Karate Kid becomes the latest classic film to be rebooted as an original television series. To nearly universal surprise, it will be produced by YouTube Red.
This adds to their growing bid to compete with other online streaming services providing original content.
“The Karate Kid” is definitely a step in the right direction. Its other offerings are a bit anemic. Apparently they are fielding a Kevin Hart workout show (which: meh), and celebrity doorstoppers about the lives of Katy Perry and Demi Lovato.
YouTube Red, which costs $9.99 a month.
YouTube’s acquisition happened after a competitive bidding war that included Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and AMC. Ralph Macchio and William Zabka (who are also executive producers on the show) have been the primary drivers of the show’s reboot.
According to the The Hollywood Reporter the 10-episode half-hour comedy series will features two of the stars from the original movie. Unsurprisingly they will be Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, the executive producers. The series will be released in 2018.
“The Karate Kid” is pretty much 80s era pop canon.
The film was about Daniel LaRusso (Macchio), the new kid in town who is getting bullied by entitled dojo dork Johnny Lawrence (Zabka) and his friends. The blonde haired bully is a student at the suitably bullyesque sounding Cobra Kai dojo.
After serial humiliations, Danny stumbles across humble Mr. Miyagi (the late Pat Morita). The cheery little guy uses endearingly humbling methods to teach him martial arts.
As an 80s movie demands, Daniel and Johnny fight at a karate tournament. Daniel kicks the bully’s ass, and America fell in love.
The New Karate Kid Series will be called Cobra Kai
The series, set 30 years after that tournament, is called “Cobra Kai”. The bully (Johnny Lawrence, played by William Zabka) is down and out. He decides to return to where (presumably) it all went sadly wrong and reopens the dojo.
Daniel, on the other hand has become a successful and empowered adult. But we find out that he isn’t dealing very well with the death of Mr. Miyagi.
Josh Heald who directed Hot Tub Time Machine will direct most of the episodes. One assumes that this will result in a comic touch to the series.
Macchio starred in the two sequels that followed the original “Karate Kid” movie. There have been several sad attempts to reboot the franchise in movie form over the decades. The Next Karate Kid, in 1994 which starred Morita and Hilary Swank. Then of course there was 2010’s The Karate Kid, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith.
YouTube, surely, can do better.