By Monte Perez: @MonteJp231
Growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s there were certain movies that teenagers would watch repeatedly on HBO. Sixteen Candles, Dirty Dancing, The Princess Bride, and The Karate Kid were all on that list. One of the things that always bothered me about the Karate Kid was Daniel LaRusso’s character. Even though LaRusso always won his fights at the end of each movie, he was always afraid and timid. He was winning tournaments and yet he never had confidence or the “Eye of the Tiger.”
Cobra Kai starts with a downtrodden Johnny Lawrence. The No.1 student of the infamous dojo lives in a small apartment, has a menial job and quite the drinking problem. All the changes one night when his car gets towed to LaRusso Motors, owned by Daniel LaRusso. From the moment they see each other, the rivalry, bitterness, and anger, never left them, 34 years later.
Ralph Macchio’s is doing the best acting of his career. His wife, played by Courtney Henggeler, does a tremendous job of trying to make sure her husband has a balance of running a dojo, teaching students and building his car dealership. There on screen chemistry is magical.
Every time I watched the original Karate Kid, I despised Lawrence more and more with each viewing. But William Zabka’s character is very likeable and relatable. Like in the movie Terminator II, Johnny is kinder, and gentler.
- Xolo Mariudena plays Miguel Diaz, Cobra Kai’s first and best student under Sensei Lawrence. His Character has honor and respect. He keeps the rest of the students in check and for the most part, tries to help Johnny be a better teacher and man.
- Jacob Bertrand plays Hawk. He is 2nd in line at Cobra Kai and he plays the perfect villain in almost every scene.
- Mary Mouser is the LaRusso’s daughter. She is not only likeable but has a toughness Daniel never had.
- Tanner Buchanan is Johnny’s estranged son, Robby Keene, but trains under Miyagi-Do Karate. Robby has had a troubled past but is trying to do the right thing.
I watched Cobra Kai on Netflix, All 20 episodes, in a weekend. I came for the nostalgia, I stayed because of the acting, story line and fight scenes. This is not your 1980’s movie. It is filled with compelling stories, drama, and intensity. The Flashbacks are well thought out and the two men, despite living total separate lives. are fighting the demons of their youth.
Watch Cobra Kai as soon as possible. It is fun and will leave you with a ton of emotions. Unlike the first movie, you will wind up rooting for both men. I can’t wait for Season 3,4,5 and so on.
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