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While THE KARATE KID, PART II ($25) is a serviceable and entertaining sequel, it fails to capture the magic of its predecessor. Still, I really like THE KARATE KID, PART II, which I feel does greatly benefit from a change of scenery. After a post tournament sequence that takes place moments after the first film ended, THE KARATE KID, PART II flashes forward six months to find the teenaged life of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) in shambles. It seems that heart of the girl he won in the first film, has now been won by a college football player, leaving Daniel to get dumped at the prom. Making matters worse, his car gets smashed up and Daniel mother announces that she is being transferred to Fresno. To take his mind off his troubles Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) has him begin work on a new addition for his home, in which Daniel will live.

About the same time, Miyagi gets news from Okinawa that his father is dying. Although Miyagi intends to return to Japan alone, Daniel accompanies his mentor back home. Upon his return to Okinawa, Miyagi finds himself facing Sato (Danny Kamekona)- his former best friend and the man who had challenged Miyagi to a fight to the death, after learning they both loved the same woman. Time has not healed the old wounds, with Sato wanting to finish the fight that Miyagi fled Okinawa to avoid. Of course, Daniel finds his own share of complications in Okinawa, including Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita) the pretty nice of the woman that both Miyagi and Sato loved, as well as Satoís antagonistic nephew Chozen (Yuji Okumoto), who hates Daniel on general principal. While THE KARATE KID, PART II has both Daniel and Miyagi facing adversaries, this sequel fails to make the same emotional connection with the audience, as did its predecessor.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made THE KARATE KID, PART II available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. THE KARATE KID, PART II comes with a good 1080p presentation, which is fairly similar in quality to that of the first film. Any visual weaknesses in this presentation are the result of the 1980ís film stocks that were utilized during the production, as well as lenses and optical postproduction work, and not a flaw in the transfer. For the most part, THE KARATE KID, PART II appears as sharp and well defined as a modestly budgeted 1980s film should. However, the sequel has a slightly more inconsistent image with a bit more softness than its forerunner. As with the earlier film, close-ups appear stronger, better defined and more textured than medium and long shots. Colors appear warm and are rendered at a good level of saturation. For the most part, blacks look fine, while the whites are stable. Contrast is generally smooth, while shadow detail is sometimes a bit limited, but hold up reasonably well. The elements from which THE KARATE KID, PART II has been transferred display modest blemishes. Grain is ever-present, and helps maintain a film-like quality.

THE KARATE KID, PART II is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Like its predecessor, the soundtrack for THE KARATE KID, PART II originated in the matrixed Dolby Surround era. Therefore, this track isnít as aggressively mixed as newer films. Like other soundtracks mixed in the pre-discrete era, the sound design is front heavy, with some nice separations localized to that hemisphere. Occasional active effects fall to the rear channels, along with the expected complement of ambience and fill. Of course, the lossless encode makes the most of the existing stems, offering a boost in fidelity and clarity over what has been heard previously on this title. Dialogue is cleanly rendered and always easy to understand. French and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks are also encoded onto the disc, as is a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extra. A text based Blu-Pop track is the primary supplement, and offers a picture-in-picture pop-up trivia (requires a Profile 1.1 player). The sole Featurette is a six-minute program entitled The Sequel. Bonus Trailers close out the standard supplements. THE KARATE KID, PART II is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

THE KARATE KID, PART II is an entertaining sequel that makes a solid appearance on Blu-ray. If you are a fan, youíll find this release a worthwhile upgrade.



The Karate Kid, Part II [Blu-ray] (1986)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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