Karate Kid, The (2010) (Blu-ray)

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Released 8-Dec-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-production diary
Music Video-Justin Bieber & Jaden Smith
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Interactive Map of China
Alternate Ending
Trivia
Featurette-Chinese Lessons
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 140:01 (Case: 134)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Harald Zwart
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jaden Smith
Jackie Chan
Taraji P. Henson
Wenwen Han
Rongguang Yu
Zhensu Wu
Zhiheng Wang
Zhenwei Wang
Jared Minns
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $44.95 Music James Horner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Hindi DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement Unknown
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Hindi
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Given how long the modern trend of shameless remake after shameless remake has been going on, it is a surprise it has taken this long for them to ruin 80's family favourite The Karate Kid. In all fairness, ruin is a bit too strong a criticism. Although The Fresh Prince's people have managed to oversimplify this classic story, despite making a film that runs a good 20-odd minutes longer than the original, this Jaden Smith vehicle is far from the bomb it could have been. Considered on its own, this take on The Karate Kid makes for fair viewing (provided you don't ask the tricky questions like "Why is this movie called The Karate Kid when there is no Karate in it?"), but weighed against the original it is quickly obvious how much better the film should have been.

     The story follows Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) as he moves to China with his mother (Taraji P. Henson). Although he quickly makes a friend (who completely disappears from the film without explanation after about half an hour, but not before he laboriously introduces the lay of the land) and finds a love interest (Wenwen Han), bullies soon get their hooks in and make his life hell. After one unpleasant street chase, the building maintenance man, Mr Han (Jackie Chan) steps in and saves Dre's bacon. After discovering that all the bullies train at an evil Kung Fu academy, Mr Han agrees to train Dre so that he can beat the bullies one on one in a Kung Fu tournament. And after nearly two and a half hours of screen time, that's where we end up.

     As can be gleaned from the general plot, it probably would have made a tad more sense to call this one The Kung Fu Kid, which would have carried enough name/brand recognition to imply the film is a remake to The Karate Kid and would have at least forgone the oversimplifying and dumbing-down of the story as far as the title is concerned. The biggest complaint most viewers will have, particularly the pre-teen male target demographic for the film, is undoubtedly the film's length; 2 hours and 20 minutes is simply longer than most kids can sit still and the film does not move at a particularly rapid pace. Neither the ongoing subplot with Dre's mother nor that with his love interest work particularly well and wouldn't be at all missed if they had landed on the cutting room floor (interestingly enough the Asian release of the film, which runs about 15 minutes shorter, pretty much does just that). Whenever Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan are on screen together the film is a lot of fun to watch. The two work really well together and display real chemistry. Likewise, the action scenes in the film are a lot of fun, particularly Jackie’s great 6 on 1 saving of Jaden.

     This shameless aping of 80's classic The Karate Kid is probably worth a look if the story appeals to you, but be ready with the fast forward button in places.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The film is presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio in 1080p.

     The image looks good. The picture is sharp and clear, with minimal grain visible. The colour palette is quite bright and looks appealing, though it is perhaps a little oversaturated. There is a good level of shadow detail and black depth. The transfer is free from any obvious compression related artefacts and film artefacts.

     The film features English subtitles for the hearing impaired. The subtitles are well timed, and reasonably accurate.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The film features a choice of English, French and Hindi 5.1 DTS HD-MA and English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0.

     The dialogue is clear and well placed in the mix. Aside from some obvious ADR, the audio sync is good. The film features a routine orchestral score, composed by James Horner, which is well presented in the mix. The surrounds and subwoofer each get a solid workout throughout the film, particularly during the frequent action scenes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The extras are all presented in HD.

Chinese Lessons Featurette

     A short featurette that plays on Dre's attempts to learn Chinese phrases in the film by teaching them the phrases that Dre learns in the film. Reasonably fun and educational.

Never Say Never by Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith Music Video

     Insipid.

Just For Kicks Making Of Featurette (20:09)

     A stock-standard EPK making-of featurette. Worth a look for fans.

Interactive Map of China Featurettes

     A map of China with half a dozen links off to locations where the film shot. Each location link leads to a couple of minutes of on-set footage with commentary from director Harald Zwart.

Alternate Ending (3:32)

     A slight variation on the final film's ending which manages in a simple fashion to add significant extra depth to the film and an extra, rather good, Jackie Chan fight sequence. Essentially, this sees Jackie expose the evil trainer for just what he is to his students and earn their respect in the process, rather than them simply fawning over him for having been able to train Jaden Smith. A perfect example of the dumbing down the film appears to have undergone.

Production Diaries Featurette

     Nine "production diaries" which are essentially mini, rapid pace "Making Of" featurettes. More interesting than the featurette actually titled "Making of" and well worth a look generally.

MovieIQ mode

     The film can be watched with a fairly lame trivia track that pull info from online sources.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Aside from regionalised trailers, the US Region A and Australian Region B editions are identical.

Summary

     A frustrating remake of 80's classic The Karate Kid. There's a pretty good 100 minute movie buried in the 140 minute running time.

     Video and audio are of a high standard. The extras are good in number, although quality-wise a mixed bag (although they would probably appeal more to the target demographic for the film rather than a 30-something year old bloke).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
DisplayOptoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
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