Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cobra (1986)

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Tagline:

Crime is a disease. Meet the cure.

Back of DVD:

Like Sylvester Stallone's Rocky and Rambo, the hero of Cobra is another original: Lt. Marion Cobretti, a one man assault force whose laser-mount submachine gun and pearl-handled Colt .45 spit pure crimestopping venom.

Rambo: First Blood Part II director George P. Cosmatos rejoins Stallone for this thriller pitting Cobretti against a merciless serial killer. The trail leads to not one murderer but to an army of psychos bent on slashing their way to a "New Order" - and killing the inadvertent witness (Brigitte Nielsen) to their latest blood spree. Fortunately, Cobra is her protector. And full-throttle screen excitement doesn't get any better.

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Movie Review:

If the IMDB listing is to be believed, then somehow I have managed to never see a Canon movie. I own a few on DVD - Missing in Action, Masters of the Universe - and I am aware of others, like the American Ninja and Death Wish series, but these movies are all in the 'to be watched' pile. One of the oldest in that pile was Sylvester Stallone's Cobra, so why not kill two birds with one Stallone (haaa.....) and review an underrated Sly movie and my first Canon movie?

The film opens with the distinctive, gravely slurred voice of Sylvester Stallone over the credits telling us about how violent America has become - a violent crime every 24 seconds, a murder every 20 minutes - followed by shots of some gang members clanging axes together. Flick forward to a supermarket scene where a deranged looking hobo with a bad moustache begins unleashing shotgun fury upon other customers and defenceless goods. The cops arrive and try to talk the madman out of there but they are unsuccessful (the crazy loon sets a guy free then shoots him in the back anyway).

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That's when they call in The Cobra. Stallone arrives, total badass chewing on a match stick, on motorbike with the most awesome pair of aviators you've ever seen. They are like giant mirrors and reflect the scenery perfectly. The detectives fill him in on the situation and Sly sneaks in to the supermarket, stopping to drink an unrefrigerated beer then blows the guy away after a short interchange of words: "I'll blow this place up!", "I don't shop here." Boom!

The Cobra is a great action hero and could have spawned a series of movies. Cobra: Executive Decision? Cobra: Final Impact? Cobra: Explosion Imminent? Sounds great to me. The Cobra is an asshole too. When a pack of Mexican hooligans park in "his" car spot, he simply nudges their car out of the way with his own. The Cobra cleans his guns whilst watching children's cartoons on television. During the ad break he sees a news report about a serial killer called The Night Slasher (played by Brian Thompson who I recognised as the alien bounty hunter from The X-Files, but has been in various 80's and 90's action movies like Cynthia Rothrock's "Rage and Honour", JCVD's "Wrong Bet" aka "Lionheart" and his own starring vehicle Hired to Kill, something I intend to get a hold of and review as soon as I can).

Anyway, The Night Slasher has killed his sixteenth victim and looks to keep the bodies piling up. He and his masked associates attack helpless women in their cars (they're REAL MEN). Cobra wants in on the case but his captain thinks he's too much of a loose canon and denies him. As more women are killed, however, the decision is reversed and Cobra gets to go after The Night Slasher and his gang. I should mention Cobra's partner, the sugar-addicted Sergeant Gonzales (Reni Santoni) who, with his flat driving hat, looks like he should be driving a New York taxi. He obviously plays second banana to Lieutenant Marion 'Cobra' Cobretti and they playfully insult each other. They ask questions around town (to the tune of a horrible song called Angel of the City; woeful 80's pop of the worst kind) in all the sleazy places but get nowhere.

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The Night Slasher and his gang tries for their next victim, Ingrid (Brigitte Nielsen, Red Sonja!), a stripper. After leaving her work she gets attacked in the car park but gets away in her car. She did however get to see the Night Slasher's face and goes to the cops to give her statement to the Cobra. Cobra and his partner try to keep Ingrid safe but the Night Slasher knows that she has seen his face (there's a leak somewhere in the force) and tries to kill her by sneaking into her hospital posing as a cleaner wearing goofy glasses. Genius.

The movie plays out how you think it does - protect the girl, kill the bad guys - and has all the action you could possibly want and justify for a movie like this (lots). There's a pretty sweet car chase of three cars that fly over hills repeatedly (Sly's car ends up in pretty rough shape), crashing through news stands etc. He does a handbrake one-eighty and shoots at oncoming traffic with a machine gun (awesome) and - get this - his car has a Nitrous button! One hit and Sly and Ingrid rocket down the highway, avoiding exploding tanker trucks. Cobra gets chewed out by his captain again, there's a tacky love scene at a motel between Cobra and Ingrid, and it culminates in an all-out war with bikies, grenades and the token finale at a refinery with lots of stealthy stabbings. Gold.

I loved this movie. Why does it never get spoken about? If like me you somehow managed to miss seeing Cobra, make sure you pick up a copy soon and revel in it's awesomeness. It's great 80's B-grade with a Hollywood star action like Raw Deal and Action Jackson.

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The Video:

I have the R4 DVD but I almost managed to obtain a nice 720p HD version of the film that was broadcast on TV. Whilst grainy it was the grain I expect and want from a 1980's action movie. I would be happy to see this master used on an eventual Blu-ray, it was more than acceptable for the source material, and a definite upgrade to my DVD (I did a quick comparison). Runtime 87 minutes.

Sourced From:

The DVD I got so long ago I don't remember. The HD rip I got out there in Internet land, search Cobra HDTV and you'll find it (note: I do not condone piracy; make sure you own the DVD first and we can simply consider this 'media shifting').

Trailer:

More Screens:

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3 comments:

  1. Pure Gold indeed! Cobra is a classic! One of my personal favorites! Really enjoyed your review!

    "I don't shop here!"

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  2. Thanks as always Ty! I'm sort of glad I missed seeing all these movies when I was younger as instead of looking at them with nostalgic eyes, they are a whole new experience for me!

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  3. I can't believe you did this one and I didn't comment! Crazy! This is fantastic, classic 80s excess, the kind of action we don't quite see anymore, but well worth it. Great stuff!

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