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COLUMBIA TRISTAR

MOVIE INFO

Director:
John G. Avildsen
Cast:
Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Martin Kove, William Zabka, Ron Thomas, Rob Garrison, Chad McQueen, Tony O'Dell
Writing Credits:
Robert Mark Kamen

Tagline:
One more lesson to share. The price of honor. The glory of friendship. And the way you must fight when only the winner survives.

Synopsis:
Presenting the complete Karate Kid Collection, a rousing collection of four uplifting, coming-of-age adventures that will leave you cheering! Two teenagers learn important lessons in life, friendship and the art of self-defense from their wise mentor, Mr. Miyagi. Starring Ralph Macchio, Oscar®-nominated Noriyuki "Pat" Morita (Best Supporting Actor, The Karate Kid, 1984) and Academy Award®-winner Hillary Swank (Best Actress, Boys Don't Cry, 1999).

Box Office:
Domestic Gross
$115.103 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
Portuguese
Spanish

Runtime: 113 min.
Price: $24.95
Release Date: 5/11/2010

Bonus:
• “Blu-Pop” Interactive Feature
• “The Sequel” Featurette
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Mitsubishi WS65315 65" TV; Pioneer VSXD409 Home Theater Receiver; Sony DVP NC665P 5 Disc DVD player; KLH Home Theater Speakers

RELATED REVIEWS


The Karate Kid II [Blu-Ray] (1986)

Reviewed by Brian Ludovico / Colin Jacobson (May 5, 2010)

After the credits roll over the “previously in The Karate Kid” prologue, 1986’s The Karate Kid Part II opens with a scene cut from the original’s ending. Outside the tournament, Miyagi (Pat Morita) and Daniel (Ralph Macchio) catch evil sensei Kreese (Martin Kove) abusing his own students, as he’s completely enraged by their failure.

Karate Kid II then flashes forward six months and begins its own story on the evening of Daniel’s senior prom. Despite kicking butt in the tournament, Daniel’s life is in shambles. First of all, his lady love Ali has wrecked the classic car that Miyagi gave Daniel in the first film. What’s worse, she picked today to tell Daniel that she’s fallen in love with some football player and is dumping his skinny behind. What kind of chick does this on senior prom night? She let Daniel go rent a tux, get all pumped up and then pulls this nonsense? Talk about dragging a character through the mud!

Unfortunately, things get worse for our hero, and that provokes even more whining from Daniel. His mother needs to move to Fresno for the summer for some kind of training. That means that Daniel is going to live in Fresno all summer, which doesn’t make him happy. Miyagi kindly takes Daniel in for the summer and lets him live in the guestroom he’s just built, but Daniel’s horrible luck must be contagious. Miyagi immediately gets a letter from his native Okinawa informing him that his father is gravely ill, and he should come to visit him. This gives Miyagi the chance to explain to Daniel why he left Okinawa all those years ago.

As it turns out, before he met Mrs. Miyagi in an internment camp, there was a star-crossed love in Okinawa named Yukie (Nobu McCarthy). Miyagi fell in love with her and she with him, but according to old Japanese tradition, Yukie was betrothed to another man. That other man happened to be Miyagi’s childhood friend and fellow student of his father’s karate, Sato (Danny Kamekona). Sato was enraged and demanded that Miyagi face him in a fight to the death in ordered to recover his tattered honor. Miyagi knew that his father didn’t teach them karate to use against each other in a death match, and he also didn’t want to fight and potentially kill his best friend. Miyagi saw only one way out: he left Okinawa for the USA that day, and never looked back.

In the years that passed, Sato built a vast commercial empire in Okinawa, with many business concerns and real estate that includes the land on which Miyagi’s old village sits. As we learn upon Miyagi’s arrival, Sato’s rage and contempt for his former friend haven’t diminished one iota. In fact, the years seem to have honed them to a hard, sharp edge. Sato demands that the two of them face off immediately or dire consequences will be suffered. Miyagi, of course, refuses to fight. When his father finally does pass away, Sato gives Miyagi three days to mourn, and an ultimatum: fight or the village will be plowed under.

All that sounds like a pretty good film, right? It could be, if there wasn’t the constant interruption of Daniel, putzing around the village and the island. Daniel gets a lightly reworked version of his plotline from the original: wrong side of the wrong guy and a strictly “G”-rated love interest. In this case, the wrong guy is Sato’s nephew Chozen (Yuji Okumoto). Chozen just plain doesn’t like Daniel, pretty much because his uncle doesn’t like Miyagi. Daniel puts him over the edge by proving him wrong in the famous ice-breaking sequence and by exposing his scheme that’s been cheating the villagers out of their crop money. Every scene with these two in it plods ponderously toward the inevitable final showdown.

Of course, the other Daniel story angle follows his love interest. This time, Daniel falls for a Okinawan young lady named Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita). She’s Yukie’s beautiful niece, and also the local dance teacher. I have a real problem with the whole Kumiko/Daniel dynamic. There’s negative chemistry between them, so when they’re together, they actually make the movie less romantic.

