Cobra Kai Never Dies

Juan Mendelez and Salvador Zamora, Staff Writer and Entertainment Editor

From the first minute, we were hooked. The hit Netflix series Cobra Kai took Netflix by storm by being in the #1 spot for three weeks and maintaining a spot on Netflix’s top ten list for weeks after it’s debut in August. Cobra Kai is the continuing story of the 1980’s trilogy The Karate Kid as it takes place thirty years later and focuses on the life of Johnny Lawrence, the bully of the first movie. To be honest, we both had mixed feelings for the series such as it not living up to the original or just straight ruining it for the modern audience. However, the show definitely did what most franchise resurrections fail to do, expand on the source material. 

Cobra Kai is a continuing story but it primarily follows the now seasoned adult Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) aka the “bully” from the original Karate Kid movie. So right away the series isn’t afraid to shy away from past perceptions but it must be applauded for doing it right. What exactly was Johnny’s point of view? Was Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) the “bully”?

Despite each episode consisting of 30 minutes or so, the pacing and the narrative is so good that it puts many long drawn out and sometimes filler shows to shame. While we could argue for more, the structure has proven to work over its two seasons so far. 

Johnny’s relationship and work with his students don’t feel rushed and neither does the development from the other characters as well. It may have been the work of Mr. Miyagi that the show could pull off something almost magical in a short time. And for those still unsure about the series, the choreography is improved significantly from the slow-paced and ironically cheesy 80s action style. Now if you want to talk about the 80s, Johnny Lawrence is definitely a man who lives in the past apart from his aggression for LaRusso, a lot of comedy comes from his fish out of the water and not politically correct experiences. Oh and the show is listed as a drama-comedy series and I believe Johnny is why. 

 Along with Johnny and the bully LaRusso (if you choose to see him that way), Martin Kove returns as the villainous sensei from Karate Kid and Karate Kid Part III. I’m definitely excited to see where his character goes in the upcoming season but the series has expanded upon him too as he could sometimes appear nice but struggle too. With development like that,  even someone like LaRusso isn’t the underdog kid but rather a successful and often flawed adult. Don’t worry though because the character isn’t ruined but kept into continuity from how he was portrayed in Karate Kid. Luckily someone like Disney didn’t just bring back a 30-year-old character and make them the opposite of what they stand for  So hats off to the writers that LaRusso is still the Karate Kid but more layered and developed.  

We asked Hayley Hernandez, a tenth grader who found the show quite enjoyable, about her thoughts on Cobra Kai. Hernandez said, “It was a good show, I like old-school movies so when they made Cobra Kai it was pretty cool”.  

Now this is the part that worries us: the “new faces.”  But while some feel like a mix of LaRusso and Johnny which is cool, they have their own story too; as a result of their parents which helps tie the whole theme of Karate Kid into Cobra Kai. The other stars of the show are  Xolo Mariduena as Miguel Diaz (Johnny’s star student), Mary Mouser as Samantha LaRusso (LaRusso’s daughter), Tanner Buchanan as Robby Keene (Johnny’s son,) and Jacob Bertrand as “Hawk”; a once bullied kid who really steals the show sometimes. Even Peyton List from Disney’s Jessie stars as Tory Nichols comes in season 2. She comes in during the “perfect moment”; there’s a lot of those series which is pretty much the only complaint as characters make bold decisions over things they see and take out of context. So it often gets annoying to the viewer. Besides that, that’s our only complaint but others thought of the show differently.      

With her favorite character being Miguel, a new and original character, Hernandez said, “The show adds on to the old one by continuing that same competition and tension between both teams except now it affects the kids and their experiences are wild.” 

 With great reviews like the 94% on Rotten Tomatoes the show holds, it’s hard to complain. The show tells a simple story in a very masterful way and kept impressing us with every episode. Even when we weren’t watching Cobra Kai, it kept us thinking about it, because who knows what will happen next. Also while watching the series, it carried a similar tone to Netflix’s  “On My Block” like the lighting and school setting. At least we’re kind of familiar, so for fans that like On My Block, this show is highly recommended. 

Hernandez said, “Overall the show is great because it’s action, comedy, and cute little romance so I’d definitely recommend it to a friend.” 

I have to agree but that “romance” or drama does leave you hooked to the show even more so than the action.

For a series that is based on an 80’s movie trilogy, it has some modern day drama and action and if you and your parents have seen the Karate Kid movies and loved them watch it you wouldn’t regret it, who knows you might even want to learn karate. Cobra Kai definitely deserved that number one spot. 

With all movies and shows being delayed, season three is not that far away because, on October 2nd, Netflix released a teaser trailer that not only gives the release date but confirms season four in development. Season three drops January 8th, 2021 on Netflix and I hope that you guys are excited for this awesome story to continue. And for those who haven’t seen the recent trailer, Chozen and Kumiko from Karate Kid Part II make their return which leaves the door open for fans to keep an eye out for unannounced original characters to return. 

The series is rated TV-14 for language, violence, and Johnny’s 1980s/old school banter.