‘Cobra Kai’ Star Ralph Macchio Shuts Down Accusations That Original ‘The Karate Kid’ Was ‘Too White’

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It seems the easily offended awake crowd took issue The Karate Kid and deemed the 1980s classic as ‘too white’ – and actor Ralph Macchio, who played aspiring martial artist-turned-sensei Daniel Larusso in both the cult film series and his Cobra Kai television sequel, puts his foot down on these unfounded claims.

Cobra Kai. Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso in Cobra Kai episode 510. cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

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“People said it was a very white cast…that it didn’t dive into Asian history,” Macchio said in the latest issue of Stellar Magazineaccording to a transcript provided by The New York Post.

Speaking to his late co-star Noriyuki “Pat” Morita and his character’s story, Mr. Miyagi, he explained, “But I always say this: The movie was ahead of its time because it was a popcorn movie that was about Japanese internment camps during World War II.

Source: Karate Kid (1984), Columbia Pictures

To that end, Macchio felt that Morita’s performance during the scene where Mr. Miyagi reveals details about his past to Daniel – arguably the most heartbreaking in the film – was likely informed by the actor’s own experiences during the war. .

“Pat always said that the stage [in which it’s revealed Mr. Miyagi lost his wife and child in the camps] earned him his Oscar nomination,” Macchio revealed.

COBRA KAI (L to R) XOLO MARIDUEÑA as MIGUEL DIAZ in episode 309 of COBRA KAI Cr. CURTIS BONDS BAKER / NETFLIX © 2020

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Cobra Kaia spin-off series produced by Sony Paictures Television Studios, brought back Ralph Macchio as Daniel Larusso and William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence, Daniel’s rival in the first film.

Unsurprisingly, this new series has also faced its fair share of criticism for being “too white”.

Source: Cobra Kai Season 1 Episode 2 “Strike First” (2018), Sony Pictures Television

“There are now three white men [Martin Kove reprised his role as John Kreese for the series’ fifth season] in the center of ‘Cobra Kai“, a franchise rooted and deeply indebted to Eastern tradition,” accused Los Angeles Times writer Jen Yamato, decrying Cobra Kailack of Asian representation Last year.

To drive his point home even further, the Los Angeles Times author offered a statement from UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report 2020, in which author Ana-Christina Ramón, lamented, “With the exception of the Latino character of Miguel, all of the other people of color are outside of that main cast, so this doesn’t come across as a diverse show in a meaning.”

Source: Cobra Kai Season 2 Episode 7 “Lunch” (2019), Sony Pictures Television

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“Danny LaRusso, Italian kid from Jersey, is the most Japanese character on this show,” also condemned Sonia Saraiya from Vanity Fair.

Cobra Kai. (L to R) Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver, Yuji Okumoto as Chozen Toguchi in Cobra Kai Episode 502. cr. Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix © 2022

On Cobra Kaiof the release in 2018, Hanh Nguyen, author of Indie Wire similarly asserted, “Now having Daniel wax poetic about growing bonsai or slicing sashimi feels white-splaining.”

“And while we can forgive a character for being so seriously deaf, the show uses a frequent and mortifying leitmotif in the vaguely Asian notes that play every time Daniel enters his homemade dojo,” the author further cried. .

Source: Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 5 “Miyagi-Do” (2021), Sony Pictures Television

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Unlike many other Hollywood productions in recent years, Cobra Kai is a spin-off series that managed to breathe new life into a decades-old franchise, focusing on well-written stories and characters rather than disrespectful fans.

In the series’ final season, Daniel’s rival Chozen Toguchi, played by Yuji Okumoto, not only played a significant role in his story, but also became one of Cobra Kai’s new main characters.

Cobra Kai. (L to R) Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso, William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence, Yuji Okumoto as Chozen Toguchi, Courtney Henggeler as Amanda LaRusso in Cobra Kai. cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Another newcomer to the franchise is Alicia Hannah-Kim, who plays Kim Da-Eun as one of the series’ main antagonists.

Still, thanks to their being so fleshed out as individual characters and having a story that respects the show’s legacy, Chozen and Kim Da-Eun’s introductions to the show felt organic instead of added for reasons. brownie points in an effort to appease those who took issue with the show’s demographics.

Source: Cobra Kai Season 5 Episode 6 “Ouroboros” (2022), Sony Pictures Television

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