Jaden Smith learns kung fu fighting from Jackie Chan and there's a new man wearing Freddy Krueger's glove.
The Karate Kid: Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) is a 12-year-old Detroit kid who is dragged kicking and screaming to Beijing, China after his mom gets an inexplicable job transfer. Within a day he has ticked off a gang of bullies that are all trained by a sadistic kung fu instructor. Dre befriends his building's maintenance man (Jackie Chan) and learns the way of true kung fu so the boy can earn the respect of his peers and win the heart of the young Chinese schoolgirl that has caught his eye. This remake of the 1984 film got the title all wrong (there is no karate featured), but audiences came out in droves to cheer co-producers Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's son to victory in this lengthy family action-drama. Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain Chinese lessons, the Justin Bieber-featuring-Jayden Smith music video “Never Say Never,” and “Just for Kicks: The Making of ‘The Karate Kid.’” The Blu-ray adds an interactive map of China, an alternate ending and production diaries hosted by Chan. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Rent Me
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010): The dream demon Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley) is back with his razor glove in this remake of Wes Craven's 1984 slasher classic. The premise is the same: a group of teens all connected by past events are having nightmares of Freddy with one unsettling consequence—if you die in your dream, you die for real. The talented young cast—including Rooney Mara as heroine Nancy, Kyle Gallner as her new boyfriend and Thomas Dekker as their friend—make their characters more sympathetic than the usual assembly line of obnoxious teens lined up for slaughter in films of this ilk, and Haley—taking over for Robert Englund—makes Freddy scary again after the character had degenerated into a joke-cracking clown in the later sequels. Still, for a movie that drifts in and out of dreamland, we wish those sequences boasted surreal effects that seemed more nightmarish. Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a making-of featurette; the BD adds additional footage and an in-movie experience with more behind-the-scenes material. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Rent Me
Grindhouse: Special Edition (Blu-ray): Both movies in the double feature Grindhouse—Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror and Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof—are already available separately on Blu-ray in extended versions. Besides offering both movies on a single disc for the first time, this special edition includes the hilarious "fake" trailers—Don't, Thanksgiving and Werewolf Women of the SS—that didn't make their way onto the individual Blu-ray releases. Audiophiles will be annoyed to learn that this complete Grindhouse, unlike the individual Planet Terror and Death Proof Blu-rays, only contains DVD-quality sound due to space constraints. Best extras: In addition to the extras found on the individual releases, the real treasure here is all the behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the faux trailers. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Rent Me
The Human Centipede: You've heard whispers about it from your friends and were maybe even brave enough to take a peek at the trailer. If you're looking for the most disturbing horror-film premise of the year, look no further than this shocking tale about a mad German scientist who kidnaps three victims and surgically joins them together mouth-to-anus to create one gastrointestinal track for the "human centipede." Director-writer Tom Six is one twisted puppy, to be sure, but the brilliance of this original story is that you are more terrified of what you are imagining is happening on-screen than what is actually shown, which is a blessing in disguise. Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain Six's commentary, a deleted scene, a making-of featurette and alternate posters. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Rent Me (if you have a strong constitution)
Also New This Week: Splice (read the full review in Disc-y Business tomorrow), 30 Days of Night: Dark Days, Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition, Bones: Season Five and Stargate Universe SGU: Complete Season One