The year was 1984. Former Actor Ronald Reagan was President of the United States. One of the many movies released that year was the story of a teenage boy and his mother uprooting their lives and moving to California. Once there, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio; My Cousin Vinny), was the new kid in school, making him fresh meat for the bullies. After making an enemy of Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka; Cobra Kai), Daniel asks the maintenance guy at their apartment complex to train him in Karate.
Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita; Happy Days) agrees to teach Daniel but first Daniel must complete some "chores" at Miyagi's home. After days of waxing Miyagi's car, painting his fence, sanding his deck, etc. Daniel becomes extremely frustrated that Mr. Miyagi hasn't "trained" him. It is then, with the wisdom of his ancestors behind him, Miyagi shows Daniel that all his "chores" are actually karate moves. Suddenly, Daniel is a karate master and the world has a new phrase... "Wax on/Wax off".
The success of The Karate Kid prompted Columbia Pictures to make two sequels with the original cast, a fourth film released ten years after the original and a remake in 2010. While The Karate Kid II was a box office hit, as well, the third and fourth movies didn't do so well at the box office. The remake brought in quite a bit of money, but Generation X fans (who remember the original) didn't like the updated version. Lucky for us the first three films are now part of a 4K Blu-ray box set.
The first movie introduced us to the main characters - Daniel (Macchio), Mr. Miyagi (Morita), Ali (Elisabeth Shue; The Boys), and Johnny (Zabka) - and gave us a satisfying but predictable ending. The second one reunited all but Shue and offered a new love interest for Daniel named Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita; The Day After Tomorrow). The final film in the original trilogy, The Karate Kid, Part III, was the worst in the series as the plot wasn't well thought out and it veered from the original premise of an uprooted teenager learning Karate to defend himself and defeat his enemies at the state tournament.
The three discs come in an outer box displaying comic book drawings of a few scenes from each of the movies, adding some color to the outer shell. The movies are newly remastered in 4K resolution from the original camera negative, with Dolby Vision. The contrast of the video quality from previous releases is apparent from the beginning with incredibly clear and detailed pictures and vibrant color hues.
The audio is either Dolby Atmos or DTS-HD master audio 5.1. While the latter is very good with quite a bit of detail and layers of ambient sounds, it can't compare to the richness and depth offered by the Atmos version. The dialogue is comfortably set in the front speakers while the ambient sounds resonate throughout the space thanks to the surround speakers.
The collection also contains extras on both the 4K and Blu-ray disks, though most of the material is recycled from previous releases. The extras include Remembering The Karate Kid Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailers, Blu-Pop, Audio Commentary, The Way of the Karate Kid, Part 1, The Way of the Karate Kid, Part 2, Beyond the Form, East Meets West: A Composer's Notebook, Life of Bonsai, Previews, and Original Featurette: "The Sequel" on discs I and II, while disc III has no extras at all besides the Theatrical trailer.
The original movie has become a "new classic" amongst generation X and this box set gently reminds the viewer of how incredible it was. The second and third movies aren't quite as good, but it is great that Sony put the three together and offered an upgraded bundle of all of them, especially in time for holiday gift-giving.