Cobra Kai has surprisingly violent fight scenes in comparison to The Karate Kid series, but this is because of the themes the show dives into.
Cobra Kai‘s fight scenes are surprisingly violent, and there are a couple of reasons for why that is. The episodic continuation of The Karate Kid series will roll out its fourth season on Netflix later this year, while the overall series has made the Miyagiverse franchise as much of a cultural phenomenon as it’s ever been. Its also taken its story into harsher territory, particularly when it comes to the show’s martial arts fights.
For a series with a significant number of its characters being kids, Cobra Kai is a genuinely violent show with hard-hitting and at times even outright brutal fight scenes. The series builds up its intensity progressively, but the season 2 finale really showed how vicious its action scenes could get with the climactic school fight, which was akin to The Raid in a high school setting and culminated with Robby nearly killing Miguel by kicking him off of the school’s second-floor balcony. Season 3 kept ramping up the intensity of the action, to the point where some viewers began to ask if Cobra Kai‘s season 3 violence was starting to cross the line.
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Though Cobra Kai is quite edgy in its fight scenes, this is actually just a natural extension of the darker, more adult themes it has brought with it. The Karate Kid featured Daniel and Johnny as teenage rivals, and while it had its share of wince moments in its fights, the story was still being seen through the eyes of adolescents. Cobra Kai changes that up with Daniel and Johnny now adults passing their knowledge on to their young students, and while characters like Miguel, Robby, Samantha, and Tory are major pillars for the show, it’s the two returning veterans of The Karate Kid series who set the tone of the show and the more cynical perspective that their students follow.
Furthermore, Cobra Kai makes clear from the start that Johnny has never managed to let go of the bad blood between himself and Daniel, with Johnny’s envy of Daniel’s affluent adult life just adding fuel to the fire. Daniel had a much easier time moving on with his life simply because he was the victor, and because he was trained by a peaceful mentor, but his re-emerging feud in Cobra Kai with Johnny leads Daniel to begin retaliating in spiteful and even petty ways of his own. A rivalry that’s simmered for decades can only grow crueler when it begins in adolescence and seeps into adulthood, and with the return of John Kreese, along with Robby’s bitterness towards his estranged father Johnny, it can only go from bad to worse.
That certainly isn’t to say that The Karate Kid movies were weak in their fight scenes and general conflict, and The Karate Kid Part II even upped the stakes from the All-Valley Tournament to outright life and death battles. Nevertheless, Cobra Kai‘s action scenes are the most violent the franchise has ever created for the fact that, on an internal level, the show’s themes and story are more entrenched in darker and more ruthless territory than The Karate Kid ever was. In short, the action scenes of Cobra Kai take the gloves off simply because the show itself already had.
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