DATELINE: YouTube Returns LaRusso to Cobra Kai Saga
We were never a fan of the 1984 Rocky-style movie for karate kids, but did find its stars interesting. Ralph Maccio never recovered, and William Zabka (the blonde pretty boy bully) should have had a grand career.
Reboot and kick on high might be a good way to go. This is also more interesting than watching Leave it to Beaver cast as adults, a few years back. There is something both alarming and satisfying to see that the child is father to the adult.
We followed Zabka as the son of the Equalizer on the 1980s TV show and were sorry he never caught on.
Now we find the twosome reunited in a YouTube series about the characters LaRusso and Lawrence 35 years later. It is a hit, and it’s not hard to see why. These actors and their character are now fully developed with middle-age. They are interesting—and have an appeal to a generation that grew up and older too.
Not much has changed in terms of their mutual differences and dislike of the other.
It makes the rivalry more interesting. Of course, the obligatory teenagers are at the core of mentoring through karate teaching. Copious film clips to the original action highlights the tales, though Pat Morita can only appear in flashback.
The actors are wonderful: indeed the bad guy of yore, Zabka, is now refreshingly antihero—and Maccio continues to play the obtuse victim of his own life.
The series has been renewed for a second season, which is good news because this is funny, fast, and well-done, much of a surprise considering it comes from a new TV/internet network where expectations may not be high.