By Benjamin Noel
Now I may be a little late to the show, but here’s my review of the Karate Kid follow up show, Cobra Kai.
The show opened right where the Karate Kid left off, with the final fight of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament with Daniel LaRusso’s crane kick and Cobra Kai’s notorious Johnny Lawrence’s face hitting the mat. Fast forward 30 odd years and Daniel owns a luxury car dealership, while Johnny is well, broke. After a familiar turn of events involving a kid getting jumped in the first episode, Lawrence opens up a dojo, a new Cobra Kai. Now this dojo, under Sensei Kreese in the 80s was well known for their motto “Strike first, strike hard, no mercy.”
When teaching his first student, the one he saved from thugs the other night, Lawrence drills those same fundamentals into young Miguel Diaz’s head. And aside from having Miguel do all the chores around the dojo, he builds him up the same way Kreese did, toughening him up so he can hold his own against the thugs that keep tormenting him and his friends.
What I loved about the show is that they gave Johnny Lawrence the depth he was missing in the first movie. He was a total jerk in the film, always picking on Daniel, and he was the embodiment of what Cobra Kai stood for. But now seeing his side of the story, how Daniel moved in and stole his girl, they have me rooting for the guy now. He’s had a tough draw, with a messed up family growing up, learning under a sadistic sensei, but he’s trying his best to make things right with his new dojo.
Daniel-san on the other hand, has remained pretty much the same, but without Mr. Miyagi’s advice, he at times proves to be no better than his Cobra Kai nemesis. And it’s great. It’s real. They’re not so much good and evil anymore, there’s a balance. As Mr. Miyagi said, “Whole life have a balance.”
Overall, it’s a fun show to watch. There’s a few easter eggs from the Karate Kid movie here and there, but the show is not a total rip off of the original, unlike the second two Karate Kid movies. Johnny Lawrence’s dry humor keeps the laughs rolling, and the intertwining lives of the characters had us hooked. The band of misfits studying under Sensei Lawrence, and the character dynamics kept the story fresh, and modern while still retaining a bit of that old school charm. So season one’s been quite a nostalgia trip, some bits reminded me of when I did martial arts as a kid, and I’m excited to see what the next season has in store.
Melanie Moyer '22,