Cobra Kai Redeemed The Right Karate Kid Villains
Cobra Kai redeemed three of the five villains Daniel LaRusso faced in the Karate Kid movies, and all three arcs worked. Given that reboots sometimes try to ignore the sequels that did not work as well as the original installment, it seemed possible that Cobra Kai would focus only on the events of The Karate Kid. However, starting with Cobra Kai season 3, characters and events from both The Karate Kid Part II and The Karate Kid Part III were incorporated into Cobra Kai – including all of the films’ villains.
Cobra Kai season 1 expanded on the “what if Daniel LaRusso was the villain all along” debate by having Johnny Lawrence as the main character. While Daniel is a huge part of Cobra Kai, the show is mostly told through Johnny’s point of view, which made Johnny’s redemption almost instantaneous. After what Cobra Kai season 1 did with Johnny, it was a natural move for former antagonists like Chozen and Mike Barnes to also be redeemed. Compared to John Kreese and Terry Silver, Cobra Kai redeemed the right villains.
Johnny, Chozen, & Mike Barnes Were Just Kids
As high-stakes as the Karate Kid movies appeared to be at the time, the villains who Daniel LaRusso faced were still kids. Johnny was a bully despite the alternate version of the Karate Kid events that he told to Miguel in Cobra Kai season 1, yet the real villain of Karate Kid was always John Kreese. Kreese was the one who made the “Strike first, strike hard, no mercy” motto defines the Cobra Kai dojo and its students, not to mention that Kreese asked Johnny to fight unfairly at the All Valley tournament. Cobra Kai did a lot to redeem Johnny, but the Karate Kid’s ending had already shown that Kreese was the villain.
Likewise, Chozen in The Karate Kid Part II was trying to fight for his honor in an effort to impress his sensei Sato. Cobra Kai revealed how ashamed Chozen was after his fight with Daniel, which works for how the character was written in the movie. Chozen misunderstood what it meant to be strong, a lesson he taught Tory in Cobra Kai season 5. Similarly, Mike Barnes also made some wrong decisions, especially accepting a role as Terry Silver’s henchman. However, as Cobra Kai season 5 proved, it can be all too easy for someone to be manipulated by Cobra Kai’s founder Terry Silver.
Will Cobra Kai Redeem Terry Silver & John Kreese?
Cobra Kai’s versions of Johnny, Chozen, and Mike Barnes are far from the villains they were in the Karate Kid movies. When it comes to Kreese and Terry Silver, however, redemption arcs have yet to happen. Given that Kreese and Silver truly believe that their Cobra Kai way is the right way, it is no surprise that both characters continue to be as villainous as they were in The Karate Kid and The Karate Kid Part III. Still, Cobra Kai has made sure that neither Kreese nor Silver feels like two-dimensional characters, which is why redemption shouldn’t be off the cards for the villains ahead of Cobra Kai season 6.