Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy.
Cobra Kai is a web-based series set 34 years after the original Karate Kid film starring the original leads Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso) and William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence). This is a web series featured on Youtube Red and is currently available to stream now. The series focuses on Johnny Lawrence and how he has become a bit of a burn out after the events of the original film and his resentment towards Daniel LaRusso who has since become a big successful car dealer. This series does a great job or recreating the magic of the first film and even bringing new things to the table.
The series is created by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg and you can tell they are big fans of the original film and have done an incredible job of making this series a respectful homage to the original and create an engaging story 34 years later that doesn’t feel like another mindless reboot. The series starts off showing Johnny and how he is down on his luck and really struggling with his life. Until he decides to re-open his old karate dojo Cobra Kai and get his life back on track. This is seen as a way for Jonny Lawrence to redeem himself and this series does a great job of making you side with Johnny and it kind of makes you think Daniel LaRusso is the real villain in the original film. Which reminds me of the very funny video essay ‘Daniel is the REAL Bully’ I would highly recommend watching this before watching Cobra Kai: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_Gz_iTuRMM
Both lead actors do an incredible job or reprising their roles and make you feel as though they really have just been living their lives for 34 years and now have to deal with their past demons. When I first saw the trailer for Cobra Kai I was rather sceptical about it and expect it to really suck but I could not have been more wrong. This is an incredible series and I was hooked from the first episode and binged it all in one day. It even made me think karate was cool again.
The other thing to highlight in this review is how good the action and fight scenes are. They feel organic and despite probably being highly choreographed they don’t feel like it at all. The only thing that made me think was a bit weird was how unfit looking the two leads kind of look. William Zabka actually looks the most in shape but probably could have done with some more push-ups to get the muscle definition in his arms. However, Ralph Macchio looks the most ridiculous in this series as he looks just as thin and weak as he did in the original film. Don’t get me wrong they both look good for men in their 50’s but it did kinda make me feel like I was watching a bunch of dads who haven’t worked out in a while put on their old karate gi’s.
All said and done this is an incredibly fun web series and is a great continuation of the Karate Kid franchise. If you are interested in seeing Cobra Kai I would highly suggest you rewatch the original film, skip all the shitty sequels and then watch the Youtube video I suggested and then watch Cobra Kai. Cobra Kai was far greater than I thought it would be and definitely worth your time.