On his journey to becoming Kobra Kid, Mikey is already misunderstood and has a short fuse; he just doesn’t know Kung Fu. That’s about to change.
Deanna is walking outside. As she turns a corner she is
attacked from behind.
Deanna kneels and tosses Mikey over her shoulders. He rolls
and returns to his feet.
Now they exchange a series of hits and kicks at high speed.
In a blur of motion, Mikey pins Deanna to the ground. He
looms over her, and they lock eyes.
I thought I had you that time.
Mikey rolls off of Deanna, and offers her some water.
You gave me that one flip, didn't
It's important to have some early
I didn't ask you to go easy on me.
I'm trying to teach you, not beat
you. And you already have some
Urban defense. It was highly
recommended for inner city social
What was that like?
Deanna rubs her neck and thinks over the question.
Grueling, but I felt like I was
doing something that mattered, and
I didn't do it long enough to get
burnt out. I tried to keep in touch
with my cases afterwards.
Some. A lot died, but there were
some I was seeing every week. I was
never supposed to end up out here.
Deanna's last sentence ends on a bitter note, so Mikey tries
to lighten the mood.
I couldn't wait to get away.
Was it what you wanted?
I try to focus on wanting what I
I told you I don't want any of that
zen garbage. Just teach me the
My teacher assured me that they go
Deanna gives a derisive snort.
Teacher? I think you picked it all
up from cable movies.
Mikey sighs and stands up.
Ready to try again?
Mikey offers a hand to pull Deanna up.
As she takes the hand, Deanna tugs on Mikey's arm to pull him
down, and they get into it again.
EXT. STREETS OF GREENVALE
Mikey has taken to wandering the town restlessly, feeling
alienated from everything and everyone. Days pass this way.
Sometimes people call to him, but nothing really catches his
interest until he notices some shifty looking characters
heading down a set of stairs, going below street level.
The men head through a battered doorway, and Mikey follows.
INT. BLACK DRAGON FIGHTING SOCIETY
The large basement type area is crowded with people.
Drifts of smoke are curling up from some areas. Many of the
men are looking at old pornographic magazines. There are also
old arcade-style video games.
However, most people are waving money at a man collecting
bets around a circle cordoned off in the center.
At the door, Mikey is stopped.
Ten bucks unless you're fighting.
Uh, I'm fighting.
The bounder looks Mikey's lanky frame up and down.
Huh. Okay. Sonny! Fresh meat!
The bouncer gives Mikey a shove towards the center.
Sonny grabs Mikey and hustles him over to the corner.
Fine. You can take winner. If you
want to write down your address we
can notify your next of kin.
It's to the death?
No, but he'll rip you apart. Help
Sonny gestures at a mini-bar with various stimulants and pain
killers available, along with liquor, but also with candy and
juice boxes. The strange assortment of decadence continues.
A passing man offers Mikey a blunt, but Mikey shakes his
Watching the current fight, as two large, tattooed men go at
it, Mikey feels he may have made a mistake.
Looking at the bar again, Mikey shakes his head and grabs a
juice box and gulps it down.
The two giants continue to pummel each other, blood and sweat
One stumbles, and the other doubles his efforts, beating his
opponent into the ground. The announcer calls it.
Winner is Mangle! Do we have a
Sonny pulls Mikey to the ring.
There is a lot of disbelief and some laughter from the
Sonny whispers to Mikey.
Kid, what's your fighting name?
Mikey looks around and sees a cobra tattoo on one beefy arm.
Cobra, kid? Really?
And the challenger is Kobra Kid!
Gentlemen, place your bets!
More money is collected. Everyone placing a bet seems to
Betting is closed and Mikey is shoved into the ring.
Mangle sneers at his opponent.
What's next? Five year old girls?
Mikey feels a moment of fear, but then he gets mad. He thinks
of running from Draculoids and Gerard shutting out the world
with his headphones and Jenny lying on the sidewalk.
Mikey squares his shoulders and clenches his fists, and
narrows his eyes.
Mangle lunges at Mikey and Mikey darts around and leaps onto
The crowd is surprised, and a desiccated old man, DANTE (62),
Mikey wraps his right arm around Mangle's neck, but the neck
is too thick for one arm to do the trick.
Mikey brings his left bicep on the back of Mangle's neck,
slowly exerting more pressure.
It is still not ideal, but Mangle is having a hard time
reaching his attacker. Mangle is muscle-bound, with low
flexibility, and this new type of opponent plays against his
Pulling at the arm around his neck, Mangle lunges forward. It
would not be enough to dislodge Mikey on its own, but an
irritated member of the crowd throws an empty bottle, hitting
Mikey in the head.
