• Derek W Gardiner

TV Review: Cobra Kai


Netflix

By Derek W Gardiner

The latest Netflix craze, Cobra Kai is one that is very much deserving of all the praise is it getting, it is like stepping back in time to a pre-woke age when entertainment was good and didn't care much about the genders or sexualities of the characters involved.


Up until a few weeks ago, I had never even seen the original Karate Kid or its sequels, I had only ever seen the Jackie Chan remake that came out when I was 13 but the original Karate Kid is a must-watch for before you start watching Cobra Kai. The film introduces a teenager named Daniel LaRusso, who is struggling to get by in a new neighbourhood, who develops a rivalry with the film's antagonist Johnny Lawrence, the son of a rich family, which erupts into violence, Daniel's maintenance man, Mr Miyagi teaches him an ancient Okinawan style of karate and he challenges Johnny to a fight at the All Valley Karate tournament and prevails.


By the time of Cobra Kai 35 years later the roles have been reversed Johnny is now the "down on his luck" protagonist who has just lost his job and so decides to reopen his old karate dojo, Cobra Kai, to help out a schoolkid called Miguel defeat the bullies at his school with predictable results. However, his efforts are thwarted by a now grown-up Daniel LaRusso who tries various means of having the dojo closed down due to his distrust of Johnny and eventually opens a rival dojo named after his now-deceased mentor, Mr Miyagi.


The series is a breath of fresh air in the modern entertainment industry because it does not pander to any particular agenda. Johnny Lawrence is by all accounts someone who the woke progressives would hate, he speaks his mind, calls people names and mocks them to their faces, he initially doesn't even allow girls to join the dojo until his student Miguel talks him into it. He is also a likeable character, with great taste in music, who eventually takes the Cobra Kai dojo away from its old "no mercy" approach to a more reasonable one.


There are no Mary Sue characters and no references to "toxic masculinity" both the male and the female characters have their own struggles and obstacles to overcome. The main female character, Daniels daughter Sam, is not automatically far better than her dad just because she's a girl but has to learn through time and effort just like everyone else. And that is what makes these characters likeable and relatable, the fact that they are not perfect and face the same everyday challenges that anyone else would.


Over the past five or so years the entertainment industry has been taken over and destroyed by political correctness. Characters such as Star Wars' Rey and Star Trek's Michael Burnham have been completely unsympathetic protagonists who have everything handed to them on a plate and never have to face any hardship or any obstacles they can't overcome, the writing has also become terrible failing to inspire anyone or open minds to new possibilities.


Most people, either male or female, can identify with a protagonist in a strange world who has to fight their way towards achieving something and it makes the world of the film or TV show interesting to explore through that person's eyes. Until the entertainment industry returns to this sort of narrative then it is doomed to irrelevance in people's lives.