It was announced yesterday that Youtube Red has recently greenlit a sequel series to the original eighties classic- The Karate Kid. The show has been dubbed Kobra Kai, and takes place 30 years after the events of the All Valley Karate Tournament. Original stars Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso) and William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence) are to reprise their roles as one of pop culture’s most renowned rivalries. The show will be written by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg. The series is set to debut sometime next year.
While not a child of the eighties, I grew up watching a lot of films from the time due to my mother- an actual eighties kid. There is some sentimental value in some of the films I’ve shared with my Mom- The Karate Kid being one of those special films. I was obsessed. I even owned a shirt with Daniel LaRusso on it, and wore it at least once a week until it fell apart completely (Because I cut the collar off and wore it off-shoulder in true eighties fashion).
It seems in the past couple of years, there has been a wave of reboots- capitalizing off of audiences obsession with Nostalgia. A few popular eighties films have been rebooted recently, but very few have lived up to their successors- which of course is a cause of concern for me.
I’m not sure how to feel about this Karate Kid sequel series. The past sequels to The Karate Kid weren’t cinematic masterpieces by any means, and I’m really wondering how the writers and director are planning on tackling the continuation of the films especially since a key element from the original is missing- Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi). Also, the original film was released 33 years ago- is this series too late or on par with the times? To top it all off, The Karate Kid has already been rebooted- you know that Kung Fu movie with Jayden Smith? Yeah…
According to Variety, the show is going to provide a comedic twist from Johnny and Daniel’s rivalry. While I think a comedic spin is good, I really do hope they stick to the tone of the first film and provide a platform to showcase the actors’ talent.
I’ll admit it- because of The Karate Kid and Crossroads, I developed a weird crush on Ralph Macchio for awhile and I made it a mission to watch nearly his entire filmography. It really made me sad that when I “discovered” him, his prime had occurred a couple decades before- and the young version I found myself pining over is long gone. I also was saddened by the fact that he could have had more longevity in the film industry- but oh how fickle is Hollywood. Over the past couple of years, he’s been largely absent from the big screen. I’m excited to see that he’ll be back in the mainstream again, even if it does- once again have to do with The Karate Kid. He has a guest role on James Franco’s upcoming HBO drama The Deuce, and is returning as officer Nick Conforth in Psych: The Movie. While I’m unsure about the sequel series, maybe it will bring the career revival I’ve been hoping for him to have.
Well, we’ll just have to see when the series comes out. Hopefully the creators do the original movies and the actors justice.
ADRIANA, THE CINEMA SOLOIST