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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
The Karate Kid Part II (1986)

"Daniel-san, this is no tournament. This is for real."
- Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: July 10, 2001

Stars: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita
Other Stars: Daniel Kamekona, Tamilyn Tomita, Joey Miyashima, Nobu McCarthy
Director: John Avildsen

Manufacturer: DVDS
MPAA Rating: PG for (contains mild violence that is suitable for all audiences)
Run Time: 01h:53m:07s
Release Date: July 10, 2001
UPC: 043396059917
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BBB+ C-

DVD Review

Following the remarkable breakthrough success of The Karate Kid, a sequel was virtually inevitable. Audiences had warmed to the unlikely friendship between young, energetic Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) and wise karate expert Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). The story of unlikely heroes overcoming tremendous odds has worked numerous times before in such crowd-pleasing movies as Rocky and The Mighty Ducks. However, this format only succeeds if the characters are likeable and interesting. No matter how large the obstacles, a film of this nature will fail without compelling people. Daniel's gee-whiz teenage enthusiasm and Mr. Miyagi's unique and caring personality engaged viewers and made the original one of the surprise hits of 1984. Could a sequel duplicate this success?

The Karate Kid Part II picks up immediately following the karate tournament at the conclusion of the first film. After tying up a few loose ends, Daniel and his mentor are off to Okinawa for a new adventure in Miyagi's home village. His father is dying, and Miyagi must return to spend his last days with him. However, a bitter rivalry from his youth threatens to ruin his time at the quaint village. Sato (Danny Kamekona) still retains his hatred for Miyagi—his best friend as a child—over an incident that impugned his honor forever. Their conflict revolved around Yukie (Nobu McCarthy), a lovely woman who fell in love with Miyagi. Upon his return, they begin to rediscover their compassion, but Sato's threats may destroy the couple's happiness. Meanwhile, Daniel finds himself battling Toshio (Joey Miyashima)—a strong, callous young man who makes the high school bullies look weak by comparison. The overall result is an intriguing, but uneven story that takes few chances but provides an entertaining experience.

Much of the enjoyment here comes from our knowledge of the conventions established by the first entry. When Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel a new technique using levers and a flying hook, it's obvious that this move will play an important role in the final battle. While Daniel takes his beatings from Toshio, we accept them with the knowledge that he'll redeem himself in a climactic encounter. Also, both characters are able to reveal more about their backgrounds, because a detailed introduction is unnecessary. This is especially true for Miyagi, who takes the center stage here and must make difficult choices about the village and his own future. Although Macchio receives the most screen time, Morita's emotional conflicts carry this story. Mr. Miyagi has never advocated the use of violence, but he may have to fight Sato to save the people he loves. It's an engaging conflict that helps this film avoid simply copying its predecessor in a new setting. Another required element is a love interest for Daniel, and the charming Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita) develops a nice chemistry with Macchio. She retains the original Japanese customs, but also sports a modern independence that makes her a worthy match for Daniel. Their bond is much stronger than his high-school relationship (Elizabeth Shue), and this adds emotional relevance to the final conflict.

Although the familiarity with Daniel and Mr. Miyagi leads to some absorbing moments, it also hinders their progress and leads to tedious stretches. Similar to the problems that occur in the later Rocky films, this sequel must follow the pattern set by the original. Its formula achieved amazing popularity, so only limited changes could be made here. Daniel still must face young bullies who don't understand the true nature of karate; Mr. Miyagi must once again save him for serious harm from a group of young thugs. Even Daniel and Kumiko's night on the town has rings of a similar scene in the first entry. While this problem fails to decimate the film, it does lessen its interest in terms of original cinema.

Luckily, the natural charms of Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita save the day and keep The Karate Kid Part II enjoyable. This story is especially effective for younger audiences with its uplifting story concerning overcoming odds and staying true to yourself. Bill Conti's melodic score keeps the events moving, and the foreign setting does help to create some nice character development. Plus, both Daniel and Mr. Miyagi remain extremely likable and avoid becoming dull caricatures. They would not be as lucky in the third entry.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer features impressive moments of shining colors and excellent clarity. The breathtaking colors of the Okinawa landscape jump off the screen and create an enjoyable viewing experience. Much of this transfer works nicely, but there are some moments where the contrast suffers and the picture becomes dark and grainy. This could stem from the age of the print, but it's still disappointing in the overall sense. Even given its uneven nature, this transfer still does a decent job in presenting the story. This disc also contains a 1.33:1 full-screen transfer for people more accustomed to television viewing.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoSpanish, French, Portugueseyes
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Bill Conti's rousing score and Peter Cetera's cheesy title track both spring nicely from the speakers on this well-done audio transfer. Although it is only a 2.0-channel Dolby Surround track, the force of the sounds renders the limitations less important than usual. The dialogue is clear and understandable throughout the running time, and the sounds have a full texture with plenty of depth. Although the lack of a Dolby Digital transfer lessens the scope of the sounds, the overall result remains impressive.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Karate Kid, Godzilla 2000, and Roughnecks: Startship Trooper Chroniclesóthe Pluto Campaign
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The Karate Kid Part II lacks any exciting bonus features, but it does offer a few supplements. A six-minute featurette contains basic information about the film from interviews with director John Avildsen, producer Jerry Weintraub, and Pat Morita. Created at the time of its original release, this feature comes in a full-frame format with a poor transfer similar to VHS pictures at that time. The last few minutes act similar to a music video with the theme song by Peter Cetera playing over scenes from the movie. This featurette offers very little in terms of compelling information.

The other major section is a series of trailers for this film and a few other Columbia Tristar releases. The previews for The Karate Kid and The Karate Kid Part II come in poor, full-frame transfers with very limited sound. The silly Godzilla 2000 trailer appears in an impressive widescreen format with a 5.1-channel Dolby Digital soundtrack. There's also a commercial for Roughnecks: Starship Trooper Chroniclesóthe Pluto Campaign, a three-dimensional video game.

This disc also contains selected filmographies for Ralph Macchio, Morita, and Avildsen. One noteworthy bonus is the option of seven different subtitles, including Chinese, Korean, and Thai.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

The Karate Kid II suffers from the ailments usually associated with sequels, including lack of originality and too much adherence to its original formula. However, this story works due to the excellent, heart-felt performances by Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita in the premier roles. Although the pace sometimes lags, the characters keep the events exciting with their amiable personas and keep the movie worthwhile.

 


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