Cobra Kai, the series sequel to Karate Kid (1984) finally finds a wider audience as it is acquired by Netflix from YouTube Premium. With two seasons already out and a third one coming in 2021, the question is, should you skip it or watch it? Read on this review to find out.
YouTube Premium to Netflix
Back in 2018, Cobra Kai launched in YouTube Premium with only those who have premium YouTube accounts able to see the entire season. Surely enough, the show gained a cult following and a second season was green-lit.
Fast forward to 2020 and Netflix has gained the rights to the show and released both seasons back in June of this year. And with the streaming giant now at the helm comes an even bigger cult following.
Karate Kid Sequel
Back in 1984, Karate Kid was released to critical acclaim. The film introduced us to some of the most beloved movie characters in Mr. Miyagi and Daniel LaRusso aka The Karate Kid and spawned two sequels.
Now, 30+ years later, a new era has dawned. Cobra Kai which was the name of the rival dojo from the original movie comes back and continues the Karate Kid story. Only this time, it’s not just the story of Mr. Miyagi and Daniel. The story now shifts to Johnny Lawrence, Cobra Kai’s best student and Daniel’s former rival, and how the events of the first and second movie changed his life.
And yes, the original actors reprise their respective roles in the series with Ralph Macchio returning as Daniel LaRusso and Willam Zabka as Johnny Lawrence. Even Martin Kove who played the ruthless Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese returns for his role. Unfortunately though, Mr. Miyagi played by Pat Norita could not return as he sadly passed away back in 2005.
Nonetheless, the show brings back some precious 80s/90s nostalgia. Honestly, I feel like a kid again watching this show.
Well, we all learned about the story of the Karate Kid and partly the story of Cobra Kai as well from the original 1984 film. We also saw what happened (partly) to Johnny Lawrence after he got his face kicked in the finals of the All-Valley Karate Tournament.
In any case, if you have not seen Karate Kid, there’s a lot of useful flashbacks to help you understand the show’s narrative, so don’t worry.
This time, however, the show focuses more on Johnny and what his thoughts were during the events of the original film, in his own perspective. Of course, one would still root for Mr. Miyagi and Daniel but Johnny’s story is also just as compelling.
It is rare for shows or films to give justice to its antagonists but Cobra Kai does it so well. Every time you feel like you want to choose either Daniel or Johnny’s side, something happens, and you’re confused again.
The Miyagi-Do brand of Karate will always be about balance and Cobra Kai will always be about striking first and striking hard.
Similar to the teen drama we saw in Karate Kid, Cobra Kai isn’t also just about the karate. Teen drama is also one of its strong points. Aside from Johnny and Daniel’s renewed rivalry, we also get to see their kids battling it out in love and life itself.
Actors Xolo Maridueña (Miguel Diaz), Tanner Buchanan (Robby Keene), and Mary Mouser (Samantha LaRusso) lead the way as far as teenage drama goes. Cobra Kai makes things more interesting by not just keeping up with the present, it also acknowledges the past in a realistic way. Because let’s face it, how the teens from the 80s and 90s lived are just not the same as the teens of the present live, I can’t even begin to compare.
And this is where the show does its best. It consistently finds the right balance by showing the realities of both the past and the present in a manner that is informative and not offensive.
Skip or Watch?
Cobra Kai deserves a wider audience and thanks to Netflix it finally does. And if you were a fan of the Karate Kid film series from the 80s, you are going to love this show even more. The characters we all loved watching as a kid, are all back for a perfect dose of 80s/90s nostalgia. The drama and the fighting are equally balanced as far as intensity. But more than that, it’s the well-written characters and the realism that makes this show one of the best series in right now.
All in all, this show is just so bad**s!
I’m sort of disappointed with myself for not watching the show at the time of its Netflix release. But, hey, I’m all caught up and now I want more.
A third season is coming as confirmed by Netflix and I’m pretty excited as to how the story of Cobra Kai will continue.
Here is salida|etc’s rating for Cobra Kai Seasons 1 & 2.
Let us know what you think of the series by giving it your own rating or commenting below. Got a movie or TV series that you would like for us to review? Drop us a message and we’ll get to it.