Turning a successful movie into a TV adaptation is hard work. While TV series like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “M*A*S*H*” are prime examples of television adaptations that have expanded and even enhanced the original their films, there were also forgettable failures like “Dirty Dancing” (1998) and “Ferris Bueller” (1990). In case “Cobra Kai, ”Back for the fourth season on Netflix, we get to see a series that faithfully honors its roots while still managing to tell new and engaging stories through its two main characters, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel “Danny” LaRusso (Ralph Macchio).
“Cobra Kai” is an extension of the 1984 film, “The Karate Kid,” which tells the story of Danny LaRusso, a shy teenager who moves from New Jersey to Los Angeles and soon becomes the target of a golden boy. rich Johnny Lawrence, as the two vie for the affections of Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue). After Danny suffers a brutal fight from Johnny, who is part of the fearsome martial arts team Cobra Kai, Danny trains under the kind and wise Mr. Miyagi (the late Pat Morita) and eventually defeats Johnny in a battle. a climactic match at the All- Valley Karate Championship. “The Karate Kid” will see several sequels and a remake in 2010 starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.
“Cobra Kai” revisits the rivalry between Danny and Johnny (with Zabka and Macchio reprising their roles), but cleverly subdues viewer expectations by telling the story from Johnny’s point of view. 34 years later, life hasn’t been kind to Johnny – he’s a middle-aged man doing mundane jobs, in a controversial relationship with his teenage son Robby (Tanner Buchanan). After seeing Danny in an ad promoting his auto dealership, Johnny decides to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo, accepting next-door neighbor Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) as his first student. The old returns to the new, as Danny recruits his students to teach the lessons he has learned from Mr. Miyagi, recreating the similar rivalry between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do from the original film.
What “Cobra Kai” gets right is examining bullying and violence and how these traumas manifest in each character. Years later, we realize the bruises Danny and Johnny carry on their skin go deeper than their skin and shape the way they interact with each other and their loved ones. With Johnny, we understand that his abuse of Danny stems from his low self-esteem due to his mother’s abandonment and emotionally abusive stepfather. For Daniel, his low-middle-class upbringing pushed him to provide his wife, Amanda and their children with upper-class pitfalls he hadn’t experienced as a child. We also see these same themes reflected in the storylines of the younger cast. The love triangle between Daniel’s daughter Sam (Mary Mouser), Tory (Peyton List), Miguel, and Robby escalates into a violent rivalry that leads to Miguel being paralyzed at the end of Season 2. Sam and Tory’s conflict. shows that violence is not. ‘not exclusive to boys – women’s rage can be just as brutal and toxic.
Season 4 begins with Danny and Johnny combining their respective dojos to take down Johnny’s old Cobra Kai sensei, John Kreese. Kreese is determined to destroy Danny and Johnny, so he turns to his former partner, Terry Silver, one of the villains in “Karate Kid III”. What Cobra Kai has done very well, is pull in characters from previous films to push the story forward. For Danny, Silver is a painful reminder of how he turned down Miyagi’s upbringing and briefly joined the Cobra Kai. We also discovered that Kreese and Silver’s friendship was more than just meeting eyes.
This season also brings in a new talent in the form of Dallas Young Dupree, who plays Kenny, a bullied teenager who turns to Robby for help in self-defense. Dupree is brilliant in the role, and his part of the story serves as a cautionary tale about how easily the line between hero and villain can be blurred.
Change alliances and allegiances this season, as Danny and Johnny are forced to re-examine their fighting philosophies. Daniel, who has been unyielding in maintaining Miyagi’s defensive approach to karate, begins to realize that maybe it’s not the only way when Johnny challenges him by saying “just for one something that lasts longer doesn’t make it better.” Johnny also realizes that the “zero tolerance” approach taught to him by Kreese, doesn’t always work in his students’ favor. Johnny and Danny’s partnership is fraught with tension, fueled by past traumas they’ve inflicted on each other, and the screenwriters have wisely shown that reconciliation can be hard to come by and It certainly doesn’t happen overnight.
The climactic two-part finale culmins to an annual All-Valley championship, putting Johnny and Daniel’s beginner lessons to the test, as well as some unexpected victories and defeats that will put Johnny’s beginner to the test. The audience sat on the sidelines. There’s also a delicious betrayal that establishes new alliances and rivalry for Season 5. As Silver warns Kreese, “If we’re going to go back in time, history will repeat itself.”
“Cobra Kai” Season 4 is currently streaming on Netflix.
https://www.indiewire.com/2022/01/cobra-kai-review-season-4-netflix-1234688306/ ‘Cobra Kai’ Review: Season 4 Has Much To Do With ‘Karate Kid III’