Cobra Kai
Courtesy of Netflix

Christmas is early this year for Cobra Kai fans because instead of the end-of-year release date of the Seasons 3 and 4, the Cobra Kai showrunners decided to release Season 5, on September 9, closer to Labor Day, which celebrates mums who have given birth to a child (that’s how I see it).

In my excitement to cover Cobra Kai Season 5 (CK) and prepare this short upcoming preview, my first thought was, Season 5. Alive!, a paraphrase of a cute robot from the film Short Circuit (1986), which when it attained a sense of being and reality it asserted, “Number 5. Alive!”

When we left Season 4, so much had happened, and the way folks saw it, the prisms of every character were seeded with sensibilities that will grow into personal revenge, resentment, rage, frustration, backstabbing, temper tantrums, lost love, throwing each other under the bus, dishonesty, bad tastes in mouths, lies, cheating, downtrodden sentimentalities and many other negative vibes that can mean only one thing… Utter Chaos. And how will CK resolve this?


Cobra Kai Combat!

Cobra Kai

Photo courtesy: Netflix

During the summer, Martin Kove, his Kreese character being carted off to prison at the end of Season 4 compliments of his Cobra Kai partner in crime, Terry Silvia (Thomas Ian Griffith), carefully teased, “It’s such a rich season and fascinating on how the transitions are made, surprises are orchestrated by the writer. This season is where many of us didn’t have what we had in the previous seasons…interacting with one another.

“There was a distance between the actors because of the happening events, where everyone was kinda sporadic through the seasons. But it’s merged now! It’s alluring and imaginative.”

Since the trailer’s release, imaginations have run rampant. Yet how could they not? Apart from all the possible rematches and showdowns between the characters from each other’s school within and without, there’s the return of Chozen, Mike Barnes in the shadow, and the new sleek-evil Korean villainess sabum. Note to folks who discuss conspiracy theory scenarios in writing or on YouTube, never call a Korean martial arts teacher a sensei, it’s highly disrespectful, she’s a sabum. Additionally, each actor should be more experienced working with fight choreography thus the chances that the fights will at least look better will be evident; I hope.

Cobra Kai

Photo courtesy: Netflix

Yet for now, I will ignore the weird attempts of the trailer’s creator trying to make the fight clips look interesting by adding in stupid sound effects and awkward visual effects that ultimately distract from the action gags, to where the kicks are missing their mark or look poor in form.

Whether it’s a martial arts genre film or TV series or a production that features martial arts influenced action, my approach to measuring how good the projects are, is based on what most fans consider to be the bread and butter of these shows: the martial arts; fight choreography; how the fights are shot, i.e., camera choreography, camera angles and speed; and editing. In the spirit of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, I’m always looking for something completely different.”

When I was an actor/stuntman on Chinese TV kung fu soap operas in 1980-81 Taiwan, we would do 10-12 minutes of fight scenes per 47-minute episode, to when after removing the beginning and ending credits, 25% of each episode was dedicated to the fights, and they had to be completed in two days. Two days later, the episode aired on TV. This went on for weeks. Thus, a ten-episode soap would yield 100-120 minutes of good fights over 20 days of shooting. It was an average amount of fight action for a TV soap. Did one show with more. Insane times.

Yet while researching the upcoming Season 5, I repeatedly heard/read bold statements that said, “This season will be chock full of fights.” Let’s revisit the first four seasons just to see how much chockolate there has been over the show’s current 40 episode run thus far.

Season 1: 6 minutes of fights from five episodes

Season 2: 24 minutes from seven episodes, which includes a 77-second oner

Season 3: 26 minutes from six episodes, which includes a 112-second oner

Season 4: 22 minutes of fights (E9 and E10 used up 12 minutes) and no oner.

You do the math, 40 episodes featuring 78 minutes of fights. To me, Season 3 is the best fight season for originality, best camera work and scenario repertoire. Based on Season 4’s lack of combative uniqueness and creativity, I’m concerned about Season 5. Yet Season 5 has the biggest opportunity to become the best season, due to all the possible aforementioned matchups and expected new villains.

Cobra Kai

Photo courtesy: Netflix

Though sometimes, quality can trump quantity. It’s why famous Hong Kong kung fu film director, Chor Yuen, got way with less than 10-15 minutes of fight scenes in a 90-minute film because the fights were great, showed something new in each fight, and were evenly spaced apart throughout the movie to create the illusion of more fights than there truly was.

Yet let’s keep it real my fellow writers and fans, because in this world of Game of Thrones, to promote high expectations can lead to a Short Circuit of an intensely popular program overnight.

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