Cobra Kai: The Rise
December 31, 2021 6:19 AM - Season 4 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Faced with a common enemy, Daniel and Johnny decide to start working together while Kreese looks to the past for a new ally of his own.
posted by box (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm cautiously optimistic. Part of me wants to ration the season out, but I'm almost certainly going to binge this.

Sick burn by Robbie on Samantha, "Well, then it looks like I get to be the first person to ever tell you this - you're not getting what you want."

The majority of the young actors' IMDB headshots have them look mature, but they're still plausibly highschool-senior-looking on screen. Mary Mouser (Samantha Russo) is 25(!) and Tanner Buchanan (Robby) is 23 but they both still pass as teens on screen to my eyes.

I wonder how much direction the younger actors got about physical training to remain plausibly pre-20's-looking (not to overly bulk, and if gaining not to get too cut to keep the "baby fat" look - whereas the more slender ones not to gain and get more cut (Gianni DeCenzo [Demetri] and Jacob Bertrand [Hawk] come to mind, but they're both younger at ~20))?

The Kreese/ Silver stuff feels tacked on; the Vietnam war ended in 1975, almost 47 years ago. I have no idea what Teh Youngs would even think about those bits. That was all before even I was born and, iirc, a lot of anti Vietnam war veterans stuff was internal propaganda and vets weren't routinely being spat on by "anti war liberals" at all, and those anti-vet sentiments arose way after the fact when indigent/ cons started falsely using "I'm a Vietnam vet!" as part of their patter.

'The Karate Kid' premiered in 1984 - almost 38 years ago.

Am still liking the Johnny/ Daniel thing even though they're supposed to be solidly in their mid 50s. Men-children. Towards an extreme.
posted by porpoise at 5:49 PM on December 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

This could be just called "Daddy Issues" as a tagline.

I'm midway through, and the Silver/Kreese vibe is giving me life - that with the 80s throwback films and music war, this is very much not about the actual Vietnam War but the 80s version of the war in propaganda. I'm so glad they went with Anthony being a bully. That streak of rage and entitlement in Sam going toxic and unnoticed by Daniel's optimism, lovely.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:03 PM on December 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm about halfway through, and I'm liking the season so far. I thought the third season was a little weak and focused too much on the teen drama -- this show is at its strongest when it's about shitty yet lovable man-children working through their bizarre midlife crises.

I like that the show has gone all in on the absurdity of a modern-day community suddenly resurrecting its 80s obsession with karate, together with all of their dormant karate beefs.

This has consistently been my favourite modern sequel to a classic franchise, because it hits just the right balance between drama and comedy and has figured out how to do something different and fun in the same universe.
posted by confluency at 3:29 AM on January 1, 2022 [5 favorites]

This could be just called "Daddy Issues" as a tagline.

Feels like that’s the state of a lot of these revived series these days. The Star Wars sequel trilogy was practically all about the failure of the older generation and how demystifying their indoctrination over the youth. (Feels like many other shows, from the new Matrix to the new Spider-Man do similar introspective franchise navel-gazing.) I’ve said that this show does a much better job of exploring the consequences of dynastic struggles on the young.

I just started this season, but the storyline with Kenny also really remind me of the Star Wars narrative of the persecuted seeking power and in doing so becoming seduced into the Dark Side. But a lot more human and less based on magic.

It’s interesting how they’re also giving Amanda more of a role too, agency and motivation beyond cleaning up Daniel’s messes.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:17 PM on January 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

I liked this overall. One of the strengths of this show is that it refuses to cast the main characters, particularly the kids, as "bad" or "good." We see the "good" kids being bad and get color on what the "bad" kids are actually struggling with. There are a ton of characters at this point, and so some get lost a bit.

I never tire of Johnny not knowing modern tech.
posted by jeoc at 7:22 AM on January 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

This show does a better job of portraying dysfunctional family dynamics in a thoughtful and nuanced way than a lot of Very Serious Drama which is not about karate grudges.

I have now finished the season -- overall I thought it was pretty good. I've seen reviews that rate it lower than the third season, which I think is weird, but there's no accounting for taste.

I do like that they have made Amanda a more complex character -- I loathe the archetype of wife-as-straight-woman-scold, and they seem to be avoiding that trope. In general all the parents in this show are messed up (except Maria) -- Amanda doesn't seem to be very effective at curtailing her daughter's shitty behaviour even after seeing it happen right in front of her.

I also genuinely enjoyed the interestingly choreographed and suspenseful karate championship finale, despite not actually being that into any of the original movies.
posted by confluency at 11:38 AM on January 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Last thought: I totally agree about the lack of clear-cut good/bad guys, and this (together with the large cast of characters) enhances the karate competition aspect of the show. You actually don't know who is going to win.
posted by confluency at 2:23 PM on January 2, 2022

(Last last thought: "Maria" was a complete brain fart; I meant Miguel's mom, Carmen. )
posted by confluency at 2:25 PM on January 2, 2022

I found this season to be substantially more interesting than the third season too. It’s because that one had the unenviable task of following the amazing second season cliffhanger, and aside from Miguel’s recovery and maybe some Krease backstory stuff, just a lot of interchangeable teenage drama until the home invasion and the dojo showdown.

This one has all the characters where they’re supposed to be. Robby now an actually interesting antagonist thinking himself powerful enough to wield both sides of the Force. Tory, now more of a reluctant villain, with a fuller story of her tragic past. The uneasy dual-dojo alliance. And the introduction of more characters.

I think it’s kind of interesting how they do that- sure, one of Robby’s ex-juvie fellow delinquents has a younger brother who wants to learn karate. Okay, there’s an aggro debate team champion. I find it funny how this show keeps on finding ways to populate its world.

Finally, I like how that this show is able to both crank up its absurd moments- Amanda doing the Trinity in The Matrix/Jackie Chan in Rumble in the Bronx building gap jump was ridiculously child endangerment- without jumping the shark, as this season is a definite improvement over the past one. Cheers to the writers for finding ways to keep this show fresh.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:16 PM on January 2, 2022 [3 favorites]

Well, that was a great season. The tournament structure was exciting, only complaint is some of the fights were glossed over in a few moves, which I understand is due to time and resource constraints. Turning that cameo into more of a montage than it already is might've helped with the former, though.

This show's writers continue to impress with the deft way they handle all of the twists and turns, the final fights were exciting and unexpected, yet felt entirely natural in terms of how it all played out.

I think some of the character beats in the last three or so episodes ran a little too quickly, but all of it was such an improvement with the slog that season 3 felt at times. I do think the fights were somewhat lacking, but again the tournament makes up for the fact that there aren't the giant set pieces that other seasons had. The quality of the drama in this one somehow beats out the action.

I liked how the theme ended up being seriously reflecting on how the actions of the current senseis affect the next generation, and ultimately had a positive message about letting go.

It's crazy to reflect that by the last episode, seasons 2-4 pretty much comprised one year's time in universe, maybe a little more. Certainly 3-4 were in-universe several months.

Hope the new side characters introduced this season get more character development in the next. Very glad that some cameos are turning out to be more than just that.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:29 AM on January 5, 2022

« Older Movie: Pieces...   |  Hilda: Hilda and the Mountain ... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments