Cobra Kai star Ralph Macchio reveals why season 4 of the series helped him appreciate The Karate Kid Part 3 decades after the film’s release.
Ralph Macchio, star of Cobra Kai, reveals why season 4 of the series helped him appreciate The Karate Kid Part 3 over three decades after the film’s release. Premiering on YouTube in 2018, Cobra Kai sees Macchio reprise his iconic role as Daniel LaRusso from the original Karate Kid trilogy alongside William Zabka and Martin Kove, who respectively return as the hot-headed Johnny Lawrence and his fierce sensei John Kreese. New additions to the cast included Courtney Henggeler, Xolo Maridueña, Tanner Buchanan, Mary Mouser, Jacob Bertrand, Gianni DeCenzo, and Peyton List. Season 4 also saw the return of Thomas Ian Griffith as his The Karate Kid Part 3 character, Terry Silver.
Cobra Kai takes place 35 years after the events of the first Karate Kid film in 1984, when Daniel LaRusso defeated Johnny Lawrence to take the crown of All-Valley Karate champion. The series revisits the “Miyagi-verse” from Johnny’s point of view and explores his decision to re-open the Cobra Kai dojo, which subsequently rekindles his long-standing rivalry with Daniel. Since its release, the show has maintained a high viewership and garnered universal acclaim, even earning an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series for season 3 in 2021.
In a recent interview with THR, Macchio reveals that while he “was not a fan” of his third outing as Daniel, the latest season of Cobra Kai has helped him reshape the way he looks back on the 1989 film. He initially thought that the story was “repeating itself” and did not help his character move forward in the way it should have. He also mentions that the filming process was far from a “smooth ride.” On the other hand, he expresses that, despite its shortcomings, The Karate Kid Part 3 “gives us so much story” with regards to Cobra Kai season 4. He also praises the creators, who found ways to “evolve” the story and give “backstories for characters” who were a bit too one-dimensional. Check out his full quote below:
I was not a fan of how The Karate Kid III came out. I felt the story was only repeating itself and was not character forwarding for the end of LaRusso. And production-wise, it was being written one way and then changed another way. It was not a smooth ride. In the end, there were parts of the character that I didn’t embrace as well as I did with the original and the first sequel. I don’t put it on the top of my résumé.
However, it informs Cobra Kai going forward, clearly with season four. It gives us so much story. And what is so wonderful about doing the Cobra Kai series, the creators find ways to take that story and let it evolve and find backstories for characters who might have been thinly written.
Macchio even references the return of Griffith’s Terry Silver as an example of a character who has been “refined” through Cobra Kai‘s exceptional writing, adding “layers of complexity” to his evildoings in the process. The story of The Karate Kid Part 3 saw Daniel, after having a fallout with Mr. Miyagi, lured into joining the Cobra Kai dojo by Silver to train for the 1985 All-Valley Karate Championship and defend his title. Little did he know that Silver was a friend of an old foe, John Kreese, who had plotted against him and Mr. Miyagi to gain revenge for the damaging loss in the previous year’s All-Valley finals.
The Karate Kid Part 3 is often regarded as one of the worst films in the franchise for its lack of originality, rehashing elements from its predecessors. However, as Cobra Kai season 4 has shown, the 1989 feature is set to be an integral cog in the Miyagi-verse as it revisits the story of the critically-panned film. Macchio’s comments make perfect sense, as the writers of Cobra Kai look to make the “shortcomings” of the film “bear fruit 36 years later” and even help audiences who weren’t big fans of the third film embrace its legacy and see it through a different lens.
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