Robots, they are supposed to help us, they are suppose to make our lives easier and speed-up mundane processes, but whether it be through gaining a consciousness of their own or through other course-altering phenomena, when robots and operating systems malfunction, it can only mean a gravely time for human beings.
Brought together by tragic circumstances as children, Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen are set to have an incredible future together, where they will embody light and dark, for the good of mankind.
Pilot episode watched and I have to say I admire the laid back, matter of fact delivery in and around some of the heavier themes. There is something slightly glacial about the proceedings, as if the creators trust the viewers enough to put certain parts of the narrative together by themselves, without a need to sear every detail into our brains so we get it. The two leads are cast well and seemingly natural in their roles, even with the crazy situations they find themselves in they never over act and the supporting cast follow suit, as in no one has irritated me and made me want to reach for the remote control.
With so many Marvel titles and superhero shows now available, we are now in new TV territory where we can afford to be picky with our small screen choices. Any Inhumans type productions are not going to get very far, Gotham is definitely reaching the limits of its artistic creativity, as a multitude of the newer shows have honed our senses into diagnosing what will sustain our enjoyment. If C&D continues the way it has started, I definitely see it going the distance...and this coming from the initially skeptical me.
THE UNTOLD TRUTH OF MARVEL'S CLOAK & DAGGER
Admittedly, I have never watched a YouTube Red anything, as no programmes of interest have ever appeared on my cinematic radar. And so with its sophomore resurrection in what I thought were the cheap seats, The Karate Kid franchise is back with 2 of its original and biggest characters. But with a celluloid history that has butchered TKK legacy with its ever-worsening sequels and nonsensical reboots, I could only predict, that this new venture was also going to be a load of rubbish...however.
The original Karate Kid story wasn’t complicated; a high-school student - Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) gets bullied by a gang of karate proficient meat-heads, lead by Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and manages to find an antidote in martial arts teacher Mr. Miyagi, played by Pat Morita. Mr. Miyagi helps Daniel conquer his inner demons as well as his physical foes and ta-daaa – that’s as complex as it got! But unbeknownst to us, the final events of Johnny and Daniel’s karate conflict, were destined to set their life trajectories for the next 30 years and this is where Cobra Kai lands us.
It’s 2018 and Daniel Larusso has become a business success. He has formed a very lucrative car dealership that he runs with his loving wife, whom he has 2 kids with. In direct contrast to Daniel’s risen star, Johnny Lawrence is a fallen man. The once popular kid from high-school has now faded into obscurity and personal failure and ironically; Johnny gets by working as a handy man, that immediately had me drawing comparisons to Mr Miyagi. Johnny is also separated from his partner, estranged from his delinquent son and clearly has a drinking problem and to make matters worse, a spate of bad luck and a strange set of coincidences, keep bringing him back to the ever-growing spectre of Daniel. Eventually, circumstances bring the two nemesis of the past face-to-face in the present.
With the enemies reunion and other burgeoning situations happening around both Daniel and Johnny, Johnny is sparked and ignited into bringing back the Cobra Kai clan, partly for himself and partly in retaliation to all his doubters. Meanwhile, Daniel's perfect looking life, is not as wonderful as it seems. His children are on the edge of becoming stuck-up and spoilt, just like how Johnny and his friends were back in their school days and Daniel himself is also losing his way a little. It seems as if the re-emergence of Johnny is bringing back an imbalance to his life and his anger and malice are starting to chip away at his inner peace.
Parallel to Daniel and Johnny’s issues, there is a remixed, repeating of history occurring, as Daniel and Johnny’s past narrative begins to manifests amongst two high-school students, that each have a link to Daniel and Johnny. And once again, a young lady is not only caught in the middle of an escalating feud, but serves as the catalyst in what becomes A Midsummers Night’s Dreamesque plot, where misunderstandings and jealously drive the two new rivals to a conclusion via combat.
