by Brad Miller
“Fear does not exist in this dojo.”
This is how you bring back a classic! “Cobra Kai,” a “Karate Kid” sequel series, is an action-packed, comedic, well-executed drama that succeeds at most levels as a TV show. This is a love letter to the fans of the original “Karate Kid,” but even if you don’t have a history with this series, it’s still incredibly easy to dive right into.
Johnny Lawrence, (William Zabka) is a former All Valley Karate Tournament champion who was dethroned in 1984 by Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio). Now 30 years later, Lawrence has been down on his luck since his high school days.
That all changes when he notices his neighbor, Miguel, getting bullied, and comes to his aid. After this incident, Lawrence decides he needs to stop sulking and is inspired to bring back one of the most infamous dojos ever.
Nothing Is Black and White
This show is filled to the brim with lessons and no one is without error. Generally in a feature, it’s quickly established who the audience should root for. We are given our “heroes,” and we spend the show generally watching them overcome their adversaries.
What I think “Cobrai Kai” wants to tell its audience is that people can and will change. Lawrence isn’t the same man he was when he went for LaRusso’s weak spot when they were teenagers.
LaRusso isn’t the same person from before either because he’s allowed that event in high school to affect the rest of his life. So much so, that the audience can see how his wife has begun to be more than annoyed by it.
For years, karate has been mostly absent from cinema and television. So to bring it back out of nowhere while making it exciting to watch is surprising to say the least.
From time-to-time, I found myself getting out of my seat when someone was hit. The camera operators do not shy away from the action, and audiences will feel engaged.