“Cobra Kai” season three ended with an epic showdown between Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and John Kreese (Martin Kove).
As the episode and season come to an end, the first epic fight happened at the LaRusso house, where the younger characters got into a fight. But there was more – one last fight that happens at the Cobra Kai dojo.
The series created a vast musical landscape for its composers Zach Robinson and Leo Birenberg, allowing them to pay tribute to some of the corniest sonic touchstones in genre-bending ways as the 37-track soundtrack sees the duo leading a massive, 90-piece orchestra across many styles from hard rock to synthwave to Japanese classical. Keen listeners will note there are nods to Bill Conti’s score for the original 1984 film, but both Robinson and Birenberg wanted to ensure they were scoring “Cobra Kai,” not “The Karate Kid.”
In the grand climax, Kreese is trying to convince Johnny to join the dark side. Composers Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson introduced his theme in a soprano voice, something they had never done before.
Birenberg and Robinson reveal Kreese’s motif is one of their favorites to score as they consider him a master manipulator. During the season, they were able to pay homage to their favorite ’80s war action films.
In the video below, which is a part of the Netflix Playlist series, the duo said they used a lot of low-muted brass timpani sounds and low strings throughout. They also incorporated the prime “Cobra Kai” score which consists of big drums, bass guitar and ’80s metal mixed in with grand orchestral sounds. Johnny’s theme that plays throughout the series is also woven into the storytelling.
Watch the video below and learn more about the film here.