Thirty-four years ago The Karate Kid crane-kicked its way into the hearts of millions and became a critical and box office phenomenon. The film became so iconic that it spawned three sequels, a remake, and now a web series picking up more than three decades after the original film left off.
Cobra Kai is most notable for original stars Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso) and William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence) returning to the roles that launched them to stardom. Newcomers to the cast include Xolo Mariduena (Miguel Diaz), Mary Mouser (Samantha LaRusso), Courtney Henggeler (Amanda LaRusso), and Tanner Buchanan (Robby Keene).
The story begins with Johnny Lawrence, washed up and alcoholic, heading down a path of no return. When he witnesses a teenage boy (Mariduena) fall victim to a group of bullies, Lawrence re-ignites his old karate teachings to put the bullies in their place. After Miguel begs to be taught the art of self-defense, Lawrence decides to open his own karate dojo, named after the one he studied at in his youth.
This doesn’t sit well with his old rival, Daniel LaRusso, who has since started a family and opened a very successful chain of auto dealerships. Though at first Daniel seems somewhat amicable, the bitter rivalry re-ignites as Daniel tries to put a stop to the dojo that caused him so much anguish as a teen.
It is an understatement to say that the performances of Zabka and Macchio are perfect; one might even say Emmy-worthy. Zabka’s transformation into the down-on-his-luck Johnny is nothing short of spectacular. He makes the audience care about one of the most notorious antagonists of the 80s, even despite the fact that his character is as far as possible from being politically correct. Macchio himself is also astounding as Daniel LaRusso, displaying his struggles and inner-turmoil after the death of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi.
With a terrific cast and incredible writing by series creators Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Hot Tub Time Machine, Harold & Kumar), “Cobra Kai” is sure to delight fans old and new.