Binge-watching Cobra Kai: My Thoughts

Cobra Kai is a sequel to the classic hit move Karate Kid starring Ralph Macchio as Daniel Larusso and William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence. I actually stumbled upon this new series as I scrolled through my YouTube recommended videos. What a great thing that I did. I started watching the series around 9pm on the night it released when I really should have been doing homework, and ended up binge-watching the whole season, which contained ten episodes which lasted 25-35 minutes each. I stayed up past 2am that night to finish the series because it was so addicting. I will provide my take on the first season of this brand-new series.

When I first stepped foot into the world of the new show, I couldn’t help but notice the cliché high school atmosphere. Kyler, the mean boyfriend of Samantha Larusso, gangs up on “losers,” andSamantha is the innocent girl who is oblivious of Kyler’s evil. Further, Miguel, one of the protagonists befriends a group of “nerds,” and ends up beating up these bullies. Further, the Daniel Larusso becomes too attached to his innocent girl when he notices that she is growing up with a questionable group of “cool” kids. The set-up was the classic Spider-man scenario, where the nerd becomes powerful and consequently embarrasses the bullies. However, as I swam deeper into the series, I noticed the film was much more complex.

The first feature that caught my attention was the film’s use of old-style humor, differing from many other Hollywood shows. Johnny Lawrence, the “guy who lost to Larusso,” re-opens the infamous Cobra Kai. Through the re-open, his old-school teachings becomes clear. He uses brutality to teach Karate to eager children, also displaying his sexism and in-formalness as he addresses his students. He constantly spews stuff like “grow a pair” or “pussy” or “eat a dick.” Johnny is such an old-school teacher, using violence and brutal tactics that would not be acceptable in today’s society. He first doesn’t accept women to his dojo and when he does decide to let in a girl, hilariously, his motive was purely the money.  Miguel’s grandmother, who Miguel calls “Yaya,” answers the phone about him beating up bullies, and she is proud. The depiction of Armand, the real estate owner, is also very humorous. The writers displays him as a stereotypical angry middle-eastern guy with a heavy accent. His savage personality is fun to follow. In an age of political-correctness, filmmakers unfortunately fail to include the wide variety of people existing in current American society. Creators of Cobra Kai were clearly not afraid to include facets of America which do not necessarily comply with the formalness of media today.

Another intriguing part of season 1 was Johnny’s development. First, Johnny is a mere alcoholic and a weak man who couldn’t take care of his own son. In his development, he becomes a fatherly figure for Miguel. In his journey in teaching Miguel, Johnny’s morals flip; he was a bully, but now protects Miguel. Ironically, Johnny’s anger towards Daniel boosts his motivation. Johnny’s breakout into the dojo industry is quite notable because Miguel, the apprentice, discovers Johnny’s talent when he fights off teenagers, identical to they way Larusso discovered Miyagi sensei’s talent. Furthermore, Johnny’s growth lies a personal part of his life. When the dojo first hits a bump in the road, the room is full of “losers.” Miguel believes Johnny doesn’t know low social status feels like, but in reality, Johnny’s personality is based off of being a “loser” who was bullied by his own father.

So far, Cobra Kai has also done well in exploring the line between good and evil. Larusso, who was considered the against-all-odds protagonist in the original movie, watches his life fall apart amidst Johnny’s success. His fall is almost satisfying to watch as he displays his arrogance caused by wealth. The audience first uncovers his flawed personality when he forces Armand to raise estate prices at the strip mall in which Cobra Kai stands. Rather than considering the well-being of hard-working people at the strip, Larusso lets his petty anger take over. Moreover, once considered the villain, Johnny now acts much more morally and humbly than does Larusso. Johnny’s previous evil also diminishes when the show explores his origin story concerning his father and abusive coach. By the end of the season, however, this line between good and bad becomes even more hazy. Johnny’s tough teachings corrupt Miguel, and when John Kreese returns to Cobra Kai, the audience questions the morality of the new Cobra Kai.