Cobra Kai is an interesting premise in so many ways; it seeks to show how our early wins, loses and mentors, in the dawn of our lives can determine who we will become as adults. But the most interesting element in Cobra Kai, is the character of Johnny. He still has many negative traits, but his character progression brings him into becoming a somewhat fascinating remix of his old teacher John Kreese, Mr. Miyagi and a half-measured, redeemed version of himself. Cobra Kai manages to be deliberately funny, modern, yet nostalgic and self-deprecating at the same time. It also shows the oddities of life repeating itself, lest we forget the old mantra, that if we forget the past or don’t teach our wisdom to the next generation, we are doomed to repeat it. The current saga happening with new players was also fascinating to me, it was like watching an alternate universe of past events coming around again, only this time, Johnny is the beacon of light to the nerds and outcasts. Yes! The very people Johnny Lawrence would have once pulverised into the ground back in his school days becomes their saviour. His method of alleviating them still comes from his old jock values and it’s funny watching his un PC attitude and language collide with the soft millennial's students way of thinking and being. This offers the show every opportunity for satire and surprisingly poignant moments. Even the old-skool karate was enjoyable to watch, as it didn't suffer from over editing or bad choreography, though they are a few scenes that needed a little tightening up. Cobra Kai is an enjoyable show, so much show that second season has already been green lit.
THE ROAD TO COBRA KAI
It’s important to remember, that the phenomena and success of the original Karate Kid, was partly down to riding the wave of the 70s boom of martial arts cinema that had flooded the west and the success of the first 3 Rocky movies. So it stands as no coincidence that director John G. Avildsen, who helmed Rocky (and subsequently Karate Kid II, Karate Kid III and Rocky V) was chosen as the original film’s director. However much kudos has to be given to this latter day production team, including that of Will Smith (as the film comes through his Overbrook Entertainment company that also produced the 2010 version) because the Cobra Kai team have really done a good job in understanding what this franchise needed to be for now, without trampling all over its nostalgic glow.
THE KARATE KID (1984)
THE KARATE KID - PART II (1986)
THE KARATE KID - PART III (1989)
THE FIRST REBOOT
THE NEXT KARATE KID (1994)
THE SECOND REBOOT
THE KARATE KID (2010)
COBRA KAI (2018)
The Corellian scoundrel has finally got his own backstory, but is it a story worth telling or should it have been left deep inside the spice mines of Kessel?
These days I have no high expectations with the Star Wars films, hey I'm just being honest. The first trilogy I have come to realise, had some sort of kismetical alignment, where ideas, actors, direction and production values came majestically together to create a grand space-opera, that may never be equalled ever again. With this in mind, there will be no more comparisons to the older siblings, new films will be squarely judged on their own merit...or lack of.
Solo: A Star Wars Story as an idea, was never going to be a hard sell, but its execution was definitely going to be a challenge. The personal legend of Han Solo, as created by George Lucas and further boosted by Harrison Ford's actual portrayal, created an iconic character of cinema, one that will last for all time. Any actor set to play the role, would definitely have a lot of pressure on his shoulders.
I first saw actor Alden Ehrenreich in Beautiful Creatures (2013) and even then he had a charisma. And so I am happy to report that Alden is pretty much the perfect casting for the role of Han and manages to give us a glimpse of who Han Solo will become, but also forges his own portrayal to let us know who Han is now. You will not see an actor give a bad performance of trying to be Harrison Ford, playing Han Solo. Alden makes this his own, with the necessary character distinctions that we can see belong to Solo, not Harrison Ford. Other performances in the main cast are wholly competent too, though Thandie Newton is wasted and Woody Harrelson proves he can be anyone, from any time, in any universe. Personally I really liked Chewbacca, but I had mixed feelings about the robot L3, why? Well it's obvious to see, that the production saw the popularity of Rogue One's humorous robot with an attitude (K2S0) and decided to feature another. But this time around it was hit and miss and you could see some of the 'funny' moments being forcibly injected into the proceedings. For the most part it pays off or is at least tolerable.
"Alden is pretty much the perfect casting for the role of Han and manages to give us a glimpse of who Han Solo will become, but also forges his own portrayal to let us know who Han is now."
Technically Disney and Marvel films are starting to suffer from one reoccurring annoyance - darkness! No not darkness in tone, I mean in lighting. For a lot of Solo, the lighting is dim and grey, yes I understand you want to show how dismal and grey the times are, but give me strength! The viewers still have to still see what is going on with some sort of retina comfort. Along side that, this is the first Star Wars film that doesn't really have moments. I mean yes, we see some of the important canon in Han Solo's life; where this incident takes place, how that situation happened is all laid out for us, but none of it overwhelms you or makes you think 'Oh so that's how it went down!' And that is the film in its entirety, it is a straight down the middle, mediocre-done-well of a movie, but it's still mediocre. I think with better lighting, a few more spaceship battles and something else that I can't quite put my finger on, Solo could have been a much better movie.
Solo: A Star Wars Story Is Out Now.
TDD, RC & IK talk: