Following up directly from where The Karate Kid left off, Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) are still celebrating the victory in the All-Valley Karate Torunament, when they must deal one last time with Cobra Kai’s sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove). A six month flashback takes us to the current situation of Daniel and Mr. Miyagi. Daniel’s life is chaotic, his relationship with Ali falling apart and his mom is looking to moving to Fresno, things aren’t looking too bright for him. Meanwhile, Mr. Miyagi has received a letter from his father that is on his dying bed in Okinawa. The two make their way to Okinawa, where Mr. Miyagi must face an old acquaintance and restore his honor. But things aren’t so easy to forget for some and now Mr. Miyagi and Daniel must overcome their new obstacles.
The Karate Kid, Part II is a direct sequel to the widely popular The Karate Kid and believe me it’s incredibly tough to avoid all types of comparisons. Now keep in mind what the first film brought to the table and I suspect by know you already have a set quality bar that you feel it needs to be reached. I know it’s not fair, but it is a normal thing to do. To be fair the sequel didn’t exactly capture the same essence the first had. The passion, the drama, or even the spirit of it seemed to be missing. You never quite get sucked into the film as much, but that isn’t to say the film was bad by any means. The film offered a rehashed story from the first film and told from the Mr. Miyagi point of view. What does that mean? The sequel tries to tell the story of Mr. Miyagi and offers the underdog story and now he is the center of attention.
While I found intriguing that the filmmakers decided to tell and show the viewers the part of Mr. Miyagi that we never knew from The Karate Kid, nothing ever feels fresh. It’s the same situation under a different atmosphere, different setting, and different people. Nothing new seemed to be injected into the plot to keep the story flowing to separate itself from the first film. Part II features more Pat Morita and his incredible acting talents. He reprises his role as Mr. Miyagi and does it with good grace, always calm, and peaceful. I have to say that Morita was possibly the only reason why this sequel moved on well and didn’t become just another sequel made to take advantage of popularity of the first. Overall the story doesn’t quite live up to the first film, but does a good job with the story. Most viewers will probably agree that something was missing from this sequel, but nevertheless it remains entertaining.
The Karate Kid, Part II arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG 4-AVC encode framed at 1.85:1. Colors are more natural and well reproduced throughout the film. Again, the reds appear a tad bit overdone. Black levels are well reproduced mostly throughout the film. Skin tones are very natural and lifelike. This film also features a heavy grain layer just like the first film. Overall The Karate Kid, Part II is a mere image of its predecessor and it looks excellent on Blu-ray. Sure, it doesn’t look as clean as most of today’s films do, but it delivers a satisfying quality.
The Karate Kid, Part II arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. The audio track featured in the sequel appears to be tad bit above the first film. The dialogue is clean and clear and rarely overpowered by the surrounding atmosphere. The fronts feature some nice directionality and the rears are used more often for ambient effects. The track isn’t as immersive as I had hoped for, but does a great job considering the original material. The Karate Kid, Part II sounds great on Blu-ray and this track does justice to the film.
Unlike the The Karate Kid, the sequel doesn’t come packed with many supplements or even an audio commentary to over the key points of the film. Check below for a breakdown of the supplements.
The Sequel – features a brief behind the scene look at the cast and crew, the story, and much more.
Blu-Pop – This is lackluster considering the first film had cast commentaries while on this release it only includes text based trivia.
Previews – features movie trailers for Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, Extraordinary Measures, Facing the Giants, and The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep.
The Karate Kid, Part II doesn’t quite live up to the first entry of the series. While the main actors of the film were retained much of what made Part I good were unfortunately lost. The same passion and feeling from the first is nowhere to be found and while I appreciate the attempt by the filmmakers to show us the other side of Mr. Miyagi, I can’t quite say it was the same. The Blu-ray release feels lackluster; it features a good video and audio transfer, but is very lackluster supplement wise. I would recommend this only if you purchase the two-pack collection otherwise I would tell you to rent it before thinking of making a purchase.
The screen captures are only a small representation of what the Blu-ray looks like and are not representative of Blu-ray’s true quality.