Looking For Movies Like The Karate Kid After Watching Cobra Kai? Here's What to Stream
It's no secret we're loving Netflix's Cobra Kai, a spinoff of the classic The Karate Kid (Mr. Miyagi forever!), and now we can't get enough of action-packed fight sequences and the magnificence of martial arts. The Karate Kid isn't just about winning, even though we'll always love Daniel's final match scene – it's about personal growth, the power within, and finding oneself amidst adversity. With that in mind, we've rounded up 10 of our favorite movies that remind us of the 1984 drama film, focusing on themes like student-teacher journeys, discipline, working hard for your dreams, and yeah, incredible fight scenes.
The Next Karate Kid
A retelling of the classic movie, The Next Karate Kid gives Mr. Miyagi a new student: Julie (Hilary Swank), a high school teen struggling with her parents' death. Already knowing some karate moves of her own, Julie is quickly taken under Miyagi's wing, training in a Buddhist monastery and healing her immeasurable pain.
One of the most poignant aspects of The Karate Kid is the relationship between Mr. Miyagi and Daniel, giving rise to tension and struggle in order for Daniel to become a better fighter. Whiplash presents a similar relationship between a young jazz drummer and his terrifying instructor, albeit much more intense, which leads to both sublime musical ability, and a bit of insanity, too.
Enter the Dragon
An action film for the ages, the Bruce Lee-led Enter the Dragon is a must-see for fans of martial arts, fight sequences, and really just incredible motion pictures. Lee plays a Shaolin master attempting to capture a narcotics leader responsible for his sister's death, putting his kung fu skills to the test.
Just like The Karate Kid begins with a lonely teenager looking to find himself, Skate Kitchen depicts a teenage girl named Camille who longs to just fit in somewhere. She soon meets a group of female skateboarders who teach her about friendship and feeling alive, diving deeper into New York City's underground.
Exploring the life story of Yip Man, Bruce Lee's trainer and the first person to teach Wing Chun, Ip Man is everything we ever wanted in a martial arts film, with tons of gripping fight scenes. Set in the 1940s, this film confronts themes like war, respect, honor, and the power of self defense.
A true hero's journey if there ever was one, First Match is about a high school girl raised in foster homes who dives into the world of wrestling to try to reconnect with her ex-con father. Monique's story puts issues like inequality at the forefront, as the protagonist joins an all-boys team. This movie combines the determination, will power, and fights of Karate Kid with themes relevant to today.
Come for the striking story of adversity and ambition, stay for the incredible training and boxing scenes. Rocky, one of the most inspiring movies ever created, is about a working-class Philadelphia boxer who is suddenly chosen to take on a world champion. As he gives the journey everything he has, similar to Daniel's lessons with Miyagi (although not nearly as arduous), what really matters is put into question: is it the winning, or the growth?
Showing the dark side of the sports industry, Amateur explores the life of a 14-year-old basketball star who joins a new team at an elite prep school. There, he confronts corruption, putting his ambitions above all else, in a constant pursuit of his dream. Similar to The Karate Kid, this sports drama combines action and nail-biting competition with an examining of goals and success.
The Last Airbender
With the four nations of Air, Water, Earth and Fire at war, Avatar Aang soon discovers his own power to control the elements. Just like Daniel's own hero's journey in The Karate Kid, which leads him to win the match against Johnny and find himself, The Last Airbender portrays a boy confronting his own strength and ability to change his surroundings.
A must-watch film, The Outsiders is a coming-of-age movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola that portrays teen gangs in rural Oklahoma. As the Greasers and the Socials become more at odds with each other, they learn more about themselves (and how far they'd go) than they ever thought possible. Just like in Karate Kid, fights are interwoven with the pursuit of personal growth, whether intended or not.