (played by Ralph Macchio) finds himself a mentor in the form of an eccentric old man (played by Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita).  The film for all intents and purposes is a drama, but a very entertaining drama.  The 1984 John G Avildsen (Rocky), which had low hype at first, turned out to be a smash hit and even earned the talented Pat Morita an Oscar nomination.  On top of the critical praise and general public following, the film spurred three sequels and a huge merchandising campaign.


The plot starts off simple enough as Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) moves from New Jersey to Reseda California with his mother.  At school Daniel meets a girl named Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue), but soon finds himself an enemy in the form of Ali’s boyfriend Johnny (William Zabka).  Johnny is a karate student and at the top of his class at the Cobra Kai Dojo, where he is taught to be a relentless and vicious fighter.  Daniel is subjected to a host of beatings from Johnny and his crew, but one day is rescued by an unlikely savior in the form of Mr. Miyagi.  Mr. Miyagi is the handyman at Daniel’s apartment complex, but somehow managed to defeat all five Cobra Kai members with ease; leading Daniel to ask him to be his teacher.  Mr. Miyagi refuses to be Daniel’s teacher, instead offering to help resolve the issue by taking him to the Cobra Kai Dojo to confront the bully’s sensei.  Mr. Miyagi and Daniel are met with a less than warm welcome by Cobra Kai’s sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove), leading Miyagi and Kreese agreeing to a match in 2 months between Johnny and Daniel at the ‘All Valley Karate Tournament.’  Training begins, but Daniel finds himself subjected to one hard labor chore after another making him question Miyagi when his ‘real training’ will start.  Daniel soon finds out that Miyagi methods are not as crazy as they seem and he is slyly leading the doubtful student to greatness.


Whereas you would expect a sequel to a film like The Karate Kid to be a simple rehashing, The Karate Kid: Part II stands on its on as a film with great depth, detailed drama and solid action.  The film picks up where The Karate Kid left off and soon has Daniel and Mr. Miyagi departing to Okinawa to visit Mr. Miyagi’s ailing father.  We soon discover that Mr. Miyagi had fled Okinawa all those years ago after an altercation with the son (Sato) of the richest man in town and a karate student of Miyagi’s father.  Miyagi had loved the woman the Sato was arranged to marry and instead of following tradition Miyagi professed his love to the woman (Yukie) in public; in turn infuriating Sato and leading Sato to challenge Miyagi to a fight to the death.  Miyagi did not wish to fight his former friend and instead fled to America.  The story from this point takes off on a rich adventure of training, challenge, love, loss and new experiences.  As previously mentioned the film stands on its own from the original, while maintaining all of the elements that made the first film so great.


To me The Karate Kid films are classic, my only question in this case is why not include all the films in this Blu-ray set?  Perhaps it has something to do with restoring the film to the desired high definition quality (as may be true) or maybe the studio is looking to make a little more off splitting the series; who knows?  All that I can say is that the films are as great as ever and I thoroughly enjoyed partaking in the classics again.



The technical features of this two film Blu-ray box set are very nicely presented.  The picture is a 1080p AVC encoded 1.85 X 1 that looks somewhat dated as it radiates with 1980’s film quality, but it is the best the film has ever looked on home video.  Most impressive is the level of detail found throughout the two films with every aspect of the scenery popping.  The contrast is well balanced, along with a vivid color palette that takes both films to the next level.  The blacks are no as deep and inky as they should be, but are by no means bad as they adequately frame the martial arts infused films.  There is a level of grain throughout both films that is not distracting and if anything gives The Karate Kid some cinematic depth. I would not say the picture is demo quality, but overall is quite nice.  The sound is a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio on both The Karate Kid I & II delivering a track that is crisp, clean and clear throughout.  The films are very dialogue heavy, but the surrounds pick up and offer an immersive experience during the action sequences.  The ambient noises give the film a degree of atmosphere that is quite welcome as it brings the films to life.  I would have to say that this is a technically worthwhile Blu-ray set and whereas there are some dated 1980s aspects to both films, overall they deliver a pleasurable viewing experience.


The extras are mostly ported over from previous DVD releases, but are enjoyable nevertheless.  Extras include the following:


The Karate Kid

Audio Commentary: The late Pat Morita, John G. Avildsen, Ralph Macchio and writer Robert Mark Kamen all gather to deliver a WONDERFUL commentary track that is entertaining, informative and light hearted.  The men obviously all enjoy each others company and have fond memories of making the film, making it a fun track to partake in.


The Way of the Karate Kid: Part I- Essentially a big behind the scenes featurette that takes the viewer through the twists and turns of the film’s production.

The Way of the Karate Kid: Part II- Continues where Part I left off.

Beyond the Form: The martial arts choreographer Pat E. Johnson discusses his experience making The Karate Kid and its impact on him and the world

East Meets West: A Composers Notebook: Bill Conti let’s the viewer into his thought process for creating the music of The Karate Kid

Life of a Bonsai: Essentially the art of Bonsai featurette


Blu-Pop *Blu-ray Exclusive* For once an awesome Blu-ray exclusive is delivered! This featurette offers a plethora of Karate Kid factoids as a picture-in-picture commentary track of Ralph Macchio and William Zabka plays offering even more info.

BD-Live *Blu-ray Exclusive*


The Karate Kid: Part II

Blu-Pop *Blu-ray Exclusive* The same as mentioned on The Karate Kid, but this track obviously centering on Part II

“The Sequel” Featurette: A ported over featurette that takes the viewer behind the scenes of the second film

BD-Live *Blu-ray Exclusive*



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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