Is Daniel Larusso Really The Bad Guy On Netflix’s ‘Cobra Kai’?
It's all everyone is talking about - 'Cobra Kai' on Netflix. And you should be watching.
It's just good solid, semi-cheesy, heartfelt, nostalgic, redemptive story-telling. Not being a nostalgic kinda guy, I love this show.
For the uninitiated, the new ‘Cobra Kai’ TV show is ripped from the scripts of first three 'Karate Kid' movies. This includes flashbacks from the movies from footage never seen. Including angles from famous scenes, making it familiar - yet fresh.
It’s not a spin off, a movie or a sequel. It’s a TV series (around 30 mins each episode) that picks up 34 years later after Johnny (the presumed antagonist or “bad guy”), gets kicked in the face by the protagonist (the presumed good guy) Daniel Larusso.
Over the years, their roles have switched – Daniel is now living the good life. Johnny is down on his luck and drinks way too much. This time around, the story is told from Johnny’s perspective. And it’s very compelling.
It’s full of conflict, both personal, physical and emotional. It’s a complicated redemption story – and it’s done very well.
But that’s not the full story. There is a solid theory that Daniel Larusso, is actually the bad guy in the ‘Karate Kid’ movies and in ‘Cobra Kai’.
I have heard this theory for a few years now. Daniel is the bully in the Karate Kid movies? And Johnny is the good guy? It’s not that simple. Both characters have flaws. In the 80’s, we were used to our characters being black and white. Morally correct and incorrect with no grey area. And that is on full display in ‘Cobra Kai’.
See if this makes sense. In the original ‘Karate Kid’ movie, Daniel was a kid who moved to Cali from Jersey because he was fighting all the time. The first thing he does after arriving in So Cal? He starts fighting and antagonizing others. Him and Johnny conflict on the beach over Daniel trying to sway Johnny’s very recent ex-girl friend. Daniel provokes and sucker punches Johnny. Johnny could have laid into Daniel on the beach, but instead he knocks him to the ground and leaves.
Daniel antagonizes Johnny throughout the movie. Including a random unprovoked dousing of Johnny with water in the bathroom.
Daniel then further harasses Johnny around town and school knowing Johnny cannot “touch” Daniel due to an upcoming fight. In all, Johnny is not innocent, but he doesn’t deserve the bad guy moniker his character now owns. There are a ton of videos on this theory and they actually make sense. To be clear, the videos do have a certain amount of sarcasm to them, but it is an interesting theory.
Now, to be clear there is culpability on both sides.
In the new ‘Cobra Kai’ series on Netflix, Daniel’s provoking is on full display throughout the show. Johnny's temper and short comings are evident as well.
When you pay attention closely, you see it. Johnny’s got a good heart. He just can’t communicate it.
I all in. 'Cobra Kai' on Netflix is a must watch.
It's the right amount of cheese, nostalgia, regret and redemption.
I can't wait for Season 3 to
All My Best,