Mikey loses his grip, and falls, but now the crowd is angry
at the interference, and they begin cheering for Kobra Kid,
despite having bets against him.
Having his first real opportunity to do damage, Mangle starts
to smash a fist down into Mikey's face. Mikey rolls away to
dodge, but his shoulder his still clipped.
Grunting with pain, Mikey kicks the back of Mangle's knee
with short, rapid strikes.
Mangle goes down on one knee as Mikey leaps up, delivering
another kick to Mangle's chin.
Mangle is starting to wear down. To be fair, he has already
fought other opponents, and he was not prepared for Mikey.
Seeing an opportunity, Mikey launches himself at Mangle,
forcing him to the floor.
Mangle briefly tries to push up, but another elbow to the
back of the neck stops him.
Pinning Mangle's arm behind him, Mikey holds Mangle down as
the crowd counts to ten.
Mikey is stunned as the announcer pulls him up and raises
Mikey's arm above his head.
The crowd erupts into cheers.
An enthusiastic Sonny shakes Mikey's shoulders.
Good job, kid! I didn't think you
had it in you.
Do we have a challenger?
I'll fight him!
Jenny's brother is standing before Mikey.
I'm not going to fight you.
Why not? It looked like you'd moved
up from getting girls killed.
The crowd senses the tension and looks confused. This is not
how things normally go.
Mikey, their champion, starts to walk away.
Johnny goes after Mikey, looking murderous, but Mikey keeps
Scared of me?
Johnny shoves Mikey from behind.
Mikey stumbles but does not lose his balance.
Turning, Mikey raises a fist, but then stops it.
I'm not fighting you.
Mikey walks out the door with Johnny calling after him.
Coward! You're a rotten coward!
Dante follows Mikey out the door.
You forgot your prize money.
Dante holds out some bills.
Mikey stares at the money and shakes his head.
I don't want it.
Noble, but impractical. Why did you
choose the juice box?
Mikey's anger is changing to annoyance.
Because they're delicious.
Your instincts are good, but you
need discipline. You need self
Thanks for the advice.
Mikey is walking away.
It's not advice. It's an offer to
Mikey finally turns and really looks at Dante, who has
clearly seen better days.
There is a wiry frame, kind of like Mikey's, but it is
wrinkled and grizzled and buried under years of decay. His
skin also has a bit of a yellowish hue.
No offense, but you don't really
look like a master of self
Not now, but I remember. I can
Mikey wants to keep going, but he hesitates.
What you seek is not in there.
That is why you are leaving, but
you don't know where to go. Let me
EXT. VACANT LOT BEHIND DANTE'S HOUSE
Mikey stands in the middle of the lot. He is shirtless, and
his chest rises and falls with deep breaths.
Dante circles around him, inspecting.
Your breath should be lower.
Mikey closes his eyes and focuses, adjusting.
Training montage: Over time, with Dante's instruction, Mikey
goes through different kung fu moves, displaying fists and
palms and feet.
Mikey's movements are good, but Dante never seems quite
Dante and Mikey sit together cross-legged in meditation.
Mikey is not meditative enough.
Why wouldn't you fight the boy?
Mikey is startled by the question, but the memory has never
been far from his thoughts.
He already has too much pain.
Did you cause it?
I...I share it. I needed to stop it
and I couldn't.
Dante considers this.
Enough for today. Come back
But we didn't-
Mikey leaves, confused.
The next day, Mikey arrives warily, still remembering
yesterday's abrupt dismissal. He nonetheless takes his
habitual starting point in the circle.
Dante circles around Mikey, as is also normal, but stops in
front and pokes his finger into Mikey's forehead.
You have a kung fu body, but not a
kung fu mind.
I don't fight with my mind.
Do you think that's a good thing?
I don't understand.
Exactly. You are all zhi -will. And
courage. You are also yong. But
where is patience? Where is
endurance? Where is perseverance?
Poking Mikey's forehead for punctuation, Dante names each
Ren. Heng. Yi. Without a kung fu
mind you cannot have kung fu deeds.
You must use wu de to reach wu shi.
Your wisdom must be in harmony with
Mikey laughs bitterly.
I have no wisdom.
Dante raps Mikey on the back of the head.
If you truly believed that you
should be weeping.
Mikey's head hurts, but not as much as the months of
frustration and loss.
Well it's true isn't it? I'm just a
stupid kid! I don't know anything!
