The Karate Kid (Blu-ray)
The Karate Kid is a movie about a boy that is duped into yard work by an old Japanese man who originally promises to teach him karate. Okay, so that’s only partially correct. It is however, a film that after 25 years still holds its charm.
Wax on…The Karate Kid is a great coming of age tale that holds a special place in your memory. Whether it was Mr. Miyagi’s (Pat Morita) pearls of wisdom, the slammin’ soundtrack, or quotes in general “There’s no fear in this dojo!” there’s always something about this film you will remember, probably for the rest of your life.
It all starts when Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) moves from New Jersey to California because of his Mom’s new job. Sadly, the blonde masses immediately bully Daniel. When Daniel’s Mom says, “To me the whole world turned blonde” she’s spot on. Young Daniel-san’s enemy is blonde karate jerk, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) who spends the majority of the film along with his “extreme” buddies relentlessly bullying Daniel. The bullying began when Daniel caught the eye of the beautiful Ali (Elisabeth Shue). One moment he’s teaching her some sweet soccer tricks, next thing he knows he’s getting his butt kicked by defending her honor over a boombox.
Daniel is picked on and friendless because he’s viewed as a pansy by the rest of the school. His only friend is Ali, who he has a hot and cold relationship with. She’s the richy and he’s the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. After a bad accident caused by the Cobra Kai extreme karate team, Daniel is through with California and ready to go home.
Before he officially throws in the towel, Daniel finds an unusual friend in his apartments handyman, Mr. Miyagi (Morita). This is where the heart of the story lies. While the supporting cast ends up being lackluster, Macchio and Morita shine in the roles of their characters. Mr. Miyagi seems to calm Daniel down by doing nice things for him. When he figures out that Daniel is at constant odds with a bully skilled in karate, Miyagi takes him in and shows him everything he learned about karate himself. Did you also ever notice that Miyagi could have gone to jail like a million times in that movie? He was driving without a license, giving alcohol to a minor, and assaulting juveniles. Who cares? It was the 80’s and it was hilarious. Miyagi getting drunk has to be one of my favorite scenes.
Miyagi and Daniel’s relationship becomes one of mutual respect and teach each other valuable lessons. Morita’s performance is timeless and each line he delivers tends to be just as great as the last, “In Okinawa, belt mean no need rope to hold up pants”. Macchio’s Daniel could be any smart mouth kid you went to high school with, while he was a little overdramatic in some parts, it’s warranted. Daniel was struggling through the pains of being an awkward teenager and sometimes that comes with a bit of drama.
The Karate Kid is a classic underdog film that you cheer through. We’ve all been bullied at one point or another, and most of us wish that we had our own Miyagi to get us through. You know that you secretly sing, “You’re the best around” when you hear it play in the movie. This is because Karate Kid is one of the best around. Simple, yet effective. Wax off.
Video: There are a few discrepancies in the video where it’s a tad grainy, but the transfer is actually pretty good. The video still contains a small hint of that 80’s flair. (1.85:1 Widescreen).
Audio: It’s a hell of a lot better than anything on VHS. Good quality with a great soundtrack. You won’t be disappointed. (5.1 DTS-HD).
Blu-Pop: If you’ve seen Karate Kid a million times, I highly suggest turning this option on before viewing. There are a lot of cool facts that pop up on the screen, and added commentary with Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. This is fun for people who are really into stuff like “Pop-Up Video”.
BD-Live: A portal that allows you access to trailers. Nothing to get too terribly excited over.
Commentary by John G. Avildsen, writer Robert Mark Kamen and actors Ralph Macchion and Pat Morita: Another special thing to turn on while viewing the film. Most commentary on DVD/Blu-ray can be rather tiresome, but this is one you’ll want to listen to. They discuss several different topics throughout the film: the relationships, shooting, stunts, and everything in between.
The Way of the Karate Kid (Part 1) (24:00): A “Behind-the-movie” of sorts that explains getting the film off the ground, casting, and production. There are many interviews and tons of never before seen footage that makes for an interesting watch.
The Way of the Karate Kid (Part 2) (21:25): Continuation of the first part. Gives more information on the stunt work side. More behind the scenes and interviews.
Beyond the Form (13:03): Pat E. Johnson, marital arts choreographer for the film goes into his experience, training of the actors, teachings of the martial arts, and what the film did for the karate world.
East Meets West: A Composer’s Notebook (8:17): Composer Bill Conti discusses the thought process of putting the music together for a film like, The Karate Kid. He explains how music is important to certain aspects like the emotion in the film.
Life of Bonsai (10:00): The featurette focuses on Bonsai master, Ben Oki. He talks about his history with the planet and the benefit of owning a Bonsai.