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The Karate Kid [Blu-ray]
(John G. Avildsen, 1984)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Region: A (B + C untested)
Disc Size: 46,605,457,915 bytes
Feature Size: 39,689,121,792 bytes
Video Bitrate: 26.94 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: May 11th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3795 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3795 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 2176 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2176 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Portuguese 2785 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2785 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
* DTS Express English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / 24-bit
English (SDH), English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, none
• Commentary with director John Avildsen, writer Robert Mark
Kamen and actors Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita
Description: A fatherless teenager faces his moment of truth in The Karate Kid. Daniel (Ralph Macchio) arrives in Los Angeles from the east coast and faces the difficult task of making new friends. However, he becomes the object of bullying by the Cobras, a menacing gang of karate students, when he strikes up a relationship with Ali (Elisabeth Shue), the Cobra leader's ex-girlfriend. Eager to fight back and impress his new girlfriend but afraid to confront the dangerous gang, Daniel asks his handyman Miyagi (Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita), whom he learns is a master of the martial arts, to teach him karate. Miyagi teaches Daniel that karate is a mastery over the self, mind, and body and that fighting is always the last answer to a problem. Under Miyagi's guidance, Daniel develops not only physical skills but also the faith and self-confidence to compete despite tremendous odds as he encounters the fight of his life in the exciting finale to this entertaining film.
"The Karate Kid" was one of the nice surprises of 1984 -- an exciting,
sweet-tempered, heart-warming story with one of the most interesting
friendships in a long time. The friends come from different worlds. A
kid named Daniel (Ralph Macchio) is a New Jersey teenager who moves with
his mother to Los Angeles. An old guy named Miyagi (Pat Morita) is the
Japanese janitor in their apartment building. When Daniel starts to date
the former girlfriend of the toughest kid in the senior class, the kid
starts pounding on Daniel's head on a regular basis. Daniel tries to
fight back, but this is a Southern California kid, and so of course he
has a black belt in karate. Enter Mr. Miyagi, who seems to be a harmless
old eccentric with a curious hobby: He tries to catch flies with
chopsticks. It turns out that Miyagi is a karate master, a student not
only of karate fighting but of the total philosophy of the martial arts.
He agrees to take Daniel as his student.
The Karate Kid doesn't excel dramatically in terms of detail on the new Blu-ray. I recall discussing how there were some frequently weak film stocks utilized in the mid-80's and this would be a reasonable conclusion in assessing the image quality. It looks fairly good but never stellar. The transfer itself can't be blamed as it's dual-layered with the feature taking up almost 40 Gig of disc space. I don't see the waxiness of DNR - things just look very flat. Colors seem brighter and truer than the previously released SD could relate although it can tend to look blocky at times. In general, Blu-ray expectations-wise this would be considered fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt much more could be done. This Blu-ray gave me a decent presentation but purchasers should adjust their image expectations towards the more modest end of the spectrum.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio seems solid with a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a healthy 3795 kbps. As with Avildsen's Rocky, Bill Conti provides a great, memorable score that sounds crisp and uplifting. Effect noises and separations are at quite a minimum but crowd sounds at the final do extend to the rear speakers. Aurally the film is fairly basic but the track supports it well.There are optional subtitles available.
The supplements appear to duplicate the SE DVD with the frequent 'interruption' chatter of the commentary with John Avildsen, writer Robert Mark Kamen and actors Macchio and Morita. It's nice to hear the enthusiasm but it's a little disorganized and should have had a helmsman asking questions of the rest as things do tend to get crowded sometimes making it hard to tell who is talking. Other than that it's some short featurette on production, the music, Bonsai trees and Karate. Exclusive to the Blu-ray is the newly named 'Blu-Pop' feature to reveal pop up trivia, interviews and more secrets from the film.
April 30th, 2010
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze