About a year ago it was announced that the Karate Kid franchise was going to return in the form of a sequel series on the YouTube Red streaming Channel & that it will be called “Cobra Kai”. The announcement came with the announcement that original cast members Ralph Macchio and William Zabka were going to return in the roles that they played in the original 1984 classic. This generated excitement amongst Karate Kid fans but it also gave fans of the franchise cause for concern. It’s been over 30 years since these actors played these roles and lately a lot of our beloved franchises from our childhood or youth have been brought back to get fucked up the ass by filmmakers and producers who never understood what made those properties special in the first place and also to cater to the Social Justice Warrior Marxist audience.
Some that come to mind are Paul Fag’s so-called “Ghostbusters” movie and Kathleen Kennedy’s produced femi-nazi diarrhea “The Last Jedi” which gave us the much anticipated return of Luke Skywalker but fans were rewarded by giving us a movie that concentrated on two very annoying characters that managed to make Jar Jar Binks tolerable and a Luke Skywalker that had been turned into a pessimistic old fart that got pushed around by a Mary Sue. Cause according to Kennedy “Girls can’t identify with Luke Skywalker”… but funny how boys have to love the character of Rey otherwise they are a bunch of sexists evil doers. So the concerns were logical and I tried not to get too excited at first.
But from the moment I saw the teaser trailer, I couldn’t help but to get really excited about this fucking thing
In the summer of 1984 a film was released in North American theaters that was thought of as a high-school rip-off of the Rocky movies. It featured an Italian American in the title role and it was even directed by Rocky’s original director John G. Avildsen. The movie was “The Karate Kid”
But the movie quickly became a phenomenon mostly by word of mouth and it became a sleeper hit during that summer. Kids were coming out of the theater doing karate kicks and jumping up and down. This happened at the very first screening of the movie in which producer Jerry Weintraub turned to Ralph Macchio and said to him “we’re going to be making more of these” judging by the reaction the movie was getting.
“The Karate Kid” which was originally dismissed as a rocky rip-off turned out to be a great movie. The movie had a lot of heart and a relatable story and most importantly, the cast was perfect.
I have often said & written that the role of villains in a movie and the actors that bring such characters to life are underrated. “The Karate Kid” was special not only by the relationship between Daniel and mr. Miyagi which was not only about martial arts but it was also about friendship and a kid finding a father figure in his karate teacher but what really kicked it into high gear & manly stratosphere were the villains.
If you are young boy and you saw “The Karate Kid” for the first time, you saw a group of guys ride around in motorcycles, talking to the hottest girls in school and and beating the shit out of other dudes doing karate. Who wanted to be Daniel?! Real boys wanted to be Cobra Kai!
So after the success of “The Karate Kid” in 1984, two years later we got the sequel. The second one took place in Okinawa and it mostly centered around mr. Miyagi
Originally Peter Cetera former lead singer of the band “Chicago”, wrote this ballad to be used for the end credits of Rocky 4 but the studio passed and looking back it was the right decision because it did not fit but later it was picked up to be used for “The Karate Kid 2”. The song & video became a hit.
In 1989 Daniel Larusso’s story finally came to an end with the third installment of the franchise. While it is the weaker installment of the trilogy and thought of by many as the “Rocky 5” of the series, the villains once again become the heroes by making the movie manly, entertaining and watchable and of course those villains / heroes were Cobra Kai.
Later that year from September to December we got a short lived animated saturday morning cartoon series. The original plan was for 65 episodes to air on syndication but we only got these 13 episodes that aired on the NBC Network.
& of course us 80s kids needed our manly action figures of our favorite manly cinema heroes to further stimulate our testosterone
And of course the shitty video game
In the 90s the studio wanted to keep milking the franchise so we got a new Karate Kid and this time it was a girl. Gender swapping didn’t work then and it sure as shit ain’t working now. Michael Ironside is in the movie though & he’s cool.
For many years that was the end of anything new Karate Kid. But the series managed to become popular generation after generation. Even part 3 which was considered a disappointment at the time of it’s release developed a fan base especially because of the great teachings by Sensei Silver.
So Hollywood being Hollywood decided to remake The Karate Kid some years ago this time with Will Smith producing and the title role will be played his son Jaden and his mentor played by Jackie Chan. I have to admit, I was completely ready to take a big old shit on this movie but it was not as terrible as I thought it was going to be and I appreciated the fact that they changed the name of the characters and they did not use “Daniel” or “mr. Miyagi”. But the movie took place in fucking China and it should have not been called “The Karate Kid” it should have been fucking called “The kung fu kid” but hey, that’s just once again Hollywood being Hollywood.
The movie was actually a success at the box office and there were talks about having a sequel to that movie but I for one I’m happy that I never got a sequel even though I like Jackie Chan but Will Smith’s son has turned into some sort of gender-neutral freak last time I checked & nobody wants to see that shit on the screen, at least not me for fucking sure.
Over the years the love for the original movies & cast members have not only remain but have grown in the hearts of it’s fans both old and new. Ralph Macchio did a Funny or Die bit were he parodied himself.
