The Karate Kid Rehearsal Movie

Director John G. Avilsden has uploaded a video rehearsal version of The Karate Kid (1984) to YouTube.

Back in the early 1980s video technology allowed directors to shoot cheap rehearsal footage before they used the expensive film stock for the actual shoot.

If you get the recent Blu-ray of The Outsiders (also starring Ralph Macchio) you can see Francis Ford Coppola do a similar thing with his young actors.

This must have been lurking in a cupboard somewhere in Avilsden’s house but back in May 2010 he decided to upload it to YouTube.

The end result looks like a cross between a fan film and B-roll footage but is actually a fascinating document of the filmmaking process.

You can hear the director (or crew) making comments about certain shots and what sounds like Polaroids being taken for reference.

The thing that struck me whilst watching it?

The weird similarities between this process and the one used to bring Avatar to the screen, despite the huge gulf in budgets and technology.

Here it is in several parts:

[Via Metafilter]

> The Karate Kid at IMDb and Wikipedia
> John G Avilsden’s YouTube Channel

DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray: The Karate Kid

The remake of the 1984 film about a teenager who uses martial arts to defeat bullies is surprisingly good given the potential pitfalls that surrounded the project.

In this version a 12-year old kid named Dre (Jaden Smith) and his mother (Taraji P. Henson) move to Beijing from Detroit to start a new life.

Once there he falls for a young violinist (Wen Wen Han) which leads to bullying from the local kung-fu prodigy (Zhenwei Wang) until an enigmatic maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) comes to his aid by teaching him how to defend himself.

When producer Jerry Weintraub was approached with the idea of remaking the original he was understandably sceptical, as not only was it going to be relocated to China, but instead of Karate the main character would learn Kung-Fu.

A quick screenplay fix helped solve the glaring contradiction of the title, but the finished result is an entertaining affair whose only sin is that it goes on about 30 mins too long.

Smith is an agreeable lead, precociously charming throughout and convincing in the fighting sequences whilst Chan steals the show as the Chinese successor to Mr Miyagi, displaying the charm and physicality of his earlier career.

Director Harald Zwart makes this a more visually expansive film than the original, using the landscapes of China to full effect be it the Great Wall, the Wudang Mountains or Beijing itself.

A US-Chinese co-production, the filmmakers presumably got a lot of visual bang for their buck by filming it in China and it makes for a refreshing family-friendly drama in an era of CG-driven blockbusters based on comics.

Whilst a remake with more than a few nods to the original, it stands on its own as a drama and its success at the US box office (where it convincingly beat The A-Team remake on its opening weekend in June) was testament to the across-the-board appeal.

The Blu-ray transfer is particularly pristine 1080p transfer that conveys colours, details and depth with unusual clarity and the historical backdrops come across beautifully with the extensive use of crane shots giving it an added epic feel.

  • On Location: The Karate Kid Interactive Map of China
  • Alternate Ending
  • Play All Hosted by Jackie Chan
  • Production Diaries Hosted by Jackie Chan
  • Chinese Lessons – Learn Chinese!
  • Music Video: Justin Bieber Featuring Jaden Smith “Never Say Never”
  • Just for Kicks: The Making of The Karate Kid
  • movieIQ+sync
  • PS3 Wallpaper Theme
  • Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
  • Video resolution: 1080p
  • Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
  • Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
  • English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
  • 50GB Blu-ray Disc
  • Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD)
  • Digital copy (on disc)
  • Digital copy PSP (on disc)
  • DVD copy
  • BD-Live
  • movieIQ

The Karate Kid is out today from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

> Buy The Karate Kid on Blu-ray or DVD from Amazon UK
> Reviews at Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes
> IMDb entry


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 30th July 2010



The A-Team (20th Century Fox): The movie adaptation of the popular 1980s TV show arrives in the UK after being stuck in development limbo for years. The premise is an updated version of the series with Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley and Quiton Jackson as a special forces unit who are framed for a crime. Directed by Joe Carnahan (Narc, Smokin’ Aces), it also stars Jessica Biel and Patrick Wilson.

On its US opening last month, it opened to less than enthusiastic reviews and softer than expected box office. Given the appeal of the show to a generation who grew up in the 1980s, it could still have a solid opening here but faces tough competition from The Karate Kid and Toy Story 3. [Vue West End & Nationwide / 12A]

The Karate Kid (Sony Pictures): Another franchise forged in the 1980s gets the remake treatment with Jaden Smith (son of Will Smith) playing a young boy from Detroit who moves to China, where he gets lessons in life and self defence from an ageing kung fu master (Jackie Chan).

Although it might seem counterintuitive to have the new Karate Kid learn Kung Fu, the film has already proved a success in the US, where it convincingly beat The A-Team on its opening weekend. Directed by Harald Zwart (who previously made Agent Cody Banks) the family friendly qualities of the film could also make it popular over here too, especially as the school holidays have just begun. [Nationwide / PG]



Beautiful Kate (Matchbox Films): The directorial debut of actress Rachel Ward is an adaptation of the novel by Newton Thornburg and deals with a writer returing home to visit his dying father. It stars Rachel Griffiths, Bryan Brown, Sophie Lowe and Ben Mendelsohn. [Curzon Soho, HMV Wimbledon & Key Cities/ 15]

Down Terrace (Metrodome Distribution): A low budget British crime drama about a dysfunctional family in Brighton. Directed by Ben Wheatley, it stars Julia Deakin, Kerry Peacock, Robert Hill and Robin Hill. [ICA Cinema & selected Key Cities / 15]

Frontier Blues (Artificial Eye): A drama examining the lives of men on border of Northern Iran and Turkmenistan, directed by Babak Jalali and starring Khajeh Araz Dordi, Mahmoud Kalteh and Abolfazl Karimi. [Curzon Renoir & selected Key Cities / 12A]

Gainsbourg (Optimum Releasing): A biopic of the French singer Serge Gainsbourg, which depicts his early years in Nazi-occupied Paris through to his most successful period in the 1960s. Directed by Joann Sfar, it stars Eric Elmosnino, Lucy Gordon, and Laetitia Casta. [Cineworld Fulham Road, Curzon Soho & Nationwide / 15]

Separado! (Soda Pictures): A documentary exploring Gruff Rhys’s attempts to meet up with his lost long Patagonian uncle, the musician René Griffiths. Directed by Dylan Goch. [BFI Southbank, Curzon Soho & Key Cities]

South Of The Border (Dogwoof): Oliver Stone’s latest documentary sees him travel to Venezuela and explore the recent leftward tilt in South American politics. [Odeon Panton Street & Nationwide / 15]

DVD and Blu-ray releases for this week including Picnic at Hanging Rock and Stop Making Sense
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