“Karate Kid” reboot is a step in the right direction for gaming franchises that want to steal back their originals. Getting rid of bad actors and telling new stories with characters fans love will hopefully set an example for other studios.
The “why is cobra kai so cheesy” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer to the question is that Cobra Kai gets it right because they are not trying to be anything else than what they are.
Cobra Kai’s Approach to Getting It Right
The news of a franchise rebirth at this moment in time fills fans of the series with dread. We’ve been deceived far too many times to expect a good sequel that captures the charm of the original film, series, or whatever work of art is about to be desecrated. The most apparent example is Star Wars, which managed to be both excessively reliant on and disdainful of its predecessor, but there are dozens of others. After a catastrophic remake/reboot/whatever that became a joke rather than a feminist shock to the system, Ghostbusters is suddenly being hailed for mediocrity (except the digestive one). The Terminator franchise has tried multiple times to recapture the popularity of its first two films, the most recent of which had Sarah Connor lament her involvement in the tale and replaced messianic character John Connor with a more politically acceptable stand-in. Disney continues redoing its animated classics with a soul-crushing contemporary twist, and although they earn a lot of money, it’s hard to find someone who like them. In its current production, even the MCU is smearing its most popular and oldest characters. (Captain America is now a racist, according to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.) You may also learn about – or weep with other fans Gary and Az over – the deconstructions and demolitions of Star Trek and Doctor Who on YouTube channels like Nerdrotic and HeelvsBabyface. It seems that everything we once loved will be revived and destroyed in a short of time.
Cobra Kai, on the other hand, is a unique character. Cobra Kai is a far-flung sequel series to the Karate Kid films that is a gem in the rough, a rebirth of an old product that not only does the past justice but really improves it. Catching up with old characters, particularly Daniel LaRusso and his arch-enemy Johnny Lawrence, is a thrill, and it reawakened my interest in a narrative I hadn’t thought about since I was a teenager. (In order to spot more of the references in Cobra Kai, I recently re-watched all three Karate Kid movies to refresh my memory.) The first is a true classic, with amazing characters and a compelling story about an odd connection between a troubled Jersey youngster and an old Japanese karate teacher. The sequels aren’t quite as wonderful, relying largely on Daniel and Mr. Miyagi, as well as Ralph Macchio and the late Pat Morita’s always-honest performances.) There are several ways in which Cobra Kai succeeds while its counterparts fail miserably.
Cobra Kai has eschewed the notion of “Let the past die; kill it if you have to” and instead embraced the Karate Kid films as something almost magical, a time in Daniel and Johnny’s lives that they long to revisit, or at the very least look back on fondly, despite their vastly different circumstances in middle age. They recall karate competitions, friends they met and lost (including Johnny, who is profiled in a pair of stunning episodes during Season 2), and the attractive lady they dated. When kids see those images from the movies, they get a “Summer of ’69” sense, which matches our own memories of the period. (Compare this to The Matrix Resurrections’ continuous excerpts of The Matrix, which come off as cheap ploys to elicit nostalgia in our minds.) Cobra Kai, like Disney Star Wars, portrays the past in a new light without demeaning it or killing the characters from the past. The most common example is Johnny’s belief that Daniel was the true villain of The Karate Kid, taking his girlfriend, playing pranks on him and his friends, and winning the All Valley Karate Tournament with a “illegal move.” On the surface, this seems to be nothing more than a bully attempting to justify his own heinous actions, but because to the writing and William Zabka’s true, sympathetic acting, we learn that this is exactly how Johnny sees things. And, God help us, there are times when we believe Johnny’s point of view is valid; after all, this little Jersey punk did move in on his gal, in his opinion. While Cobra Kai was a destructive force, we discover that it also protected Johnny from feeling like a victim by providing him with a place to belong, find friends, and find purpose – until Daniel LaRusso and his sensei put it out of business.
Johnny aspires to instill a feeling of belonging and purpose in the next generation of Cobra Kai pupils. He wants to take the best of what happened to him and remove the worst, then utilize the good components — self-confidence, self-defense, discipline, and responsibility – to mold contemporary youngsters who don’t receive it anyplace else. And after Daniel enters the fray, he does much the same with his own Miyagi-Do dojo. This is how the importance of the past is represented in the new, younger characters, apart from being a metaphor for the program and what these revivals should be but seldom are. They aren’t little Reys who are going to teach these crusty old guys a thing or two; they are pupils studying at the feet of masters. They’re excellent at karate because Daniel and Johnny show them how to do it, and they’re confident since they’ve gradually mastered this long-forgotten discipline. Consider Hawk’s incredible change, which, as we’ll see in Season 4, is far from complete. Consider Miguel’s journey from victim to assailant to champion to attacker. Consider Daniel’s daughter Samantha, the kind child who becomes a defender of the bullied, then gets so terrified that she abandons the youngsters she’d recruited into her battle against Cobra Kai, and eventually slides back into the bully position. You can follow an arc like this with almost any of the new characters, one in which they grow into their own as individuals yet make mistakes along the way.