I don't understand anything! I
don't even have real feelings! Not
like everyone else's big and
important feelings! How do I even
Dante assumes fighting stance, which Mikey takes as a
challenge, launching into a massive attack of flying fists.
Dante deflects easily and glides to the side, delivering a
kick to the butt that sends Mikey sprawling forward.
Furious, Mikey gets back up and tries again, but Dante
wrestles him into hold, forcing Mikey into a kneeling
Mikey is panting and subdued, but still defiant.
Wisdom would be recognizing that I
am not your enemy. I am studying
your pain; not causing it.
What's the point in looking? You
can't fix it! No one can!
We cannot repair the world without
If enough people do that, the world
will repair itself.
Something about that seems to sink in.
It would. I thought we needed to
work on your mind, and we will, but
we will start with part of kung fu
deed: xin. Trust.
How can I trust?
It is possible because it is
Trust them? I can't even talk to
It is not merely trust for others.
You must learn trust for yourself,
trust for your body, trust for the
laws of physics. Other trust will
Dante goes inside and returns with a blindfold.
You've got to be kidding.
I never kid.
Dante blindfolds Mikey.
Mikey rises to his feet.
Now block me!
Dante strikes. Mikey tries to defend, but gets caught in the
You're just guessing! Feel!
Dante strikes again, and again Mikey's defense is way off.
Quit trying to see! Use your other
senses! All of them!
Dante strikes a third time, but this time Mikey stops the
Using the fist as a point of contact, Mikey follows Dante's
arm to find the elbow and attempts a flip.
The flip is unsuccessful, but they are engaged in real combat
now, striking and deflecting.
Growing in confidence, Mikey tries to flip Dante again and
this time it works.
Stunned by his success, Mikey tears off the blindfold to see
Dante lying on his back, grinning.
I think you may actually be
Time passes and Mikey does other things as well.
Not all of it is fighting. He holds heavy buckets to build
strength, and spends time on one leg for balance.
It is not only his muscles that are growing. He is also
getting taller. He is turning into a man.
As Mikey grows and becomes stronger, Dante seems to be
fading. He shrinks but his stomach swells. The jaundice
INT. DANTE'S HOUSE
Mikey is cleaning Dante's home, which has clearly been
You don't need to do that.
It's no trouble.
Dante eases himself on the couch and reclines.
Come sit and talk.
Mikey takes a nearby chair.
You deserved a better teacher.
Why? You've been perfect.
No. I have tried to teach you to
master your anger, but I never
mastered my own appetites, so I
could not truly show you how to
I'm doing better.
Yes, you are better than I was, but
I wish I could have given you more.
I wish I had been better myself.
Student, listen to me. You are
still tied to your anger, but the
anger is only a mask for your pain.
Can you release your pain?
Mikey lowers his head and answers very quietly.
Some believe that the only way to
overcome suffering is to overcome
caring, and that the highest
accomplishment is to give up these
earthly attachments. Do you believe
Mikey is more sure of himself this time.
You may be right. I watched you at
the fight that day. You did not
belong there. Those men have given
up on life, and you have not.
I can't, but-
But you have not been able to fully
choose it either.
It's too unstable.
It's like water, impossible to
grasp, able to drown, but also able
to fill, and able to support.
My problem isn't with life. It's
Without people there is no life for
you. You must accept its flow, and
theirs, or you will drown.
Mikey bows his head again, not sure how to respond.
I cannot teach you anymore.
But I need you!
No, you don't. I have taught you
all I know.
I can be better. I will.
You have been exactly the student I
needed, but I have given you all I
have. Can't you see how worn out I
Because of me?
Dante gestures at his body.
This is a lifetime of bad choices,
but my best choice has been you,
and I thank you for accepting my
That has been my best choice.
Dante smiles wanly.
Go my son. Let an old man sleep.
I'll be back. If not as a student,
then as a friend.
Mikey tiptoes out as Dante closes his eyes.
Mikey is walking home and meets up with Don.
Don smiles, relaxed that Mikey seems relaxed.
I guess so.
Good. I'll walk with you.
Mikey shrugs and they walk along peacefully.
It feels like a long time since
Mikey is about to retort, then thinks better of it.
Yeah, it has been.
I'm glad you're here.
And not exploding?
I know it's been rough, for
everyone. You seem better lately
I've been learning kung fu.
How did that happen? Should I ask?
Now Mikey really smiles.
Maybe not. It's kind of a long
It looks like it's been good for
you. I'm sorry we haven't been
giving you more attention.