Thematically, Cobra Kai explores the power of mentors. This idea is first discovered when Miguel becomes powerful person through his new fatherly mentor, Johnny. On the contrary, Robby seems to live a life of complete deception without a mentor or parental figure, and even the legendary Daniel Larusso, who is successful and happy on the outside, seems completely lost without Miyagi Sensei.

Overall, Cobra Kai nostalgically brings back the stories of Karate Kid by masterfully exploring many themes concerning both childhood and adulthood through many varying characters. While the original Karate Kid came out years before I was born, i definitely watched both the original and the re-make, so I was able to re-connect with Cobra Kai’s Johnny and Larusso, and the hardships they and the kids of their following generation experienced. Sometimes the story seemed too cliché and the pieces of the puzzle often times fell into place easily, but all in all, the first season of Cobra Kai was very good.

FINAL RATING: 94/100


SOURCES

“Cobra Kai (TV Series 2018– ).” 2018. IMDb. IMDb.com. Accessed May 5. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7221388/.



Featured image:
Gutelle, Sam. 2018. “’Karate Kid’ Sequel Series ‘Cobra Kai’ Strikes First On YouTube Red With A Lot Of Love From Fans.” Tubefilter. May 3. https://www.tubefilter.com/2018/05/02/youtube-red-cobra-kai-premiere/.

 

Akira’s Game Review: Far Cry 5

          I recently finished playing Far Cry 5 on the PS4. Far Cry 5 is the first Far Cry I have ever played, and the story’s concept is quite intriguing. As a rookie deputy, the player journeys through Hope County, a made-up, rural area located in Montana. The villains are the members of the Seed family, led by oldest brother Joseph Seed. Joseph and his three siblings are doomsday cult leaders who have taken over and brainwashed much of Hope County. Each cult leader owns a region of Hope County as the protagonist leads the rebellion against them.   

          Far Cry 5’s biggest strongpoint is the scale and the breadth of the game. The map opened up to beautiful scenery. The game allows players to ride vehicles like helicopters, trucks, and cars to either reach mission locations or just explore the wide world. Further, the game lets players build up their reputation in a variety of ways. These methods include completing missions, destroying cult property, and liberating cult outposts. Each cult outpost had a slightly different feel from the previous one. The player could either maneuver stealthily through the outpost as he/she silently knocked out enemies for a strategic liberation, or hit the military camps with rockets and heavy fire for action-packed combat. The game provides side missions that allow players to find “specialists” to add to their roster. Each specialist holds unique abilities, and the player can use their specialists in different situations to suit his/her playing style. The game’s concept was fulfilling as it mixed together aspects of a FPS and an adventure game.

            Despite the upsides, I had major problems with Far Cry 5. First, there was a lack of fluency between each mission. Not only was the content of each story mission often unrelated, but also, the game did not incentivize the player to actually complete the story missions on time. Rather, the player could complete the story mission whenever he/she wanted, while the lives of the rest of the rebellion was not on the line. Without a sense of urgency, the missions, and thus the story, seemed to get lost in the gameplay. Further, the enemies’ skill set became monotonous at times. Like in many other games, the enemies became too predictable, and performing silent takedowns or avoiding confrontations altogether was way too easy. Finally, while I won’t give away any spoilers, my ending (there are apparently three potential endings) was not one I hoped for.

            Overall, the lack of continuity within the story, as well as the predictability of the enemies as the game progressed, rendered the gameplay rather dissatisfying at times. However, the beautiful graphics and the extensive possibilities for combat made up for some of the game’s flaws.

            FINAL SCORE: 65/100

 


Featured image

“Far Cry 5 | Xbox.” 2018. Xbox.com. Accessed April 29. https://www.xbox.com/en-GB/games/far-cry-5.

First Round of the 2018 NFL Draft: Winners and Losers

Winners

Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals had one of the best days. Following Carson Palmer and Blaine Gabbert’s departures, the Cards went into the Draft with zero QBs. Many expected the Cardinals to trade up big for Lamar Jackson, who is considered the fourth or fifth best QB in this year’s Draft. Instead, Josh Rosen slipped down, so the Cardinals traded up to Oakland’s spot to scoop him up at 10. Arizona took the most natural, clean passer who potentially has the highest chance among the rookie QBs to be a starter his first year, and the Cardinals didn’t have to give up much to get him. They gave up only their first, third, and fifth round picks to pick up a QB who was projected to go in the top 3.


