Cobra Kai is a TV-made sequel for the hit-movie franchise “The Karate Kid”. Set 34 years after the first movie, Cobra Kai is about two bitter lifelong Karate rivals looking to pass on their knowledge to a new breed of fighters. That selling point alone makes Cobra Kai worth watching for fans of the movies.
Some were initially skeptical that the franchise would not resonate with the new generation. However, that is not the case. Cobra Kai started life as a series on Youtube Red. Three amazingly popular seasons later, platform streaming giant Netflix took notice and bought the rights to the series greenlight a fourth and fifth season upon acquiring the property.
The fourth season, released on New Year’s Eve of 2021, is the series’ highest-rated outing to date. If you haven’t watched the series, you might be asking “what makes this series so special?” and that’s exactly what I’m going to try and answer.
I’m issuing a spoiler warning right for all four seasons, thus far. You might want to catch up on the series first before continuing to read on. If you are not sensitive to spoilers, then this might convince you to watch the series. It is worth the watch.
What Makes Cobra Kai Worth The Watch?
Cast of Characters
Cobra Kai stars William Zabka and Ralph Macchio reprising their respective roles Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso. The main selling point for old-time fans was the return of both men to play their titular characters once again.
However, the creators of Cobra Kai really thought ahead and saw potential introducing characters into The Karate Kid universe. Characters like Miguel Diaz, Samantha LaRusso, Robby Keene, and Tory Nichols are playing huge roles in this show. The creators of the show did not just want to create a show centered around the old characters. So, they introduced fresh key players for new fans to root for.
Miguel Diaz is the new kid in town often bullied by people much bigger than him. Sound familiar? If it does it’s because Miguel closely resembles the trials and tribulations Daniel went through before Mr. Miyagi found him and taught him the ways of Karate. In the Cobra Kai series, Daniel’s former bully Johnny is the “sensei” of Miguel.
Presenting Johnny, who was always been taught to “strike first”, with the problem of how he will teach this kid, with little to no aggression, to defend himself. This created funny scenarios and saw Johnny really develop his character into a more open-minded and loving father figure for Miguel. A far cry from his character in the movie.
The creators could have easily ridden a wave of nostalgia for this TV sequel. Yet, they wanted to contribute to The Karate Kid mythos. And, based on the outpouring of support the show has received, they have succeeded.
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Speaking of nostalgia. Even though the creators of Cobra Kai did not solely intend for this to be a nostalgia trip for fans, a little blast from the past never hurt anyone. They brought back John Kreese, Johnny’s old sensei from the Cobra Kai dojo in season two. The man who taught him everything, for better or for worse.
Long-time fans got a kick out of this as it stirred up the pot and made things more interesting. Some would ask if they need to see the movie to enjoy Cobra Kai. The answer is yes and no. Yes, because like Kreese, characters from the original trilogy would pop up back starting in season two.
Season three saw the return of one of Daniel’s past lovers Kumiko from The Karate Kid II as well as his rival for her affection Chozen Toguchi. And, as recent as season four, fans saw the return of Kreese’s right-hand man Terry Silver. The crazed lunatic pushed Daniel to the edge in The Karate Kid III. Which saw Daniel join the Cobra Kai dojo.
On the other hand, no you don’t need to have seen the movies to enjoy it. Although, it is highly recommended to get the full experience. The original characters from the movie never felt they were overshadowing the new characters introduced and vice versa.
What is a show based on a Karate movie without loads of action? Cobra Kai’s fight set pieces are amazing. It will leave you on the edge of your seat. The action keeps you engaged and it never feels cheap as the creators, more often than not, let fans see the action unfold in full before the end of each episode.
Memorable fight sequences include the end of season two school brawl. Which saw Miguel get kicked off a balcony by Robby after an intense melee between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-do. The brawl in the LaRusso residence saw Tory with spiked knuckles gunning for Sam, Daniel’s daughter. And many others! If you like unrelenting martial arts action then Cobra Kai is for you.
Let us get real for a second here. Grown-men in their 50’s teaching a couple of kids Karate to settle their decades-long Karate blood feud is silly. However, Cobra Kai leans into this aspect rather than shying away from it.
Terry Silver in season four remarked the absurdity of Kreese’s motivations by stating that he is an old man invested in winning a Karate tournament. However, the writers justified this as Kreese using Karate to make a better world and train the youth of today to face the realities of life.
It is still a bit silly but Cobra Kai likes poking fun at itself and many fans of the show really appreciate that. Accentuate the positives and hide the negatives, as they say.
The Cobra (Kai) Strike Again
Cobra Kai is a good time and is an easy binge-watch. It is funny, quirky and, despite the shallow premise, keeps you wanting more. The writing of the show is excellent and the cast plays their roles well. It’s no wonder this series has been an amazing success.
The creators of the show feel like they are big fans of the franchise and wanted to contribute to preserving and continuing the legacy of this beloved movie franchise.
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