Cobra Kai: The success of the series reveals what we all suspected of Karate Kid


Cobra Kai has become a rare and successful revival of a spectacular series that has endured over the years, respecting and passing on to new generations the legacy of its original story, The Karate Kid. In fact, Cobra Kai takes up the message intact after 34 years, when in the 80s the protagonist of Karate Kid, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) defeats his nemesis Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) in the All-Valley Karate Tournament . He achieves something that seemed impossible, adding several generations of fans who now number in the millions.

We know that the sequel to Karate Kid is already a success, that it had been developing long before its premiere on the Netflix platform. Cobra Kai accumulated 90 million views on YouTube when it premiered in 2018, although its true popularity is now getting. Despite pulling off such impressive stats back then, the belated continuation of the franchise remained relatively unnoticed for the two years it was streamed on YouTube Premium. It was then that what no one expected happened.

The real success came when Netflix had the good eye to acquire the rights to a popular Karate series based on a famous movie from the past, and turned it into a pop culture phenomenon. Cobra Kai has managed to occupy the first place in the global list of the streaming platform of the most watched programs in the world. Cobra Kai enchants fans of several generations, with a story of struggle and overcoming told by characters from the original story. and young talent. Embellished with nods to several memorable scenes from 1984, including skeleton Halloween costumes, balance routines, and of course, the famous “wax, wax” command.

Despite the death of Karate Kid’s most iconic character, long-remembered actor Pat Morita in 2005, who received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Daniel’s eternally wise sensei, Mr. Miyagi remains a strong if ghostly presence. There are also returns for Daniel’s nosy mother Lucille (Randee Heller), sadistic coach John Kreese (Martin Kove) and, for one particularly poignant season two episode, an appearance by three members of Johnny’s old team.

Cobra Kai is much more nuanced than The Karate Kid when it comes to determining who the real bad guy is this time around, if there is one. Presenting characters far from the black and white of the past, with the main roles in totally opposite circumstances. Daniel owns a successful car dealership, lives well in a fancy mansion. Meanwhile, Johnny is a drunk and indolent father, living in a dilapidated apartment whose litany of regrets is etched on his face.

To be sure, Cobra Kai began in a similar way to the original release of The Karate Kid. In its time the film never reached number 4 at the box office, but it still spent 18 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 with an income of $100 million. With all this explanation and with at least six seasons projected for Cobra Kai and spin-offs, let’s hope the creators remember Mr. Miyagi’s words: Trust the quality of what you know, not the quantity.