Denzel Ward
The fourth overall selection was the biggest surprise of the Draft after Baker Mayfield going at pick one. Denzel Ward (DB) was projected to go in the top-10, but definitely no one expected him to go fourth overall. I wanted the Browns to select Bradley Chubb to greatly strengthen the Browns’ defensive line. Chubb is the best defensive NFL prospect this year, and he has the lowest bust potential. But with a major need at CB, the Browns selecting Denzel Ward at four was not negative. In the end, Denzel Ward was selected higher than expected, as he joins a young, talented Browns defense, rendering him a winner in this Draft.


Offensive linemen
In the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, six o-linemen were selected. This number is a huge leap from last year, where only two o-linemen were selected in the first 32 picks. On top of the mere number of o-line personnel selected, each of the six big guys will protect a top rated QB next year. Quenton Nelson (OG) will HOPEFULLY protect Andrew Luck, Mike McGlinchey (OT) will protect Jimmy G, Kolton Miller (OT) will protect Derek Carr, Frank Ragnow (C) will protect Matthew Stafford, Billy Price (C) will protect Andy Dalton, and Isaiah Wynn (OT) will protect Tom Brady. Many o-linemen went in the first round, and all of them should be motivated to provide services to their new NFL teams when they protect star QBs. Thus, o-linemen have been winners in this Draft thus far.


Buffalo Bills
In my opinion, Josh Allen is not the answer at QB for the Bills. Buffalo should have drafted Rosen at seventh overall. However, from their perspective, Allen is the gunslinger they wanted after releasing Tyrod Taylor. The Bills probably want a big-arm QB after their disappointment with Tyrod, who doesn’t make the big, risky throws. Tremaine Edmunds, who they chose at 16th overall, was probably the biggest steal of the first round. He is still super young at age 19, and his athleticism at LB is absolutely insane. At 6’5 and 253Ib, he ran a whopping 4.54s 40-yard dash during the Combine. In 2017, he recorded 108 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 13 games at Virginia Tech. While I don’t agree with the Bills’ hype over Josh Allen, they matched their own objective by drafting him, and they also drafted a future star in Edmunds, thus the Bills were a winner.


Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens WON. Baltimore traded down, yet they managed to fill a major need at TE by grabbing Hayden Hurst at #25. By giving up their #22 pick and a seventh rounder to the Titans, they received a #25 pick and a third-rounder. Essentially, moving down three spots didn’t interfere with their plan to fill their need at TE, but rather, allowed them to move up from a seventh rounder to a third rounder in the latter part of their transaction. What a deal. On top of this great draft maneuver, they also made a great transaction to trade up to pick up Lamar Jackson. The Ravens gave up a #52 pick, #125 pick, and a 2019 second rounder to obtain the #32 and #132 pick from the Eagles. To put the matter simply, Baltimore obtained the most electrifying player from college just by giving next year’s second rounder. What a deal. Whether or not Baltimore can actually build a system around Lamar Jackson is in question, but for now, the Ravens have a Heisman Trophy winner to develop behind Joe Flacco before he potentially lights up the NFL in the coming years.


Baker Mayfield
With his legendary copycat picture where he poses like Brett Favre, his confidence prior to the Draft was clear. Not many people expected him to go #1 though. Some reports flowed in a day before the Draft, but many brushed these developments as speculations. But, Baker was actually chosen first. While Browns QBs have been cursed for decades and Baker might fall victim to the system, this situation gives way for Baker to yet again to shine bright under the lights. This surprising pick also benefits Baker’s reputation, as he seems to profit widely from buzz. Thus, this pick renders Baker a winner in terms of both a football player and a public figure.



