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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
The Karate Kid (1984)

The Karate Kid (1984)

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Released 2-Jul-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The Karate Kid Part II
Trailer-Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles-The Pluto Campaign
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
DVD-ROM Extras
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 121:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:39) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John G. Avildsen

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Ralph Macchio
Pat Morita
Elisabeth Shue
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI Box Music Bill Conti

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Well folks, watching The Karate Kid again certainly was a trip down memory lane for me. The year was 1985 and my mother just got back for an overseas holiday. She brought a present home for me - my first VCR. I remember at the time thinking that it does not get much better than this for a ten year old kid. I finally had a colour television and a VCR of my very own in my bedroom. The first video tape I rented for my brand new video just happened to be The Karate Kid, and boy did I love that movie seventeen years ago when I first watched it. Watching this movie again on DVD today just made me realize that this was a good movie for its time, but time has passed this once all-time favourite and not only does the fashion look severely out of date but some of the corny lines would be laughed at today by our younger generation.

    By now most of us have probably watched The Karate Kid at least once but I will give a brief summary of the plot. The story revolves around Daniel Laruso (Ralph Macchio). Daniel and his mother have just left Newark, New Jersey to move to California in search of a better life. Daniel goes to a beach party with a couple of new friends and it is here where he meets Ali (Elisabeth Shue) whom he is instantly attracted to. Daniel and Ali strike up a friendship but what Daniel does not know is that Ali's ex-boyfriend is still hung up on her and also happens to be the local under 18 karate champion. A fight breaks out between the two boys and Daniel ends up with a black eye. Daniel is also not very popular at his new school because the boy he had a fight with on the beach just happens to be one of the most popular kids in school. Daniel has a few more run-ins with the local boys and it is then that he asks for help from Mr. Miyagi (the old maintenance man who works in the building where he lives) in learning karate. Mr Miyagi (Noriyuki "Pat" Morita) agrees to help Daniel on the condition that he uses his new skills wisely and also earns him some respect in the upcoming all-valley karate championships which Daniel is entered into.

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Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is quite good, although the first ten minutes of the transfer looks mediocre. Thankfully, things start to improve after an initial poor start. The quality of the transfer is diminished slightly due to obvious grain throughout the movie. The picture is also a little on the soft side but considering the age of the movie, it holds up better than expected.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is also 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness of the transfer, as stated above, is a little on the soft side. Shadow detail was also not great with quite a few of the night-time scenes looking grey instead of black and grain also comes through, even in the darker scenes. Low level noise was also noticed in a few scenes but overall it was not too bad at all.

    The colours looked washed-out throughout the movie. Reds had no snap to them at all and throughout most of the movie I felt like turning the colour up to compensate for the washed-out appearance of the movie.

    There were no MPEG artefacts noticed. Aliasing was noticed on a few occasions but was not bothersome enough to distract from the movie. Film artefacts were noticed throughout the movie appearing as black and white marks but luckily they were not constant and therefore did not take much away from the viewing experience.

    This disc is an RSDL disc - the back cover incorrectly states that this disc is single layered. The layer change occurs at 65.39 and is well placed and not disruptive to the flow of the movie.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    This is not a great sounding movie, sounding dated by today's standard.

    There are five audio tracks on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 2.0, French Dolby Digital 2.0, German Dolby Digital 2.0, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 and lastly Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0.

    The dialogue quality was not great. The dialogue was fairly bright and harsh and did not make this movie a great listening experience. Audio sync was not a problem with this DVD.

    The musical score mainly consisted of eighties pop songs. It was fun listening to some of these songs that I had not heard for a long time.

    The surround channels were used very little throughout this movie. The majority of the sound came from the screen channels. On the odd occasion, there was a little rear channel usage but certainly nothing much at all.

    The subwoofer was, like the surround channels, also used very little. In fact, I remember seeing my subwoofer auto sensing light kick in just once throughout the whole movie.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



        This trailer for The Karate Kid is of fairly poor quality. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and carries a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

        This trailer for The Karate Kid Part II is a little better in quality than the first trailer. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and also carries a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

        This trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and carries a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.


    Standard cast and crew filmographies.

DVD-ROM Features

    The disc Includes a couple of games you can play on your computer including trying to catch a fly with chopsticks. One must wonder why they include stuff like this.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on;

    Clearly the version of choice here is the Region 4 disc.


    I enjoyed watching The Karate Kid again. I have not seen this film in over ten years, but the movie still has a good story to tell. I would have liked a few more extras, maybe a behind-the-scenes featurette or even an updated interview with the actors but I am glad we can now enjoy it again as it was supposed to be seen in glorious widescreen...unlike our Region 1 friends. Recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Stephen Wilson (read my bio)
Wednesday, July 31, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplayBarco 708mm CRT front projector (line doubled) onto a 2.5m wide 16x9 aspect screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderMeridian 568.
AmplificationAdcom 555 mk2 x3
Speakers3 Klipsch La-Scala speakers (left, centre and right); 2 Infinity sm122 speakers (rear); 2 Mirage bps 400 subwoofers with 400w built in amps

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