Thursday, September 08, 2022 | 10:30 p.m.
The fifth season of “Cobra Kai”, the series that takes up the characters of the “Karate Kid” trilogy more than three decades later, returns to Netflix tomorrow with a fifth season that promises to once again take advantage of the combination of fights from martial arts, “80s” nostalgia and a somewhat ridiculous tone that shouldn’t, but it works.
A villainous tycoon who wants to impose his worldview on a global level through his karate schools, a group of fifty-somethings who resolve every conflict with blows, and teenagers who are instantly brainwashed by exposure to the wrong martial arts philosophy could be the components of a parody.
However, in the contract proposed to the public by the creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, always seasoned with a good dose of evocations of the remembered film saga of the 80s, the story of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and his appears as an enjoyable escapist experience.
The plot revives and multiplies that of the films, in which karate and sports discipline are the arena in which young people are trained and take tools for the adult they will become.
If the sensei is ethical and well-intentioned, like Pat Morita’s Mr. Miyagi was in the 80s or his own apprentice today turned master in the current series, he or she will exploit his or her virtues. On the contrary, if the teachings spread lack of compassion and bravado, the student will tend to engage in bullying.
In addition to re-editing the love-hate dynamic between an elderly Daniel LaRusso and his opponent from that film, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), the series brought in a whole new generation of boys and girls who find in martial arts a way of expression.
The fifth season finds the story raised in two main subplots, that of adults and that of young people. The first, with the return of Macchio, Zabka and many other characters from the eighties movies, operates as “fan service” for larger audiences, who can see those characters again on screen, albeit with considerably more wrinkles. .
There appears John Kreese (Martin Kove), the evil founder of Cobra Kai and Daniel’s sworn enemy; Chozen (Yuji Okumoto), a former Okinawan rival and now comic relief ally of Macchio’s character, and Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan), a tough fighter who returns from “Karate Kid III: The Final Challenge” (1989).
Among the old acquaintances is also the great villain of this season, the millionaire Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), who returned to the saga after his only appearance in the third film to displace Kreese with a Machiavellian plan that consists of opening dojos of Cobra Kai throughout the world and thus infect the youth with their way of thinking – “Hit first, no mercy” -.
The pupils of both doctrines will defend their ideals on every occasion, almost like automated instruments, both in their daily lives and in tournaments for points, but always with commitment.
Among others, the adventures of Miguel Díaz (Xolo Maridueña), Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan), Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser), Hawk, (Jacob Bertrand), Demetri (Gianni Decenzo), Tory (Peyton List) or Kenny ( Dallas Dupree Young).
In 10 half-hour episodes, scarce to develop in depth dozens of individual plot arcs, all the characters, no matter how old they are, agree on one point: the problems, which are not lacking, are resolved with kicks.
There, between multiple well-choreographed action scenes and a little shy people who take karate perhaps too seriously, the season will lead to an entertaining denouement full of tensions between good and evil.