I didn’t grow up watching many 80s films as a kid. I always heard of Karate Kid but cannot remember watching it in my youth. I knew who Mr. Miyagi was since he was legendary. I was a fan of Japanese culture though thanks to my father and growing up in San Francisco.
As a child, I enrolled in karate at a local dojo in my neighborhood, it was a short stint that never went beyond the white belt – but I fondly remember learning katas, sparring, and that one time I accidentally almost broke my sisters boyfriend’s nose while showing him a new move I learned from my sensei.
Yes – I thought it was pretty cool.
Karate was an important part of American culture in the late 20th century and although it might not be as popular today, clearly there is still an interest out there. Cobra Kai tells the story Johnny Lawrence, the high school cool kid who didn’t grow up to be such a hot shot and also Miguel Diaz, a Latinx kid who lacks confidence and becomes the first recruit to a new Cobra Kai dojo.
Lawrence is a good anti-hero, flawed and funny and he is far more entertaining than Karate Kid star Daniel LaRusso, who is stuck up and constantly whiny. The show centers around the never-ending feud between these two nearly 30 years after their first tournament. The dynamic between them is good and sometimes you even want them to become friends although the rules of the show won’t allow that.
Cobra Kai is a little strange for our current era – it doesn’t try to fit into the mold you see on so many shows but looks to its roots from the 80s to boost itself and that makes the show quite charming. The high school drama never gets too intense and there is plenty of karate action to compensate for any melodrama. This show is neither 13 Reasons Why (thankfully) nor is it Kill Bill.
When some shows try to make grown-ups interact, it can often feel forced and like a tangent from the actual story, but I very much enjoy watching Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso navigate their adulthood.
Also I like the idea dynamic between Miguel and Johnny. It’s almost like a big brother relationship over a fatherly one. Maybe its that they are both taking the crappy hand they have been dealt and making the best of it.
For me – I really liked watching Miguel Diaz. Maybe it reminds me of my karate childhood and the cool kid I wanted to be when I was little or how I felt wearing a katate gi.
Many of the shows characters are living in wealth, privilege, or are just plain whiny, but Miguel is down-to-earth and so are his friends. Like most kids they are looking for confidence and karate gives them that. In an interesting way Cobra Kai is more like LaRusso as a kid which is an interesting twist.
The way the show portrays younger kids today as stuck on social media and lacking social skills is pretty accurate as well. Kids could use some karate.
Plus I like watching them kick ass.
Cobra Kai is a well-written and acted show and the fighting choreography is good. We live in an era where people are hyper critical of every detail and it is very hard to make a show just entertaining, but I feel that Cobra Kai does that well and I am thankful for that. Over the weekend it hit #1 on the Netflix watch list.
I recommend Cobra Kai on Netflix and am looking forward to Season 3.