It’s been 35 years since The Karate Kid crane kicked its way into theaters–and our hearts. In the time since, there’s been a long list of movies of varying quality and a revival series on YouTube Premium that, against all odds, is pretty amazing. Now, celebrating its milestone 35th anniversary, the original Karate Kid is back with a 4K release. Is it worth replacing the copy you already own, though?
The answer, honestly, depends on what you’re looking for in the set. If film’s quality is what you covet the most, this is by far the best-looking version of The Karate Kid you’re going to find. That said, this is still a 35-year-old movie shot on 35mm film. The 4K scan of the original camera negative can be grainy, but that’s to be expected–and it a bit comforting–when it comes to a movie this old. The colors are definitely more vibrant in this release, though.
The sound has also been given an upgrade. There’s still stereo and 5.1 mixes of the movie’s soundtrack; however, there’s also a new track option for those with Dolby Atmos audio systems.
If the movie’s picture quality isn’t as important to you as the bonus content packaged with the set, this is what might hold you back. While the 4K release comes with all of the special features that the 2010 Blu-ray release, including audio commentary with Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso), Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi), director John G. Avildsen, and writer Robert Mark Kamen, there’s not a ton of new content offered. On the 4K disc, you’ll find a 1080p version of the movie’s theatrical trailer, along with a new 10-minute featurette that looks back on the movies featuring interviews with Macchio, William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence), and Martin Kove (Sensei Kreese).
Were it not for Cobra Kai, this featurette would be a truly exciting addition. However, that trio has done so many interviews promoting the series over the last year that there’s only so much new ground to cover. That said, it’s still a short and fun watch.
Even without a bunch of new bonus features, though, it’s hard to ignore just how good this movie looks. This is the best transfer of The Karate Kid you’re going to find. So if you’re looking for an excuse to upgrade from your DVD or Blu-ray copy, it’s definitely worth it–especially if you’re planning to watch it on a large TV or have an impressive home audio setup. And if you somehow don’t own a copy of The Karate Kid, what are you waiting for? It’s an ’80s classic and it’s going to be hard to ever get a better version of it than this.
The Karate Kid is available now on 4K at participating retailers.
Disclosure: GameSpot was provided a copy of Karate Kid’s 4K release by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.