Monday, September 13, 2010

Inferno aka Operation Cobra (1997)


Back of DVD:

An ex-interpol officer (Don "The Dragon" Wilson), now DEA Agent tracks the man who killed his former partner to India, where he finds himself on a one-man mission to clean up the criminal underworld. There he is forced to use his Interpol police training to deal with the most ancient customs in the underbelly of foreign culture.


Movie Review:

A 90's action movie filmed in India, directed by Fred Olen Ray, produced by Roger Corman and starring Don "The Dragon" Wilson. This is going to be special.

In a museum, Don "The Dragon" as Kyle Connors, and his partner Trevor are on a stakeout, hoping to stop an illegal trade from going ahead. Watching from a distance, Don spies a guy in a ponytail buying a CD from some chump who gets double crossed and his neck broken. Before he flees, the ponytail guy arms a suitcase bomb. Don's partner Trevor (Rick Hill, the Deathstalker!) goes to disarm the bomb even though Don says that he is the expert, while Don runs after the ponytail and gets a few shots in, a brief kickbox and then gets his arse handed to him. The museum explodes, Don's partner apparently dead, and Mr. Ponytail gets away.



The next day Don gets chewed out by his Captain (christ these movies are all sounding familiar...). He is thrown off the case but after some pleading and whining that "Trevor was my best friend", the Captain says Don can have a "holiday" and gives him the case files. Off Don goes to India to catch Mr. Ponytail (Evan Lurie if you are wondering, a minor veteran of 90's actioners like T-Force, American Ninja 2, Ring of Fire 2, wrote and produced Hologram Man and apparently was in Double Impact with JCVD). The whole movie takes place in India, with a 90% Indian cast. This was pretty refreshing. The scenery was different to the usual downtown LA (or Bulgaria on all the recent DTV efforts) and the acting more interesting, mostly due to the thick accents I guess, all speaking English.

Don arrives at the motel and makes eyes at the counter girl. This is a recurring theme in Inferno; Don the ladies man. When he leaves he is followed by some uniformed Indian thugs but he doubles back, and when one is struggling to find a lighter for his cigarette Don emerges from the shadows and lights it for him (champage comedy!). Then beats the crap out of him. They are at a market so fruit stands and pottery go flying. Don is arrested and told to return to the USA; an Indian officer is told to escort him to the airport. Along the way they nearly hit a girl who is fleeing more uniformed thugs and run into a monastery. Don kicks their arses (again another recurring theme. Don is the man!) but the girl knees the Indian cop in the balls and steals his car! That's gratitude.



Elsewhere, Mr. Ponytail enters a computer lab to see that his workers are running on schedule decrypting the CD he stole that night from the museum (apparently he intends to do bad things with it). When the team lead complains he needs more money to complete the job, Mr. Ponytail takes him into another room and slits his throat. It's very arty as it's all seen through a window only with no sound. Who ever said Fred Olen Ray couldn't direct? Well, everybody really. The second in charge is now promoted dead-mans-boots style and gets on with the decryption.

This is a very, very silly movie. The fights are pretty good but I was laughing throughout most them. Most of the Indian fighters are chubby or wearing floral shirts and obviously no match for Don. I mentioned Don is a ladies man in this; well the first time with a girl is when he returns to his motel with the other cop to make a phone call and the motel receptionist is waiting in his bed! He kicks her out and when the cop asks who that was Don very cleverly responds "Room service." Gold. Don also goes to a restaurant to meet up with a contact who can help him find Mr. Ponytail. She's a totally out-of-place blonde cougar in her 40's with absolutely MASSIVE cans (Jillian Kesner). The woman works for MI6 in England and is trying to get to Ponytail guys boss, Grayson (Michael Cavanaugh). Then for whatever reason they go back to Don's hotel and she gets her puppies out for Don to play with. Don really has no idea what to do in love scenes but it's fun to watch him squirm.


Some other highlights are the second love scenes with the Indian girl who stole the car earlier - complete with wet shirts under a waterfall - and Don's killing of a cobra let loose in his room. As the thing slowly slides under his covers Don shoots it through his pillow across the room and it splats against the wall. Don and his adopted cop partner go to a dodgy nightclub called The Dive (and it is) and we see the local Indian population grooving in their floral shirts to Bollywood-style electro. It's hilarious. Outside the club Don almost gets strangled by a noose hung from the roof by one of those uniformed thugs again, but then he has a fight in front of an elephant - just to really remind us we are in India. Don agrees to do an assassin job on Grayson for the MI6 cougar in exchange for help in getting Mr. Ponytail (his name is actually Davaad but I prefer Mr. Ponytail). Not is all as it seems and another player in this game is revealed.

Inferno is fun silliness with Don taking on half of india with fists and guns, all to avenge his dead partner. The alternate title Operation Cobra comes about because the bad guys are called the Cobra gang or something. It makes more sense than Inferno. I don't know what that is referring to; perhaps the disco inferno at The Dive? Doubtful.

Worth checking out for a laugh and would go down well at a movie night with beers and like-minded chums.


The Video:

Pretty respectable presentation on this cheap R4 DVD released by RAAM Multimedia (who I'm pretty sure are some affiliate of Payless). Adequate colour and sharpness and presented in (most likely) OAR 1.33:1. Runtime 88 minutes.

Sourced From:

Dick Smith bargain bins for $2 (I love RAAM, Payless and Flashback releases!)


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  1. You're right: this is a silly action flick, but you gotta love Don The Dragon Wilson!

  2. Got that right, some more Don Wilson films i'd reccomend are: Whatever It Takes, The Last Sentinel, the Bloodfist films, Moving Target, Out For Blood, Red Sun Rising, Crooked, The Prophet, Virtual Combat and the Cybertracker films.

  3. Thanks venom, I have all the Bloodfists to watch soon, as well as Out for Blood, Prophet and the CyberTrackers. So many movies, so little time!