The same can be said for the “villains,” whatever they are on Cobra Kai. Tory begins as a dark reflection of Sam, the highly competent girl who turns into a bully rather than a protector. But Tory has layers, and although they seem to be there just to humanize a villain – which is a noble goal in and of itself — they gradually become a vehicle to reveal a different side to her, to demonstrate that she’s capable of being the person no one thinks she can be but everyone assumes Sam is. It’s wonderful that this occurs as Sam is giving in to her baser inclinations and seeking retribution rather than attempting to help Tory (which is a breach of the Miyagi-Do rules). Tory comes to this in the same manner that Johnny did in the movies when he finally realized the wickedness in his sensei, John Kreese: it’s karate, and the Cobra Kai dojo, that brings Tory to this, even as its new sensei, Terry Silver, is using it to drive her in the other direction. Miguel and Johnny’s kid, Robby, follow similar paths, with Miguel beginning lovely and innocent and gradually becoming violent and furious while lying and stealing. Daniel teaches Robby the importance of restraint and honesty, only for them to go in the other direction after season two. Miguel is learning Miyagi-defensive Do’s inner serenity as Season 4 starts, while Robby is Cobra Kai’s new star fighter, resentful and furious towards two would-be dads while being molded by a monster. In each of these cases, the individuals and institutions from the films are given prominence, including Kreese and his youth corrupting.
However, the youngsters aren’t the only ones in Cobra Kai that have flaws. Despite their sincere desire to do good, Johnny and even Daniel are shown to be extremely flawed individuals. However, unlike Disney Star Wars, Cobra Kai does not portray them as worthless, unhappy old idiots who must die so that their successors may rectify what they messed up. Daniel isn’t some bizarre hermit who wants to annihilate karate and sip the milk of a strange species forever. He is, however, prepared to go to any length to prevent Johnny from restarting Cobra Kai and subsequently competing in the All Valley Karate Tournament. His heart is in the right place; he recalls how Cobra Kai transformed his classmates into violent thugs, and he doesn’t want that to happen to today’s youth, particularly because his children will be forced to attend school with them. However, he resorts to cajoling Johnny’s landlord into evicting him and humiliating him in front of the All Valley Committee. Johnny, on the other hand, is striving to be a better man than he was as a student, and his love for the children under his supervision is real. He views the contemporary world as damaging, and he wants to provide a safe haven for troubled youngsters to acquire strength and self-reliance. However, his previous habits are still there, and he often oversteps his bounds, turning the Cobra Kai pupils into bullies and, in some instances, borderline sociopaths. This reaches a pinnacle when he invites Kreese to return; Johnny welcomes the Devil back into his church, and he’s soon left with nothing but the ashes of his good intentions.
On Cobra Kai, however, redemption is never far away (unlike Han Solo, who died an inept thief who abandoned his family, failed to rescue his kid, and couldn’t fly his own ship). Daniel overcomes his adversarial streak by recalling what Mr. Miyagi taught him and using Miyagi-Do to provide an alternative to Johnny’s harsh mentorship – once again, turning to the past and treating it with respect rather than dismissing or ridiculing it. And Johnny makes repeated efforts to remedy some of the unintended negative signals he has given his kids, balancing strength and authority with justice and integrity. Both of these strategies are shown to be effective throughout the series. This is particularly evident in Season 4, when Johnny and Daniel join forces to confront Cobra Kai. Their pupils begin to stray to one other’s dojos, lured by the novelty of it all. And it works for everyone: Miguel and Hawk learn patience and discipline from Daniel, while Sam and Demetri learn to push themselves and attack while learning with Johnny, if hesitantly at first. The senseis discover the conclusion of these divergent teachings during the tournament, when the pupils all improve as fighters as a result of learning from two separate masters whose strengths compensate for each other’s weaknesses. This is precisely what the children teach Daniel and Johnny, and they do it just in time.
