Strike first, strike hard — that seems to be the mantra for the first web series of 2021 from Netflix.
While the world is still struggling hard to cope with the Covid-induced pandemic, a good web series is all we need to stay indoors. Fortunately Cobra Kai Season 3 lives up to all the hype and expectations.
Cobra Kai is set 34 years after the original 1984 Karate Kid movie featuring William Zabka and Ralph Macchio, reprising their roles as Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso. Season 2 ended on a high with an epic climax karate fight sequence with Miguel Diaz played by Xolo Mariduena, the new all-valley champion getting injured and slipping into a coma. Kreese taking over Cobra Kai and Johnny Lawrence failing, it pretty much felt like an interval, wanting to know what happens next.
Season 3 starts slow, with multiple sub-plots, which adds both complexity and confusion. On the bright side, the episodes are not overly long, averaging 30+ minutes, the story quickly moves on. The rivalry between the dojos deepens, more friends turned foes and Kreese played by Martin Kove adds a lot of darkness.
In action dramas to make good storytelling, you need to have a strong antagonist, which probably the first 2 seasons lacked but season 3 triumphs. Further reading might have a few spoilers.
It has a lot of freshness in writing, as well as gave us plenty of nostalgia, diving deep into Mr Miyagi’s world, travelling to Okinawa and bringing back classic Karate Kid characters such as Kimiko, Chozen and Yuna. And it just doesn’t end there, as they were able to bring back Elisabethe Shue, reprising her role as Ali Mills for the final two episodes. All of them have brief, yet significant roles in the journey of Johnny Lawrence and Daniel Larusso, evolving their persona.
And that leaves us to the acting performances, with most actors sinking into their characters’ skin. Among the kids, Jacob Bertrand as Hawk stands out along with Miguel Diaz played by Xolo Mariduena. Martin Kove delivers a stellar performance as John Kreese. He succeeds in making you hate him. And William Zabka, he steals the show with his multifaceted role of a loser, failed dad to his own son, dispirited losing his dojo to Kreese , novice figuring out Facebook and behaving like a teen trying to impress childhood love Ali.
This season relied more on the emotional journey of characters, wishing there was a little more karate involved. The action could have been slightly better choreographed. But overall bingeing Cobra Kai Season 3 is worth your time for both new viewers and for the classic karate kid lovers.
Netflix has a win-win with this show and Season 4 is on. Johnny will need help from LaRusso to take on Cobra Kai and Kreese. Hope the makers have plenty of time to bring back more of the veterans from the classic and recreate Mr Miyagi’s world in modern times, while we all wait for the All Valley Tournament next season to see the kids fight fair.
By Pradipto Sengupta
Pradipto Sengupta has been associated with the movie industry for the last 14 years. From humble beginnings in a small town in Jharkhand India, Pradipto rose to the pinnacle of the animation industry, flexing his skills in various creative and technical roles. Currently a lead artist with DreamWorks Animation, LA Pradipto’s career highlights critically and commercially acclaimed movies including golden globe winner and academy award nominated How To Train Your Dragon 2, The Boss Baby along with Madagascar 3 and Abominable among many others.