Review: ‘The Karate Kid Collection’

Way before "Million Dollar Baby" was a gleam in Clint Eastwood's eyes, Hilary Swank showed off her scrappy side in "The Next Karate Kid." The fourth and final installment in the coming-of-age franchise is tucked into Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's "Karate Kid" set almost as an afterthought, but is far more interesting to Oscar watchers than the original 1984 release

Way before “Million Dollar Baby” was a gleam in Clint Eastwood’s eyes, Hilary Swank showed off her scrappy side in “The Next Karate Kid.”

The fourth and final (at least for now) installment in the coming-of-age franchise is tucked into Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s “Karate Kid” set almost as an afterthought — it doesn’t even rate its own disc — but is far more interesting to Oscar watchers than the original 1984 release, which rates a special edition treatment, complete with commentary and bonsai featurette, in this three-disc set.

Swank’s perf as a troubled orphan who regains her footing through karate training uncannily foreshadowing her Oscar-nommed work in Eastwood’s boxing tale 10 years later. Sure, the setup is hokey: Her grandfather saved Mr. Miyagi, Pat Morita’s wise karate master, in WWII, and her grandfather taught those moves to her late father, who passed them on to her before dying in a car crash.

But the same plucky determination and athletic drive shines through “The Next Karate Kid” as “Million Dollar Baby.”

The rest of the pic is boilerplate coming-of-age sequel, down to the strained reason for Miyagi’s return to his old stomping grounds in L.A. with his new charge in tow.

As for the original, it serves best as time capsule fodder, down to Ralph Macchio’s scrawny build and feathered ‘do, plus an equally dewy Elisabeth Shue as the love interest.

It would be several more years before Swank earned a regular gig on “Melrose Place,” and a few more before she went AC/DC for “Boys Don’t Cry,” but “The Next Karate Kid” remains a telling tale of the thesp’s particular charms.

The Karate Kid Collection

3 Discs. $36.95

Production

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Released Feb. 1.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Digital News from Variety

Loading