When Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) and his mother moved from Detroit to China, Dre found himself lost in a world that was completely different from what he is used to. Dre quickly finds himself in trouble when the local bullies begin to beat him up and Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), Dre’s apartment maintenance man, comes to the rescue. Mr. Han takes pity of the young Dre’s situation and decides to teach him Kung fu so he can defend himself and participate in the upcoming fighting tournament. Mr. Han’s personal loss and Dre’s search to find his place in his new home will help them form a close friendship.
The Karate Kid was perhaps one of my favorite movies growing up, the characters, the story, feel of the movie, etc. were the reason it became a title that wouldn’t be easily forgotten. Obviously, the talk of remake has always brought arguments whether the film needs it or not, personally The Karate Kid didn’t need it, but the overall result was good. I was very surprised by the result to be honest. The film tries to be as faithful as can possibly be, which in reality is the best thing we can all ask for. The movie retained much of the original plot lines with a few changes here and there to appeal to today’s audience. However, this time around the director opted to reveal a more impacting reality for the boy that will inevitably lets the viewers know there are deeper reasons for Dre’s attitude.
With the initial revelation of Dre father’s passing, the movie evolves around the feeling of loneliness that he must overcome, but not before he meets an equally scarred person in Mr. Han. You can’t help but to feel some deeper sympathy and some connection to these characters whose troubles in their personal lives helps them create a tight relationship and bond between teacher and student that slowly helps them heal their wounds. While there were some interesting changes and the jacket on and jacket off is a different take on the training aspect the unforgettable wax on and wax off cannot be replaced just like the climatic ending while it’s new and fresh the Daniel Larusso ending cannot be replaced.
The film was taken to mainland China so the production team managed to shoot some of the landmarks and some of the beauty within the country capturing some of the mystical feel that only places like those shown on screen can give the movie. The change in setting couldn’t have impacted the way we look at the story any better and the change delivered excellent results. As far as the acting is concerned, Jaden and Jackie Chan deliver some outstanding performances, touching at times, but both were incredibly good. Considering the 1984 version had a high bar to top, in it’s own genre of course, with Pat Morita delivering a great performance, Jackie Chan and Jaden managed to make the film stand on its own and deliver quality entertainment.
The Karate Kid arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 2.40:1. This is why I love watching movies in this format because time and time again we get treated with some gorgeous transfers that and this time The Karate Kid looks fantastic! From the moment the film begins, viewers will get sucked into the picture with the marvelous color reproduction. The film’s vibrant and lively colors are outstanding throughout. Black levels are deep and inky and never take away anything from the film during the darker scenes. Skin tones are natural and lifelike. The picture is clean and very pristine. Detailing is also amazing capturing all the nuances in the actors skin textures, but what’s even more impressing is the ability to capture some of the beauty found within the China’s landmarks and other locations where the shooting of the film took place. The film also sports a thin layer of grain to give it that film like look. The Karate Kid looks fantastic on Blu-ray. Kudos Sony!
The Karate Kid arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless audio track. The video was perfect beyond belief, but the audio just couldn’t possibly stay behind. Yes, the track is equally good. The dialogue is centered and well prioritized throughout the film and I am happy to say that it is never overwhelmed by the action within certain scenes. Atmospherics are handled excellently by the track, providing an extra level and believable surroundings. The bass is active all throughout, especially during each fighting scene accompanying each punch and kick. Finally, the music and score flows through the speakers with great precision and smoothness. The Karate Kid simply sounds excellent, it may not have the rip roaring action sequences that some titles have, but for what it is it sounds fantastic.
On Location: The Karate Kid Interactive Map of China – This pieces gives viewers an overview of the locales and also allows the filmmakers to explain how they brought the picture to China. The entire piece is narrated by Director Howard Zwart.
Production Diaries – This featurette is comprised of 9 pieces. Training Jaden; Jaden Smith, A Day in the Life; The Forbidden City; The Great Wall; Director Profile: From Jackie Chan with Love; Olympic Village; Wudang Mountains; and Taraji P. Henson Goes to China.
Just For Kicks: The Making of The Karate Kid – This is the best pieces of them all, the featurette includes an overview of the entire production. It’s a behind the scenes of the movie and gives viewers a glimpse at some of the key elements of the filming.
Chinese Lessons – This piece is a interactive feature included to teach the viewers some of the basic Chinese words.
Music Video – Justin Bierber featuring Jaden Smith “Never Say Never”
Previews – Movie trailers for Grown Ups, Stomp the Yard: Homecoming, Open Season 3, Hancock, and The Karate Kid (1964).
I want to say that this film can be easily accepted by the majority of people, however, I can completely understand if some decide to look the other way simply because of the remake aspect. I know, I get it, but The Karate Kid proved to be better than expected. Retaining many of the elements that made the 1984 version so popular. Jackie Chane and Jaden Smith share good chemistry that it is more evident as the film evolves sucking us into its engrossing story. Take it for what it is, the film is very true to its origins and while there are some minor changes it does justice to the title. The Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic, time and time again Sony continues to take the lead in the quality department. Can’t really complain about anything this title has to offer, so it comes highly recommended.