The Karate Kid (1984) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama
Sony || PG - 127 minutes - $24.95 || May 11, 2010
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2010-06-14

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

B L U - R A Y

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: John G. Avildsen
Writer(s): Robert Mark Kamen (written by)
Cast: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue

Theatrical Release Date: June 22, 1984

Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Picture-in-Picture Track
  • 4 Featurettes
  • BD-Live

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • 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, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

"You're gonna let me drive"
"Hey, it's the 80's!"

Oh, it sure is, Daniel-san. It sure is.

The Karate Kid is one of those films that if you grew up in the 80's, you have likely seen it numerous times on cable, VHS, or even DVD. But now that you're older, probably a bit smarter', you start to spot all the little flaws the film had. Overacting? Check! Stereotypes? Check! Boy who is in no way attractive somehow hooking up with the hottest and most popular girl in school? Check! All of the 'bad boys' look and act the same? Check! Watching this film again after last seeing it in my young teens really opens my eyes up onto how bad this film really is.

Let's go with the plot first, since it's so original. Daniel (Macchio) and his Mother move from their home in New Jersey (which is apparently the best place on Earth according to Daniel and Kevin Smith), to the San Fernando Valley Reseda to be exact (back before it turned into the crap-hole it currently is). Daniel quickly (in the most awkward way) makes friends with a kid who lives in his Apartment complex and gets invited to an awesome beach party - filled with great tunes and horrific Michael Jackson "Thriller" jackets. Thinking that he is a tough wise-guy, he does his best to stop the school bully from breaking poor Ali's (Shue) really rockin' radio. Well, it backfires and Daniel gets his ass handed to him.

But as luck might have it, this heroic act really puts him on some pedestal where Ali falls head over heels in love with the dork and they soon form a relationship. But, as one might expect, Daniel continues to get his ass kicked by the school bullies and after throwing a temper tantrum, the wise, Asian repair man Mr Miyagi (Morita) takes him under his wing and schools him in the art of Karate (or washing his cars, painting his fence, and just about every other abuse you could do to a child that would illegal in today's day and age). Daniel-san soon learns how to be a Karate master and faces all these bullies in a local Karate match.

So on paper (and being a lot younger and dumber), this film really hit all cylinders. Not only was I and many other kids little runts, but we were often picked on and made to feel like we were crap. Here is a film that shows everyone that the little guy could defeat the bigger guy, and instill some sort of power in us. Or not.

One of the things I look back at and laugh is Macchio's performance. Sure, he only really had some episodes of "Eight is Enough" under his belt and some TV Commercials, but gees, what's with the horrific over acting? The scene where he gets mad at his "stupid bike" and throws it in the dumpster caused me to feel embarrassment for my Blu-ray player for actually having to spit this scene out. And the I know montages were really popular in the 80's, but do we have to have the horrific tunes blasting (audio jumped up so damn loud it scared my cats) in the background?


All Special Features Presented in SD.

Commentary with Director John Avildsen, Writer Robert Kamen, and Actors Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita

Blu-Pop (Picture-in-Picture) - Features trivia and 'pop ups' from interviews and behind the scene clips. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

The Way of the Karate Kid (44 Minutes) - This clocks in about 15 minutes too long, but it discusses everything one might expect - scripts, shooting, behind the scenes, interviews etc. It's rather dated likely from the original DVD release almost a decade ago.

Beyond the Form (13 Minutes) - Want to learn about Karate? Well here's your chance!

Life of a Bonsai (10 Minutes) - And the odd duck goes to... this featurette! I love Bonsai trees, and this takes you through how they are 'made' and various techniques to grow them.

East Meets West (8 Minutes) - Finally, the horrific soundtrack is explained. "You're the Best, the Beeeeest!"

The disc also includes a BD-Live Portal.


The Karate Kid is presented in 1.85:1 (MPEG4) on a 50GB Disc. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see how well this disc turned out. The picture is very vibrant and the image is crisp. There were some occasions of soft scenes (anything at night - like when Daniel-san is running away in his shower outfit - ugh, you really thought that was being cute?) and excessive grain, but overall this is one of the nicest films from the 80's I've seen in the past few months.

Sony has included an English 5.1 DTS-HD MA Track for this release. 80's and montages are like peanut butter and jelly, and the lossless track gets very, very loud any time one of these hot tunes starts in the film, so be advised. Dialog is kept rather clear, and overall I felt it was another nice job from Sony. Good for being consistent - unlike other studios.


Oh yeah, "Wax on, Wax off". Gotta say that like every other reviewer otherwise they'll take away my membership card.