The Karate Kid II

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

After the karate tournament, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) and Daniel (Ralph Macchio) once again have a lot of time together, since Daniel is staying with his teacher over the summer, instead of going to Fresno with his mother. But when Miyagi gets word from home that his father is very ill, he and Daniel make the trek to Okinawa, the place Miyagi left so many years ago. It seems he left because he fell in love with a woman, but she was promised to his own best friend Sato (Daniel Kamekona), through an arranged marriage. Miyagi explained to his whole village about the situation, but Sato became enraged and wanted to fight Miyagi, perhaps even to the death. So Miyagi left instead and came to the United States, but he has always wondered if his love would have worked, had he chosen to remain in Okinawa. When the two arrive, Miyagi discovers that Sato has become a tyrant of sorts, owning all of the land and having no regard for the people, but Miyagi wants to tend to his ailing father first and foremost. But when Sato and his student Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) begin to harass Miyagi and Daniel, Miyagi knows something must be done, but only the right action at the correct time can solve this kind of long-standing grudge.

Daniel-San is back and if you ask me, this movie is great fun, although it doesn’t measure up to the original. But if you enjoyed the first one, then you should like this sequel, as it offers more of the same, with some new twists thrown in. I think the relationship between Daniel and Miyagi is deepened here and since it is the centerpiece of the series, that’s good news indeed. We saw them become close in the first film, but here we see them really put themselves on the line for each other, even outside the martial arts realm. As expected, Ralph Macchio is hammy as usual, but Pat Morita is steady and a terrific supporting cast backs up our leads. I especially liked the performances of Danny Kamekona and Yuji Okumoto, but most of the supporting cast is very good, which adds much depth to the picture. This is by no means a great movie nor very original, but I love a good underdog story and I love The Karate Kid, so this one never fails to entertain me. This disc offers good audio & video, but minimal supplements, though the film itself is reason enough to check this disc out, even with some issues to contend with.

John G. Avildsen returns to direct this sequel and while his direction is stable at best, he more than delivers the goods, which is what counts. I’ve always liked Avildsen’s choices in terms of projects and while this sequel isn’t as good as the first flick, Avildsen ensures it offers plenty of entertainment and that’s always welcome. He blends the same traits that made the original a success with some new elements, which forms a fresh film, although if you’ve seen these kind of movies before, you know they’re pretty predictable. Even so, Avildsen supplies some nice visuals and keeps it all in entertaining fashion, so it turns out quite well indeed. Other films directed by Avildsen include Lean on Me, The Karate Kid, The Power of One, The Karate Kid Part III, Rocky, Cry Uncle!, and Rocky V. The cast here includes Pat Morita (Honeymoon in Vegas, The Shakiest Gun in the West), Ralph Macchio (My Cousin Vinny, Crossroads), Danny Kamekona (Problem Child, Aloha Summer), Yuji Okumoto (Brainsmasher: A Love Story, The Game), and Tamlyn Tomita (Four Rooms, The Joy Luck Club).

Video: How does it look?

The Karate Kid Part II is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition includes on the disc’s flip side. The image offers a massive improvement over prior releases, but shows some signs of wear, to be sure. I saw some grain in some scenes and sometimes it was pretty heavy, though not enough to ruin the impact, by any means. Some scenes look excellent and show no problems, while others have grain and even some print nicks & such, but on the whole, this is a more than sufficient presentation. The colors, contrast, and flesh tones are all well presented and while this isn’t as pristine as I would have liked, it is enough of an improvement over previous editions to be pleased.

Audio: How does it sound?

I wasn’t too impressed by the included 2.0 surround option, but it offers a solid experience, which is about all you can ask for here. The surrounds do see some playing time and while they won’t shake off the walls, I was pleased with the level of activity. Bill Conti’s score sounds great in this mix, very rich & full, while the various sound effects are well placed and that ensures they sound as good as possible also. I had no trouble with the dialogue at any point either, vocals were sharp, clean, and easy to understand throughout. This disc also includes audio options in Spanish, French, and Portuguese, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese, Korean, and of course, Thai.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes a six minute behind the scenes featurette, some talent files, and the film’s theatrical trailer. The case and menu lists only “bonus” trailers, so I was pleased to find this movie’s trailer had been included after all.

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