That’s the rub: the old guard can learn from the younger generation as long as they don’t have to learn everything. Johnny’s aversion to modernity is a key topic in the show, and although it is often justified, it also leaves him adrift in a world he doesn’t comprehend. Miguel teaches Johnny how to use the internet and take appealing photos to post on social media (despite the fact that Johnny still refers to hashtags as “hash browns”), and he persuades him to let females join Cobra Kai, something Johnny is unwilling to do. (“The same reason there aren’t any women in the Army; it’s absurd.”) But Johnny has much to teach Miguel outside of the dojo, such as how to have a wonderful first date with a lady, and he does it by alluding to movies once again. Rather of making a mockery out of it, the Golf N’ Stuff turns out to be the ideal location for two youngsters to fall in love, a timeless piece of the franchise’s history that retains all of its force, even if it is only a high school hangout. Old and new characters help each other develop, and it’s all natural and genuine to the plot and these characters.
But all of the drama, reverence for the past, acceptance of the new, and blurring moral boundaries are balanced by one of the most crucial things Cobra Kai does right: it’s enjoyable. It’s a lot of fun to watch Johnny struggle to make sense of a world he doesn’t comprehend, and he pokes fun at current society in almost every episode. But there are jokes about Johnny as well, with his hyper-masculine demeanor being mocked to great effect. And the impression is enhanced by the fact that Johnny is not ridiculed. The jokes about past personalities and movies are offered with affection and respect, as seen by the manner the gags are delivered. Daniel smacks his hands together over an injured Robby in the season 1 finale, and the music cue is the same as when Mr. Miyagi employed some secret procedure to heal Daniel in The Karate Kid – but then Daniel turns and exclaims, “Medic!” This joke works because it is respectful to Mr. Miyagi while also laughing at Daniel’s circumstances. It wouldn’t be humorous if Mr. Miyagi did it since we know he can do it. But Daniel doing it makes sense since this is a feat that only Mr. Miyagi could pull off. Daniel is always chasing the shadow of his old buddy, and here is another another example of how he idolizes Mr. Miyagi without becoming him (which is also a good thing because Cobra Kai refuses to fall into the trap of replacing Mr. Miyagi, even with Daniel). Consider Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber, which he throws away like a candy wrapper. There’s a method to defy expectations without putting your tale, characters, mythology, or audience in jeopardy.
Its avoidance of – and, in the later two seasons, blatant attack on – wokeness adds to the enjoyment. This is the elephant in the room, the breath of fresh air that Cobra Kai brings to the table while so many other brands are cowering in fear. Cobra Kai criticizes modernism for destroying human nature and embracing weakness while vilifying strong. Johnny is the most visible representative of this mindset, and a weaker program might have used him as a punching bag who needed to be taught a lesson by some forward-thinking youths who believe they know everything. However, Cobra Kai argues that, while Johnny’s rants are amusing, he is largely correct; the ultra-sanitized, overly protective, unrealistic woke culture has turned the kids who walk through Cobra Kai’s doors into weak, scared, socially awkward neurotics whose insistence on being always right is a mask for their doubts and insecurities. Johnny replies with some old-school toxic masculinity, emphasizing self-determination and confidence earned rather than demanded. His dismissive attitude toward the pupils seems to be incorrect at first; however, Eli Moskowitz, whom Johnny had mockingly called “Lip” because to his cleft lip, returns to the dojo with a Mohawk, a tattoo, and a desire to achieve, earning the new title “Hawk.” Hawk goes through a lot of changes in the series, and I don’t think he’s finished yet, but none of them would have been possible without that first push from a man’s man who refused to coddle him.
Daniel’s disdain of contemporary society is clearly evident. While he’s not as violent as Johnny, he regrets the fact that his children don’t have the same structure and learning conditions as he had. While he is supportive, he is disappointed that Samantha has abandoned karate, the discipline through which he, like Johnny, developed self-reliance. And it crushes his heart to watch his son Anthony spend the whole day glued to a video game screen instead of being active or learning a new skill. He doesn’t update or “repair” what was never wrong when he returns to teaching. He uses Mr. Miyagi’s tried-and-true techniques, including “wax on, wax off” and other physical work. He isn’t as overtly antagonistic to wokeness as Johnny, but he never succumbs to it; instead, he encourages his pupils to be their best under often harsh circumstances. Sam finally returns to karate, but Anthony seems to have lost touch with modernity, which to a head in season 4. Daniel has been as tolerant as the year requires, and as a consequence, his kid has turned into a bully since he was never taught how to be a man. Finally, Daniel takes a leaf from Johnny’s book by scolding Anthony with a harsh hand, even smashing his tablet in two to demonstrate the punk he unwittingly created that he isn’t kidding. While Johnny takes a step back now and then, Daniel finds himself forced to go farther into dangerous ground than he had anticipated.