As an indirect result, Kumiko seems to exist solely to exhibit some ancient cultural tradition every two seconds. I appreciate the exposure to another culture, but this movie does it so much that it starts to feel absurd. And does Daniel have to be so stupid about this stuff? Saying things like “Forget the honor garbage!” and smugly remarking “Is this seat taken?” before a tea ceremony makes him look like an idiot, not a charmer.

For me, the worst offense Kid II commits is cheating its viewers out of a true Miyagi/Sato throwdown, instead favoring Daniel and crazy Chozen at the dance festival. There’s absolutely no suspense to this fight; we know exactly how it will go. Not even Miyagi’s foreboding advice about this not being a tournament can help.

The film suffers from a good deal of smaller problems, like the once-again over the top villainy, the hilariously constipated delivery from Sato, and the fact that the film cuts the interesting material short in favor of the film’s title character. The original film had a lot of these same problems, but with one major difference: emotional resonance. This isn’t a David vs. Goliath tale any more - it’s just a run of the mill story, and it comes with an absurd climax.

At its peak, Kid II is a redeemable sequel, but it falls far short of enjoyability level boasted by its progenitor. I enjoyed the material with Miyagi and his culture, the funeral scene, Miyagi contemplating the loss of his father, and the overall scenery change by shifting the film to Okinawa. There are even a few scenes that actually advance the relationship between the two friends, but there’s far too much stuff here that just isn’t that interesting. I guess it would have been hard to call it a sequel to The Karate Kid without actually having the Karate Kid in it, but that would have been a better film.

For all its flaws, it does have one thing definitely working for it: it’s better than Karate Kid III.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

The Karate Kid Part II appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not a bad transfer, the image seemed far from great.

Most of the problems connected to sharpness. While the majority of the movie displayed pretty good clarity and accuracy, more than a few exceptions occurred, as parts of the flick appeared moderately soft and fuzzy. These weren’t frequent concerns, but they created some distractions. At least I noticed no issues with jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes were absent.

Source flaws stayed minor. I noticed a couple of small specks but nothing more, as the majority of the flick looked clean. Grain was also within normal limits.

Colors were good but unexceptional. While I was happy the tones lacked the muddiness often found in mid-80s movies, I thought they lacked much vivacity. Still, they were perfectly acceptable and occasionally pretty good. Blacks appeared dark and deep, while shadows were decent. A few low-light shots looked a bit murky – like those on the plane – but the majority of these were clear. I thought the movie looked good enough for a “B-“, though it was a narrow step above a “C+”; the softness nearly prompted me to drop my grade.

At least the movie sounded pretty good. The film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio offered surprisingly positive fidelity, especially in terms of music. Both the score and songs boasted nice range and dimensionality. Effects were fine; the movie didn’t give them much to do, but they were reasonably accurate. Speech was usually positive as well. Some lines seemed a bit reedy and stiff, but most of the dialogue seemed natural.

As for the soundfield, it didn’t have much to do. Music featured nice stereo spread, and we got some decent environmental material, but that was about it. Surround usage seemed minimal, as the vast majority of the information emanated from the front speakers. Those showed acceptable movement and involvement but nothing memorable. A few storms gave the surrounds something to do, but these were too infrequent to make much of an impact. The quality of the mix made this a “B” track based on age.

Continuing a new feature found on the Blu-ray for the first film, Kid II includes a component called Blu-Pop. However, the scope of the sequel’s Blu-Pop didn’t extend as far. The prior flick’s Blu-Pop mixed text commentary with picture-in-picture comments from actors, but this one just provides the pop-up factoids. These give us notes about cast and crew as well as factual connections to the movie’s story and setting.

We learn some minor tidbits here, but don’t expect a wealth of information, and I’m not wild about the interface. The factoids don’t interfere with a screening of the movie, but in an odd glitch, Blu-Pop automatically turns on English subtitles. These create a distraction, as they’re always there. They make a minor supplement less satisfying.

Also found on the DVD from 2005, a vintage featurette called The Sequel runs six minutes, 18 seconds. Created to promote the film in 1986, the show includes comments from producer Jerry Weintraub, director John Avildsen, and actors Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio. They tell us a little about the story and that’s about it. The piece features lots of film snippets and no real information, as it exists to promote the film. Skip this waste of time.

The set ends with some Previews. This area includes ads for Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, Extraordinary Measures, Facing the Giants, and The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep. No trailer for Kid II appears here.

While the first movie provided a pretty enjoyable underdog story, The Karate Kid Part II is a drag. Parts of it just rehash elements of its predecessor, and the plot tends to be so stale and hackneyed that it plods along toward its inevitable – and unsatisfying – conclusion. The Blu-ray gives us erratic but generally positive picture along with pretty good audio and minor supplements. This isn’t a special Blu-ray, and the film itself is a dud.

Note that you can buy The Karate Kid Part II individually or as part of a two-disc boxed set. That package combines Part II with the original Karate Kid. If you want to own both, it’s a good deal. Individually, the Blu-rays list for $24.95, but the boxed set runs $39.95, so you benefit from a $10 savings.

To rate this film, visit the Karate Kid Collection review of THE KARATE KID II

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