You're not the problem.
Gerard? I know. He hasn't been
handling it great, but I can't get
mad at him for three reasons. He
loves my daughter-
She's all he cares about.
No, but he loves her a lot, and
he's good to her, and I could
forgive him just about anything for
that. When you're a father, you'll
I'll never be a father.
Maybe not, but I hope you get a
chance. Also, I can't be mad at him
because I think what if I had sent
Cathy here alone? There was a job I
could have taken for some overtime.
When I think that...
No, that is bad.
They walk on a little further.
What's the third thing?
I don't know if it's really one
thing. It's just, okay, I've only
know you guys for a few years, but
I do know you, and I know how
you've been, and I know that this
isn't Gee. He's different because
he's hurting, but I don't think he
will always be this way. I guess
I'm just willing to be patient.
Ren. Accept his flow.
They continue walking home together.
INT. DANTE'S HOUSE
It is the next day.
Mikey walks in carrying some food.
Master! I brought some food. You're
getting too skinny.
There is no response.
Mikey sees Dante on the couch. He has not moved at all.
Dante's body is cold. The expression on his face is peaceful,
but it is also dead.
Mikey looks like he has lost his last friend.
Mikey walks downtown, lost in thought.
He wakes up a bit on noticing young men milling around the
steps of City Hall. It becomes clear that this is a
recruiting drive for guards and Draculoids.
That would be disturbing enough on its own, but not as much
as when Mikey sees Johnny walking up.
Mikey pulls Johnny back.
What are you doing?
Johnny gives Mikey a disgusted glance.
What does it look like?
They killed your sister!
Exactly! You can't beat them!
So join them?
Anything to get out of this dump.
Johnny, you can't! It's not worth
It's better than ending up like
you. Or Jenny.
Without even thinking Mikey punches Johnny and sends him
Now you'll fight me?
Johnny lunges at Mikey, swinging hard. Mikey takes the punch.
Johnny has a lot of anger, but he has not been training for
months like Mikey. As Mikey is about to retaliate, he stops.
Perceiving this as a weakness, Johnny gets ready to punch
Mikey catches Johnny and pins his arms, and realizes there is
nothing for him to do. He needs to save it for when it will
do some good.
Shaking his head, Mikey releases Johnny, and they stand
looking at each other, panting.
Fine. That's how you want to live?
Good luck with that.
Mikey walks away, and Johnny shouts after him.
Yeah, you better leave!
Mikey keeps walking. He tries to let it go, but as he makes
it home the rage is boiling over.
Mikey finds Gerard sitting outside with his headphones on.
Gerard sees Mikey and removes his headphones.
Mom told me to get some fresh air.
Like this? Why not just bring out
Mikey really had resolved to be more understanding, but this
is the wrong day.
Did you ever think about just
getting over yourself?
Oh that's rich coming from you.
What's that supposed to mean?
Yeah, you're totally with us.
At least I actually have to leave
to be gone. You've become the
Gerard gets up.
Nice talking to you.
And now you leave. It's better than
acknowledging anything I've said.
You don't know what it's like! I
found someone who made everything
better. I'd just look at her, I'd
hear her voice, and I'd be happy,
just like that. And now she's gone,
and she's not coming back.
Mikey is hurt in a way that Gerard cannot know, so all Gerard
hears is bitterness.
Right, no one suffers but you. Got
That's not what I said.
It doesn't matter. I'm going out.
You haven't been in.
Mikey heads off again, restless and angry.
Gerard is instantly regretful.
But Mikey's already too far gone.
EXT. GREENVALE HIGH SCHOOL AND NEARBY WOODS
Mikey walks by the high school.
Still unused, windows have been broken out, and there is
graffiti all over the school, with Draculoid and Mousekat
heads, as well as regular tags and phrases.
Mikey keeps walking into the woods, finding the clearing
where he and Jenny had laughed and talked about running away.
Mikey drops to his knees, drained.
It's no good Jenny. I hurt my
family. I hurt your family. I can't
do anything right.
Mikey is startled by the sound of gunfire. He jumps up and
There is another shot, and some laughter. It's not a fire
fight, whatever it is.
Mikey cautiously heads towards the sound and finds Ray and
Frank doing some target practice. The laughter dies as they
They silently look at each other, time and memories between
I just want to say that I'm sorry.
I still think we did the right
thing, but it sucks, and I'm sorry
Mikey shakes his head.
It's past. Whatever you're doing
now, I want in.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Invictus, by William Ernest Henley