Review: Cobra Kai

When I first heard that YouTube snatched the rights for a sequel series to the 1984 classic The Karate Kid, I was obviously skeptical.  I then rolled my eyes when I read that Johnny (William Zabka) & Daniel (Ralph Macchio) would be returning. Out of all the movies that someone could do this with, why these two characters 34 years later? It’s not necessary. While that might be the case, that doesn’t mean they haven’t come up with a great story to tell. The first season of Cobra Kai is surprisingly very good. (No spoilers)

I really wanted to hate this series. I was looking forward to bashing the hell out of it and accusing YouTube of attempting to gain more subscribers based only on nostalgia. Instead, I liked the first two free episodes on YouTube enough to sign up for a one month free trial of YouTube Red so I could watch the remaining eight episodes. It’s painful for me to admit that, but I believe in credit where credit is due.

While the nostalgia will certainly exist for any fan of the films, the writers were smart enough to realize they would need more to attract new viewers.  As a result, the series does a good job at updating itself. While some of the storyline rehashes some old plot points, it also implements some fresh twists and characters to keep things interesting. As you know, Johnny decides to reopen a Cobra Kai dojo. Daniel practically has PTSD about it and wants to stop him. However, the story evolves into so much more than that! By the time the season concludes,  I don’t get a sense that any of the main characters are bad. The series truly doesn’t have a villain. Instead, they all seem like real naturally flawed people who make both good and bad decisions.

Personally, The Karate Kid has always been a weird franchise for me. Back in 2015, I wrote a huge drunk synopsis on the Karate Kid Part III. I had the following to say about Daniel. “Thank god Mr Miyagi has lots of discipline because I would have killed Daniel in his sleep long ago. Daniel is without a doubt the most annoying franchise character in the history of film. Yes, even worse than Jar Jar Binks! Daniel bitches, whines, cries, and gets his ass kicked through three films. Everything out of his mouth is annoying and whiny. “But, Mr. Miyagi” “Hey, Mr. Miyagi” “Why Mr. Miyagi?” It’s Miyagi this and Miyagi that. UGHHH!!!”  (link to my full synopsis tirade) Watching him in Kobra Kai, I still feel the same way about him.  I can see how that annoying kid could grow up to become who he is today. Good job writers.

badass

Ya got to admit, it’s a badass name for a dojo.

The films told Daniel’s story. Because of this, we truly know very little about Johnny. We know he was a teen punk with a dickhead Sensei. It’s cool that we get his backstory so he’s no longer so one dimensional. I have truly started to like this character. Even if I don’t agree with him sometimes, I can at least understand his perspective.

Cobra Kai was a complete surprise to me. The idea of having ‘balance’ is a reoccurring theme throughout the story. That’s also a perfect metaphor for how I feel about the show in general. Cobra Kai is a story that didn’t need to be told, but it’s certainly one hell of a ride.

Score: 9/10

Pros

+ It’s written by people who seem to know what they’re doing.

+ A surprise finale ending that I didn’t see coming!

+ Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes both good and bad decisions.

Cons 

– Seriously, all this was sparked from an under 18 karate tournament?  It’s a little sad.

– The character development of Miguel is great! Robby seems a little rushed.

 

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Categories: Anything involving Hollywood & TV

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