We live in an age of delayed, unlikely revivals.
Twin Peaks: The Return dropped 25 years after the original show’s cancellation. Blade Runner 2049 arrived in the world 35 years after Ridley Scott’s original came and went from theaters. Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought back the iconic franchise 32 years after the last installment, Return of The Jedi, and there were clearly no other Star Wars movies produced in between those two films. Anyone who tells you differently is a liar.
Which brings us to this new Karate Kid web series premiering this year on YouTube Red. Granted, there’s been a big pile of Karate Kid movies since the first one from 1984, but Ralph Macchio hasn’t returned to the titular role since 1989’s The Karate Kid Part III.
It’s tempting to roll your eyes at this attempt to revive a franchise that appeared to be past its expiration date during Bill Clinton’s first term and already underwent a semi-successful reboot treatment. But Variety indicates that this Karate Kid go-around might be telling a different kind of story.
In Cobra Kai, Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso starts the story as a fortysomething suburban dad/car salesman. So the stage is set for a grown-up series focused on a midlife crisis and the inevitable struggle to cope with lowered expectations, as opposed to, y’know, yet another thing about trying to win a karate tournament. In theory, Cobra Kai could pan out as an emotionally compelling, complex series….that will also include some awesome kicking and punching. Or it’ll just be another thing where Ralph Macchio has to win a karate tournament for some reason. That would also be fine.
If nothing else, maybe it’ll tide us over for a few years until Bill & Ted Face The Music finally comes out. Then we’ll have seen all of our childhood heroes as saggy, beaten down, weary old men, and our cycle of life will finally be complete.