Cobra Kai, starting with season 3, takes the battle to wokeness itself, exposing it for what it is. Following the epic school brawl that closed Season 2 (which is larger, better, and cooler than nearly any action film produced today), the high school has gone full-on woke, using terminology like “safe space” and prohibiting any type of physical contact while stressing emotions and comfort. As a consequence, the bullies pick up on the buzz phrases and use them to their advantage, treating the faculty members like violins. This ends with John Kreese standing before the less-than-woke city council and saying just the right things to persuade them to his side, including insisting on the chairperson being referred to as “councilperson” rather than “councilwoman.” These regulations not only make it difficult for decent people to go about their daily lives in peace, but they also serve as instruments for the evil to dupe the proponents of infantilism into thinking they are the righteous ones. It should also come as no surprise that Daniel’s wife Amanda, a thoroughly modern woman who busts her husband’s balls at every turn and blames karate for all of life’s ills, provides Kreese with all of the ammunition he requires at the council meeting by using her “evolved” peacemaking methods to try to stop a man who only understands violence. This contrasts wonderfully with all of the examples of these sorts of women in contemporary entertainment instructing those Neanderthal males how to do it, and watching Amanda LaRusso hauled out of that conference like a crazed maniac is the television equivalent of chocolate.
But it doesn’t rule out the presence of powerful female characters in Cobra Kai (and I loathe myself for saying this cliché). On the contrary, it’s bursting at the seams with them. However, they are real powerful personalities, not made-up heroes like Rey and Carol Danvers, Lady Loki, Batwoman, and others. Samantha, Tory, and Aisha are all excellent fighters because they’ve been educated to be such. Instead of being told they’re karate masters because they’re already flawless, we witness them develop into them. They go through a lot of training and fall down a lot before they learn to stand erect. Sam is unique in that she had previously gotten most of her training off-screen before the show’s plot started, but as she returns to karate, she discovers that she still has a lot to learn from her father and, eventually, Johnny. Furthermore, they are powerful not because of their fighting abilities, but because of their characterizations. Samantha’s first scene features her making a major blunder that causes a lot of trouble for Daniel and Johnny, and she is portrayed in a less-than-flattering light for the rest of season 4. She also has anxieties that have come to a head after a bad injury to herself and an even worse one to Miguel as a result of the school brawl. These are counterbalanced by her father’s instilled confidence, good humor, and overall goodness. Tory, as I previously said, is similarly complicated, and Aisha suffers from a different kind of bullying than the guys, but one that is just as devastating, and she gains the confidence that Sam and Tory have via Cobra Kai. (I really hope they bring her back for more than a quick scene.) And it’s not just women; there’s racial and sexual diversity as well, but they’re all treated as real people rather than cosmetic features, and they’re allowed to participate in the fun rather than being used as mouthpieces for virtue-signaling writers.
The anti-woke aspect works so well because it’s anchored in the characters and mystique of the Karate Kid films, apart from being a breath of fresh air today. Johnny and Daniel yearn for the days when wokeness would have been called out for the foolishness that it is. They’re angry that the next generation is drowning in this muck, and that they don’t have mentors like Mr. Miyagi or John Kreese (despite the latter’s many failings) to show them the way out. As a result, they take on the role of mentors. Instead of whining, they go out and create the world they desire, and they teach their pupils how to do the same, whether it’s by learning karate or talking to the lady they fear would never like them. It’s an honesty that speaks to the program as a whole rather than simply the characters, almost as if it’s a pledge to the viewer that the folks behind Cobra Kai understand what they’re talking about. In season 4, there’s even a plotline in which Johnny employs woke speech to attract a hippie-dippy feminist to his dojo, only for her to instead go to toxically macho John Kreese. (“I didn’t study feminism for no reason!”) By being honest and genuine to himself, Johnny then wins over another potential student with similar contemporary sensibilities. It makes sense in the context of the plot, and it assures us that the program would never do such a thing to us.
That’s all there is to it. Cobra Kai will always remain faithful to what it is, respectful of its heritage, honest with its characters, and as entertaining as the 80s flicks it cherishes, so we know what to expect. Each new season proves that this program isn’t an illusion; it’s an oasis amid a desert of disappointment, allowing us to unwind and enjoy ourselves before returning to the mud and sand of contemporary entertainment.
Watch This Video-
The “cobra kai season 4” is a show that aired on YouTube Red in 2018. It is about the Karate Kid’s son, who has to return to the dojo after his father leaves him. The show got everything right, and it was a great watch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the fighting in Cobra Kai realistic?
Has Cobra Kai been successful?
A: No. The Cobra Kai reboot was canceled after one season on the air and received a lot of backlash from fans who did not like it.
Does Cobra Kai have bad acting?
A: Yes, the acting is terrible.
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