‘The Karate Kid’ villain returns in YouTube Red series, ‘Cobra Kai’
Cobra Kai never dies.
It’s time to go back to the dojo with “Cobra Kai,” the latest sequel in the “Karate Kid” franchise.
No, not the one with Will Smith’s kid. This YouTube Red series sees William Zabka reprise his role as Johnny Lawrence from the 1984 original, in which he faced off against Daniel LaRusso, played by Ralph Macchio.
In the original movie, Johnny and his karate friends were either bullies to Daniel, who had moved to Los Angeles from Newark, or misguided by their teacher, or sensei, John Kreese, who ran the Cobra Kai dojo.
The new show is set 30 years after the events of the first movie, which ended with LaRusso defeating Lawrence at the All Valley Karate Tournament with a “crane technique,” taught to him by his teacher, Mr. Miyagi, portrayed by the late Pat Morita.
According to Internet Movie Database, Cobra Kai “focuses on Johnny Lawrence reopening the Cobra Kai dojo, which causes his rivalry with Daniel LaRusso to be reignited.”
In a trailer, Lawrence is heard echoing Kreese’s words from the original, “We do not train to be merciful here. Mercy is for the weak.”
He is also challenged by someone saying, “I just don’t know why you’d ever want to bring back Cobra Kai.”
It ends with LaRusso facing Lawrence, and proclaiming that they aren’t done.
In the series, Lawrence takes on a student. And contrary to the original movie’s famous “wax on, wax off” scene, he isn’t as particular about how things get done.
YouTube Red is a paid streaming subscription service. It currently costs $9.99 per month.
The series is expected to premiere later this year.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BCRittmeyer.