Cobra Kai season 1 review: A surprisingly great revival

Official still for Cobra Kai official teaser trailer 2; image courtesy of Cobra Kai.
Official still for Cobra Kai official teaser trailer 2; image courtesy of Cobra Kai. /

The sequel series to The Karate Kid, Cobra Kai, was one we thought was unnecessary. Thankfully, we were proven wrong. It’s actually great.

We currently live in one of the best eras of entertainment. When it comes to cinema and TV, there are a number of movies and TV shows to choose from. In certain cases, we feel some of these creators do run out of ideas, however. The perfect example (at least we thought) is Cobra Kai. Streaming exclusively on YouTube Red, we didn’t think this show was necessary. Some classics should be left untouched. Pertaining to this, The Karate Kid didn’t really need its story expanded on. Before watching this, we didn’t really have the highest expectations. Thankfully, we were wrong. Cobra Kai is awesome.

Before we dig in to it all, we’ll be discussing minor plot details. However, we won’t be going very heavy on the spoilers. We feel this is a great show and should be enjoyed by watching it completely unaware of what you’re about to see.

Taking place years after the events of The Karate Kid, this series follows Johnny Lawrence 34 years later. After losing to Daniel LaRusso in the finals of the All Valley Karate Championship, he hasn’t been able to bounce back. Ultimately, it’s a redemption story for this character and the series is much more interesting than we originally thought.

For once, we get to see Johnny’s side of the story. For so many years, we thought he was the main antagonist and the bully of the story. Once you see what he has gone through and learn his side of it, you definitely sympathize for him. Of course, it depends on how you look at the entire thing, but we can’t put ourselves in a position to say Daniel is a bad person either. Nonetheless, it’s still very interesting and it’s a story we didn’t think we would enjoy, until now.

On the other hand, Daniel is now a very successful businessman and family man. He owns a number of car dealerships and is married with two kids. He also still tries to hold those morals and values Mr. Miyagi taught him so long ago. Basically, he has it made and has nothing to complain about.

This haunts Johnny, though, especially since he hasn’t been able to bounce back from that defeat. This goes beyond karate now, it’s more about his current life situation. Everywhere he goes, he sees Daniel and it reminds him of most of his failures. It’s a very deep and engaging story.

This pushes Johnny to be better once he meets his neighbor, Miguel. He saves Miguel from a bunch of bullies in front of stop and shop and Miguel is very impressed. In fact, he’s so impressed that he asks him to train him karate. Initially, he’s reluctant, but eventually, he caves and decides to re-open the infamous Cobra Kai dojo. From there on out, things start to get even more intriguing. Of course, we’ll let you see how it all plays out.

Despite some of the seriousness and sadness of the series’ background and plot, most of it is pretty entertaining. There are various moments of heart, charm, and humor. In reality, once you start, you won’t be able to stop. It doesn’t help the first season is only 10 episodes, with each episode ranging between 25 to 36 minutes. Basically, it shouldn’t take you more than a few hours to binge the entire show.

As for the performances, everybody is great, especially Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. They reprise their roles in respectable fashion. The new cast members are also great. For example, Xolo Mariduena is great as Miguel. He simply wants to survive high school. He delivers a great and versatile performance.

There are some other standouts, such as Jacob Bertrand as Eli/Hawk, Tanner Buchanan as Robby Keene, and Mary Mouser as Samantha LaRusso.

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We highly recommend you give this series a shot. It’s extremely surprising and one of the best shows we’ve seen this year, by far. The ending definitely leaves it open for a second season. Based on the feedback, it would be a no-brainer for YouTube to pick it up once again. Please watch this.

Score: 9.5/10