Thirty-three years ago, in playgrounds and living rooms across the nation, kids were balancing on one leg and trying to kick with the other. This awkward pose was an attempt to emulate one of the greatest underdog moments in movie history: Daniel LaRusso's crane technique against Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid.
It's a story about a boy who gets bullied at a new school, and then forms a bond with a handyman who teaches karate. The Karate Kid spoke to the underdog in all of us. Now YouTube Red is looking to bank on that nostalgia, bringing two classic characters — Daniel LaRusso (#RalphMacchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) — back to the tournament with a series titled Cobra Kai.
'Cobra Kai' Picks Up 30 Years After 'The Karate Kid'
It will be a 10-part comedy series that will explore what happened 30 years after the famous duel at the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament. LaRusso will be looking to regain balance in his life after the death of his friend and mentor Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita, who passed away in 2005). Whereas Lawrence, who just couldn't get over the fact that he lost to some two-bit karate hack, decides to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo, which was previously owned by Mr. No Mercy himself, sensei John Kreese. Both main characters will face their struggles and use karate to help them overcome obstacles.
#YouTubeRed won the bid for #CobraKai over its streaming counterparts, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and AMC. The writers attached to the 10-episode series include Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine) and Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold and Kumar). Hurwitz and Schlossberg are said to direct several of the episodes.
Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment is slated to produce the series. His son Jaden Smith starred with Jackie Chan in the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid (in which Jaden really learned kung fu, but that's an argument for another day).
Why A Comedy Series Based On 'The Karate Kid'?
Some fans of The Karate Kid are already annoyed by the idea of turning one of their favorite movies from the 1980s into a comedy. But where else do you go with it? In The Karate Kid II, LaRusso traveled to Okinawa to defend Mr. Miyagi's honor in a duel to the death — which ended in a honk on the nose and nobody died. Then, several years later in The Karate Kid III, LaRusso was goaded by John Kreese and his war buddy Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) to defend his title against karate's bad boy Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan). The crazy idea behind the plot was to make LaRusso lose just so Kreese could get people into his Cobra Kai dojo again.
Beneath the David and Goliath underdog story — both Rocky and The Karate Kid were directed by the late John G. Avildsen — is humor and silliness. The idea of a kid learning karate in several weeks, by doing repetitive household chores, is absurd. Just watching LaRusso defeat Lawrence with one slight kick of his foot (no matter how much we cheered for LaRusso) has been mocked ever since. In a recent parody on SNL, #JohnCena made fun of this moment:
With all of the gritty 1980s reboots like Miami Vice lately, it only makes sense for The Karate Kid to turn towards comedy. Heald, Hurwitz and Schlossberg told the Hollywood Reporter:
"Like everyone who grew up in the 1980s, the three of us are enormous fans of The Karate Kid. Cobra Kai will be a true continuation of the original films — packed with comedy, heart and thrilling fight scenes. We can’t wait to reignite the LaRusso-Lawrence rivalry..."
They know the movie has so much meaning to a certain generation of fans. The writers will do their best to keep the core of what we enjoyed the first time we saw The Karate Kid in theaters. What better way to let those who grew up with this movie share it with their children? Old fans get to see how the lives of their beloved characters have changed, and a new generation of fans get to watch it on YouTube.
Who knows, maybe we will all cheer and laugh while watching an aging LaRusso try to feebly stretch his leg an attempt to reprise the famous crane technique in a rematch against Lawrence.
Are you excited for Cobra Kai? Sound off in the comments below!
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)