And manly man William Zabka started to get the praise and love he should have gotten all along. He made this music video where he got to reunite members of the Cobra Kai Dojo
Showed up in commercials
& in movies & TV shows like ” How I Met Your Mother”
So these past few weeks while others were anxiously awaiting the latest Marvel feature film, I was anxiously awaiting the release of “Cobra Kai”.
I’m a big fan of Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky Balboa”. I thought that the praise “Creed” got “Balboa” should have gotten. Even though the Rocky movies have varied in tones, as I was watching “Rocky Balboa” I felt like I was catching up with an old friend whom I have not seen in quite a long time. That movie was supposed to end the franchise and it was a love letter to the character and it’s fans.
And as I was watching “Cobra Kai” I got the same feelings that I did as I was watching “Rocky Balboa”. “Cobra Kai” is fucking great & I loved every motha fuckin’ episode!
The show was created by Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg & Josh Heald. They made the movie “Hot Tub Time Machine” in which William Zabka had a small role in. Ralph Macchio has been saying in interviews that he decided to do the show because these guys loved “The Karate Kid” very much & it was like their Star Wars and he trusted them that the show was going to be more than a nostalgia act and a cash grab.
The show starts with the Johnny’s and Daniel’s confrontation at the end of the first movie and after it ended it immediately goes into the life that Johnny is living now. Johnny’s far removed from the California high school Golden Boy he was over 30 years ago. He lives in a shitty apartment in the same neighborhood that Daniel Larusso used to live in. He works as a handyman doing shit jobs here and there for people that treat him like shit every now and again. He drinks heavily, is broke, drives the same Pontiac Firebird he drove in the first movie still and doesn’t have much of a relationship with his teenage son.
After another shitty day in his shitty life, Johnny saves Miguel (played by Xolo Maridueña) a kid who just recently moved into same apartment building Johnny lives in, from a bunch of kids that were giving him a beating. This makes Miguel ask Johnny if he could teach him karate and this sets up a chain of events that will make Johnny want to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo
As manly man Johnny one night is watching one of his favorite movies “Iron Eagle” and is getting divine inspiration from it, the movie cuts to a commercial of Daniel Larusso’s car dealership. And thats just it, every day there’s a reminder of Daniel’s success who’s now the car king of the San Fernando Valley. Wether on billboards, radio or TV spots, it feels like Daniel is taunting him.
I don’t want to give away too many spoilers. This is a direct continuation of the first movie and it deals with what has been happening to these characters in the last 30 years of their lives. Both of these guys are still searching for some answers in some way. Daniel even though is now a successful businessman, husband and father, is living a life now were his not completely fulfilled.
Daniel’s having trouble relating to his kids especially to his teenage daughter whom he had been closer to and is years removed from practicing martial arts and he’s missing mr. Miyagi’s presence and wisdom in his life.
This series gives us more of a background story to the character of Johnny Lawrence. How he got involved with Cobra Kai, how he did not have a father but an asshole rich stepfather who treated him like shit. Sensei Kreese was a father figure to him and when he lost to Daniel in the tournament, he not only lost the tournament but his father figure as well.
Mr. Miyagi once told Daniel that there was no such thing as a bad student but a bad teacher and this is a character study of how 2 kids who needed a father figure found one in their karate teachers. However one was a good Sensei, while the other one tried to kill his student after a loss. You can see the influence of both of these men’s teachers in the current lifes.
Once again Ralph Macchio is outstanding as Daniel Larusso but to me the real star here is William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence. Even though Johnny’s character has strong feelings regarding Sensei Kreese, he still believes that what he taught him works.
I believe this was the right format to bring the franchise back. It’s basically a 5-hour movie divided into 10 parts and actually they get away with more of an adult material that in the feature films. There’s more cursing and even more of an adult humor.
The character of Johnny Lawrence is an old-school guy in a politically correct world and the way he treats these Millennial Pussy students of his is hysterical and funny as hell. Kudos to the actor Xolo Maridueña for his portrayal of Miguel. He has great chemistry with Zabka and their interactions are both at times heartfelt and funny.
The series is not perfect. I felt that the character of Robbie ( Johnny’s son) was pushed too fast in order to include him in the conclusion and it’s okay to have Johnny be an old school guy but the fact that he did not know what the fuck Facebook was, was a bit of a stretch.
But to me the good outweigh the bad. The young cast was not annoying as in other shows or movies, so kudos to the casting director and filmmakers. And at one point in the show you get the feeling that these guys might actually strike up a friendship but once again something happens that pushes them in opposite ways again. That episode featured great acting by both Zabka & Macchio, plus a “Rocky III” reference.
I’m surprised that the show actually showed some weak Millennials become better, more secure, strong individuals through the Cobra Kai methods & Sensei Johnny’s old school ways.
I really loved the show and I really loved how it ended. That last scene was manly as fuck and if we don’t get a season 2 it would be a crime against humanity.
They say that men should never look back , that we should always look ahead and move forward. Even though I subscribe to the notion that one has to look forward and look ahead, when one gets stuck in life the only way to get out of the rut is to look back into our lives and examine what steps we took or didn’t take & figure out how it is that we got to where we are and unstuck ourselves. Cause sometimes the keys to our future lies in our past.
This show is was a good representation of that. Loved it! I want more seasons.