‘Cobra Kai’ Review: ‘Karate Kid’ Sequel Series Is Still the Best at Channeling That ‘80s Machismo

IndieWire | 4/24/2019 | Staff
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“Cobra Kai” burst through the YouTube Premium offerings to become the paid streaming service’s first true breakout hit, with its first episode – which was offered for free – garnering over 60 million views. The sequel series to 1984’s “Karate Kid” somehow did the impossible, bringing back two of the film’s main characters 30-odd years later and recapturing the energy and heart of ‘80s underdog cinema.

Now “Cobra Kai” is back for a second round in the YouTube dojo to deliver another swift kick of ‘80s nostalgia in all of its blustering and boisterous glory. Appealing to aging Gen-Xers and their kids alike, this multi-generational crowd pleaser continues to explore themes of redemption, forgiveness, mentorship, and acceptance with confidence but not an ounce of subtlety. And that’s OK. It’s this simplicity that is part of its earnest appeal, and creators Josh Heald (“Hot Tub Time Machine”) and duo Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (“Harold and Kumar”) save the series from self-seriousness with their considerable comedic savvy.

Series - Cliffhanger - Season - Sensei - John

The series picks up directly with the cliffhanger from last season, when the original battle-hardened sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove) shows up at the Cobra Kai dojo that’s been resurrected by his old student Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). Fresh from a victory over childhood rival Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and his protege at the All-Valley Karate Tournament, Johnny intends to usher his own students toward a more ethical way of karate to make up for the brutal ways he learned from Kreese.

As Johnny struggles with entering the 21 century – both technologically and socially – Daniel is realizing that he’s not a natural teacher like his mentor, the late Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). Nevertheless, he’s determined to get his Miyagi-Do Karate dojo up and running to take on Cobra Kai. If only he didn’t feel like...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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