Losers

Wide Receivers
Unfortunately, wide receivers lost in round 1. The first 32 picks consisted of two WRs. Surprisingly, DJ Moore (WR) went first at pick 24 to the Panthers, followed closely by Calvin Ridley at 26 to the Falcons. Courtland Sutton, who was considered a top WR prospect, was not taken in the first round. Clearly, this class lacks depth at WR, so they are losers of this first round.


Lions
Picking Frank Ragnow (C) at #20 was very questionable. To be honest, I didn’t know who he was before this pick. Billy Price, despite his injury, would have been a better option at center. Further, there were so many abled players that had slipped down to their hands. Finding a second WR to accommodate A.J Green, or picking a major defensive talent that had trickled down, were better options.




SOURCES

“2017 NFL Draft.” 2018. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. April 27. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_NFL_Draft.

“Depth Chart.” 2018. News Stories RSS. Accessed April 28. http://www.bengals.com/team/depth-chart.html.

Lambert, Terry A. 2018. “2018 NFL Draft: Titans Trade up to 22nd Pick.” Music City Miracles. Music City Miracles. April 27. https://www.musiccitymiracles.com/2018/4/26/17287180/2018-nfl-draft-titans-trade-up-to-22nd-pick.

“NFL Draft & Combine Profile – HAYDEN HURST.” 2018. NFL.com. Accessed April 28. https://www.nfl.com/prospects/hayden-hurst?id=32462018-0002-5600-72f9-7623b6673aa8.

“NFL Draft & Combine Profile – RASHAAN EVANS.” 2018. NFL.com. NFL. Accessed April 28. https://www.nfl.com/prospects/rashaan-evans?id=32462018-0002-5600-737b-93a2d4fa1f16.

“NFL Draft & Combine Profile – TREMAINE EDMUNDS.” 2018. NFL.com. Accessed April 28. https://www.nfl.com/prospects/tremaine-edmunds?id=32462018-0002-5600-62d0-412c60099aca.

Patra, Kevin. 2018. “Cardinals Trade up to Get Josh Rosen at No. 10.” NFL.com. Accessed April 28. http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000929007/article/cardinals-trade-up-to-get-josh-rosen-at-no-10.

“Tremaine Edmunds College Stats.” 2018. College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Accessed April 28. https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/tremaine-edmunds-1.html.

Wesseling, Chris. 2018. “Ravens Trade up to Take Lamar Jackson at No. 32.” NFL.com. April 26. http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000929151/article/ravens-trade-up-to-take-lamar-jackson-at-no-32.


Featured image:

Weinstein, Arthur. 2018. “NFL Draft 2018: Extreme Twitter Takes on First-Round Winners, Losers.” Sporting News. April 27. http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news/nfl-draft-2018-10-extreme-twitter-takes-first-round-winners-losers/lvvs27q7zhc01mt259zy8kefl.

Final 2018 NFL Mock Draft

The 2018 NFL Draft starts in two minutes! This is my final first round mock draft.

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Created using “Predict the Pick” on NFL.com


Featured image website:

“2018: Final Ravens Mock Draft Monitor .” News RSS. April 26, 2018. Accessed April 26, 2018. http://www.baltimoreravens.com/news/article-1/2018-Final-Ravens-Mock-Draft-Monitor/6dbdb236-5d1e-408b-9e76-cd5f2c06a931.

Themes in the Top 5 Picks of the 2018 NFL Draft

The 2018 NFL Draft starts tomorrow night. Four teams are choosing the first five picks of the Draft, and the audience can expect multiple QBs going in the beginning. This analysis contains my own DOs and DON’Ts for the teams picking in the top 5.

 

1. Cleveland Browns

Just draft Darnold

First, Josh Allen will be a total bust. Completion rates rarely increase in the NFL, so his low 56% completion percentage is a huge problem as a top prospect. Second, Sam Darnold’s turnover problem is the most minor issue among the top 4 QB prospects, as high turnover rates in college do not necessarily translate to high turnover rates in NFL, as low turnover rates in college do not translate to low turnover rates in NFL. In the past few years, there have been multiple examples of interception rates falling in a QBs transition from college ball to the NFL. For example, Jared Goff threw 13 INTs in his final season at CAL, but only accumulated 7 INTs last year. Jameis Winston averaged 14 INTs per season at FSU while only throwing 11 INTs in 2017 on the Bucs. On the flip side, QBs have also seen an increase in their INT rates between college and the pros. Deshone Kizer, threw only 9 INTs in 2016 at Notre Dame while throwing a whopping 22 INTs last year on the Browns. Cam Newton threw only 7 INTs at Auburn, yet has averaged over 13 INTs per season in NFL. These stats indicate that turnover rates can change depending on the system and coaching personnel QBs work with, thus Sam Darnold is the most logical pick.

