Cobra Kai series review: In this chaotic world, it has been a tendency of humans to put others in some bracket or the other. But judging the world with the binary system of good and evil is a flawed concept. Except for those who aren’t humans, every ‘good’ person has a trace of evil and vice-versa. However, the majority of Hollywood directors have missed this nuanced approach. But the action-packed roller-coaster ride ‘Cobra Kai’ is the perfect example of reality driven cinema and here you can read the review of the series.
Impeccable Homage to ‘The Karate Kid’
In 1984, the American martial arts drama film ‘The Karate Kid’ stormed the theatres and took the audience by surprise. It was well received by global audience and its success inspired the makers to turn it into a franchise. Cut to May 2018, YouTube released the 10-episode series, ‘Cobra Kai’ with the same star cast on its Premium platform.
The makers have released five seasons of Cobra Kai each having 10 episodes. After airing two seasons, Netflix bought the copyrights of the series from YouTube and cashed in on the series success.
The series picks up after a time gap of 34 years. It chronicles the bitter sweet rivalry of the two archnemesis Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso. It has beautifully blended the key elements and highs of its prequel movie, ‘The Karate Kid’, thus doing absolute Justice with it.
The audience get to see a fresh perspective. Evidently, the director has left it open to the audience to decide for themselves who is the good guy and who is the antagonist of the series.
Blurring the lines of Antagonist and Protagonist
Irrespective of how Hollywood has been portraying the protagonist and antagonists, Cobra Kai makes a perfect case that this world is full of greys. Today’s hero can be tomorrow’s villain based on the circumstances that are thrown at them.
The director has remarkably displayed the character transformation and completely draws the audience in the act. The audience find it hard to categorise the actors as the hero or the villain as the pendulum of righteousness keeps changing hands. This breaks the monotonous rhythm of the cliché story in which goodness oozes from the main lead. In those redundant stories, the lead single-handed thrashes the villains that completely takes the risk of danger and excitement of fight scenes off the table.
Additionally, the director has beautifully played with the characters giving them multiple shades and depth to each and every character arc.
The movie is full of many unmissable plot lines and life lessons, but here are a few honourable mentions that stood out.
Firstly, Johnny Lawrence played by William Zabka, the negative guy from the original film has turned out to be the darling of the audience. From being a bully and lonely person, Johnny comes out as a reformed guy. He finds a purpose in training young kids and in the way becomes the true flagbearer of Karate. By season 5, he has everything going his way and has completely redeemed himself.
Secondly, Daniel LaRusso played by Ralph Macchio, the ‘good’ guy from the original film comes out with his own share of negatives. Many times, he is a boastful, arrogant and mean guy who keeps trying to look down on others but mends his ways quickly. His character arc jumps back and forth but, in the end, had a positive influence on everyone. Throughout the series, he tries to do justice with the teachings of his Sensei, Mr Miyagi.
But the most glaring character transformation and director’s favourite fiddle is Eli Moskowitz. His character arc has moved from a meek guy who is bullied by others to himself becoming a violent bully. By the end of Season 4, he traces a full circle and returns to being a nice guy who realises that the real essence of karate is defence rather than ruthless and blind aggression.
All these things clicked among the audience because of the skilful play by the director. The director smartly avoided needless meddling with the character arcs of every actor. For instance, there are several actors like John Kreese and Terry Silver who have remained virtually the same throughout the 5 seasons with mere deviations here and there.
The directorial team has to be given credit for pulling such a masterpieces series that too for 5 seasons straight. Cobra Kai has everything from humour, emotions, romance to action packed drama and unique and fresh choreography for all karate fights. It is a perfect tribute to the Original Film ‘The Karate Kid’, to ‘Karate’ and realism of this world that it should not be seen through binary lenses. Here we end Cobra Kai series review and do not forget to subscribe.
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