Monday, August 6, 2018

YouTube Review: COBRA KAI - Season 1

Anyone who came of age during the 80's remembers The Karate Kid. A tale about a scrappy kid named Daniel LaRusso who learns to stand up for himself.  Now, fast forward 34 years and a new rivalry begins. I had the pleasure of watching the first season of the YouTube Red series Cobra Kai, and I loved it. I was obsessed with this movie as a kid and to see it back in any form was fantastic.

Cobra Kai consists of ten episodes varying between 30 to 45 minutes.  The first episode shows us what Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso have been up to for the last 34 years. I never pictured Daniel LaRusso as a car salesman.  I also like how the series offers a different perspective on Johnny. He's painted as a villain in The Karate Kid, however, in the first episode and throughout the first season, we see a man who is struggling to make up for his mistakes, one who has a softer side to his personality.

A pivotal scene in the first episode is when Johnny, reprised by William Zabka, rescues Miguel from some bullies. This scene is important because it sets up the relationships and events that occurred during the rest of the season. I loved seeing Zabka back in action!  Another important scene is when Johnny goes to Daniel's dealership to get his car towed somewhere else. Johnny tries to leave before Daniel sees him, but is stopped in his tracks when Daniel recognizes him. The great chemistry is still there. Daniel offers to fix Johnny's car for free and he reluctantly accepts. It's quite funny, yet awkward at the same time.

The turning point of the season is when Johnny decides to open up his own dojo, calling it, of course, Cobra Kai.  This upsets Daniel and he tries to put a stop to it, unsuccessfully. Johnny is trying to right the wrongs of his past, especially with his son, but in a twist of fate, Johnny's son Robby, starts working for Daniel, who becomes a mentor for him.  Daniel finds out that Robby is Johnny's son, but forgives him for not being straightforward.

When Johnny finds out that Daniel's been training Robby, it hurts him a great deal. Daniel and Johnny's rivalry comes to a head when Miguel, who's been trained by Johnny, and Robby, who's been trained by Daniel, compete against each other in the All Valley Tournament. Miguel ends up winning and Robby gets hurt. Johnny tries to talk to Robby, but he ends up walking off with Daniel. Daniel tells Johnny that he got what he wanted. However, did he really?

Watching this series brought back a wave of nostalgia for me. The soundtrack took me back to a happier, more innocent time in my life. Cobra Kai gives a fresh take on an old rivalry, and it was refreshing to see William Zabka turn this character around from being just another stereotypical villain. He's misunderstood and is trying to make up for the past.

This series has been well received by audiences and critics alike, receiving a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Cobra Kai is not a rehash of The Karate Kid and it also boasts a great young cast. This is a must-see show for all fans of the film.

Lisa's Score: 10/10

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