 

2. New York Giants

Don’t get Barkly

Most importantly, the Giants can’t afford using the second overall pick on a 7-8 year RB. There is so much depth at RB. Guys like Derrius Guice, Sony Michel, and Rashaad Penny will definitely be options at the top of the second round. The G-Men will never be so high in the draft, so this pick is the best opportunity to build up. Therefore, finding 1) a franchise QB to sit behind Eli Manning for a year, 2) a 10+ year starter who can instantly make an impact, or 3) an O-lineman who can boost their offense will be essential tomorrow. Moreover, potentially, the Giants can trade away this pick for more early-rounders to help rebound from their 3-13 season.

 

3. New York Jets

Get Baker

The question is: does Baker Mayfield get too much hype? Baker is often compared to the NFL’s top QBs like Russell Wilson and Drew Brees. He doesn’t have Brees’ insane pocket ability or Wilson’s freakish athleticism, but his 70% accuracy speaks for itself. Further, critics mistakenly compare him to notorious Johnny Manziel. Baker has some personality issues where his passion exceeds the limit, but he doesn’t have the party-attitude that Manziel did. Rather, Baker is very football focused, as displayed in his resume. He is a two time walk on and he will prove himself again when the lights get even brighter. Baker Mayfield will enter the League with a bang when he embraces the electrifying environment in NYC, as his unique QB dexterity will completely differ from those of his predecessors.

 

4. Cleveland Browns

Get Chubb

If Barkley falls, taking him would not be a bad idea, but they have already signed Hyde in free agency and Duke Johnson isn’t a bad RB. An addition to the defensive end position would actually create a strength within the Browns; currently, the Browns don’t have a specifically strong area, but adding Bradley Chubb across Myles Garrett would make their defensive line their strongpoint.

 

5. Denver Broncos

Not a QB

Case Keenum is probably not the franchise QB, but a solid starter for now following his breakout 2017 campaign. There are too many questions for the QBs probably remaining at this point. Josh Allen has major accuracy issues, and Lamar Jackson doesn’t have the throwing ability. John Elway probably won’t love any of the remaining QBs. Instead, Denver’s O-line needs help, so the future star in Quenton Nelson is the most logical pick.

 

Overall, the four teams going in the top-5 have many needs. However, over-hyping certain prospects is dangerous for re-building clubs. Logical picks, rather than hopeful picks, will be paramount in the NFL Draft starting tomorrow.

 

 


SOURCES

“Baker Mayfield College Stats.” 2018. College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Accessed April 26. https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/baker-mayfield-1.html.

“Cam Newton Stats.” 2018. Pro-Football-Reference.com. Accessed April 26. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/N/NewtCa00.htm.

 “Cleveland Browns Depth Chart.” 2018. ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Accessed April 26. http://www.espn.com/nfl/team/depth/_/name/cle/cleveland-browns.

“DeShone Kizer Stats.” 2018. Pro-Football-Reference.com. Accessed April 26. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/K/KizeDe00.htm.

“Jameis Winston Stats.” 2018. Pro-Football-Reference.com. Accessed April 26. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/W/WinsJa00.htm.

“Jared Goff Stats.” 2018. Pro-Football-Reference.com. Accessed April 26. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/G/GoffJa00.htm.

BigTownBrown. 2018. “With the 4th Pick in the 2018 NFL Draft……” Dawgs By Nature. April 1. https://www.dawgsbynature.com/2018/4/1/17185674/with-the-4th-pick-in-the-2018-nfl-draft.