Kevin: Although it was released last week, we at Tough Guy Digest are just getting around to watching the teaser trailer for the upcoming “Cobra Kai” series that again pits Ralph Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso character against his old high school nemesis Johnny Lawrence 30 years after they faced off in the original “Karate Kid.” I wish I could say that we had more important things going on, but frankly we are still not that excited about watching a series about two middle-aged guys who peaked in high school:
“I just don’t know why you’d ever want to bring back Cobra Kai,” says an older Daniel, although he could also be speaking for me as well about this update, because seriously why should he or anyone else care? According to the synopsis for the series, Daniel runs a successful car dealership, but the fact that he never left the Valley and seems way too concerned about some loser from his high school trying to relive his glory days indicates that Daniel doesn’t exactly have a whole lot going on in his life as well. And what is he so worried about? From the tone of the trailer you would think reopening one strip-mall dojo is the first step in turning Encino into a paramilitary police state.
Now there is one part of the trailer that intrigues me, and it’s the brief glimpse at the 0:07 mark of a newspaper clipping headlined “Local Valley Champ Defends Title Against Karate’s Bad Boy.” Obviously that’s a reference to the events of “Karate Kid III,” which ended with Daniel delivering another black eye to the Cobra Kai franchise by defeating the heavily favored Mike Barnes, thus cementing himself as the absolute worst two-time All-Valley karate champion in history. I’m not sure why the headline doesn’t focus on Daniel’s actual victory in that match, but either way this brief callback gives me hope that we’ll finally get some resolution on far more pressing questions regarding the “Karate Kid” franchise, such as:
- What happened to plutonium-dumping billionaire Terry Silver, who is treated as a villain in “Karate Kid III” even though TGD has definitively shown that he is actually the greatest friend anyone could ever hope to have? Apparently he was bankrolling the Cobra Kai franchise from the beginning, and he completely drops everything to help his old Vietnam War buddy John Kreese get revenge on a 17-year-old who embarrassed him in an amateur karate tournament. Silver was also opening up multiple Cobra Kai dojos across California as part of his diabolical plan, so what happened to those? The fact that he didn’t just murder Daniel and Miyagi and bury them in a plutonium dump is surprising, so I can’t see him just giving up because of one loss in the All-Valley tournament.
- Is Silver supplying the funds for Johnny to open up this new Cobra Kai dojo? If so, that would cement his status as the most generous and caring human being of all time. Or did he finally get indicted by the government for dumping chloride sludge in Borneo?
- Did Kreese descend back into alcoholism? And again, as with Silver, why do we hate John Kreese again? We learn in “Karate Kid III” that he was a badass Army karate champion in the Vietnam War, and whatever anger issues he’s dealing with likely stem from some form of PTSD. Yet he’s completely vilified and loses everything he cares about in “The Karate Kid,” but he cleans himself up and finds a reason to keep going thanks to the help of a loyal friend in “Karate Kid III.” Honestly you could easily make the case that his story is actually pretty inspirational if he wasn’t set up as a bad guy. Either way, did he at least get that three-way Terry set up for him in Tahiti?
- Did Jessica, the potential love interest who puts Daniel into the friend zone almost immediately in “Karate Kid III,” find true love with the ex who cheated on her back in Ohio? And how many friend requests from Daniel has she had to ignore on Facebook before he gets the hint?
- Speaking of Daniel’s lousy track record with the ladies, did Kumiko from “Karate Kid II” ever find fame as a dancer in Tokyo, or was that just a bullshit excuse she offered after getting to know Daniel better?
- When did Uncle Lou finally succumb to his brave battle against emphysema?
- Did the local paper ever get a decent reporter, rather than the person who writes articles like “Mystery Dojo with Single Student Defangs Cobras” that are actually about residential tax laws for some reason?
- Is Snake still rocking the “gold-chain-over-the-shirt” look with his wardrobe to this day?
At least one answer that the “Cobra Kai” footage can offer is whether Daniel ever aged, since the first and third “Karate Kid” films were separated by five years, yet Daniel was still supposed to be 17 years old even though Ralph Macchio was approaching 30 by the end. But while the chance to see an older and wiser Daniel sell Honda Fits to couples in the Valley still doesn’t fill me with excitement, I will still tune in to “Cobra Kai” just on the off chance we get to see our favorite lovable war criminals together again: