‘Cobra Kai’ trailer remembers an important thing about ‘The Karate Kid’

So YouTube Red released the final trailer yesterday for the long-discussed 10-part “Karate Kid” sequel “Cobra Kai.” Here is the trailer:

So, a couple of things:

* This looks like a decent titration of the original’s action and heart with a dollop of self-aware humor. 

* If you watched movies at all in the 1980s, it was kind of impossible to avoid William Zabka and kind of impossible not to feel a little sorry for the guy. Between the Karate Kid pictures, “Just One of the Guys” and “Back to School,” dude was LOCKED into blonde California-jerk roles. (He is, by all reports, an exceptionally nice guy.)

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* Most importantly, the trailer leans in to the idea that Daniel is a jerk.

* Rewatch “The Karate Kid.” Daniel’s a jerk. He is human jerky dipped in jerk sauce. The chip on his shoulder is enormous and he is everything California natives find eye-rolling about arrogant East Coasters. 

Daniel instigates most of the fights. His role at the beach is weird and creepy (even if Johnny’s harassy behavior to his ex is absolutely and decidedly Not OK). While Johnny and the other Kai were in no way justified in running Daniel off the road, Daniel’s dousing of Johnny at the Halloween party was completely unprovoked. 

After he and Miyagi vist the Cobra Kai dojo, the sensei there, the slightly nutso John Kreese, declares that Daniel is off-limits, no Cobra can touch him until the tournament. Daniel then spends much of the time between then and the tournament bugging Johnny, who does nothing.

And remember, Kreese ORDERS Johnny to sweep Daniel’s leg -- Johnny is initially reluctant. Kreese, an adult who should know better, goads him into it. As we all know, Johnny ultimately walking into the crane kick and loses huge.  (A rather extreme version of this whole pro-Johnny view can be found here.)

* Ahem

* in this trailer, it’s clear Johnny is a bit of a mess and it doesn’t help that he can’t avoid Daniel, who has become a successful car dealer. When Johnny flattens some guys bullying a kid, he finds himself in a Miyagi role to his new student and reopens Cobra Kai, much to Daniel’s slightly-baffling disgust. It seems like Daniel just cannot leave well enough alone. 

“He thinks he can bring Cobra Kai back to the Valley,” Daniel says. “Not on my watch,” DUDE, DO YOU EVEN HEAR YOURSELF RIGHT NOW?

* This series could go a whole host of ways and the potential for telling an interesting, funny, emotionally complex story about middle age is high. Will it conclude with Daniel realizing why whiny jerk he could be in high school? Will Johnny temper the sketchy role modeling that Kreese gave him now that Johnny has reopened the dojo? Will guns and gun culture play a part in this? It would be great to see some of the other Cobra Kai, especially Tommy (played by Rob Garrison), the “Get ‘im a body bag! YEEAAH” guy.

* No mercy.

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