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Cobra

One of the worst action films of the 80's and wallowing in the depths of Stallone's most cringe worthy efforts, 1986's COBRA is violent, stupid and unintentionally hilarious.

Stallone stars as Marion Cobretti, a mid-80's update of Dirty Harry with none of Eastwood's class, stature or wit.

He's the guy they call in when normal cops won't do. As the man behind the screenplay for this mess, Stallone indulges his worst tendencies as an actor.

Posturing with a toothpick hanging out of his mouth, riding big cars and big bikes, he oozes so much testosterone he makes Schwarzenegger look like a pacifist. It's as over the top as the 80's could be, including a hack music score by Sylvester LeVay that's packed with b-talent and forgettable songs to accompany the blood-lust.

There's a vicious gang of thugs rampaging through Los Angeles, chopping, murdering and raping their way to a proclaimed "New World Order". Their leader is the Night Slasher, played by Brian Thompson as a madman who rarely speaks, he's so busy sharpening his knives. When he does speak, it's so low and gravel-filled that he makes Stallone sound positively eloquent.

Brigitte Nielsen followed up her role in "Rocky IV" with her part here as a model stalked by the cult. From her car to the hospital to several stash houses, the thugs chase her and Cobra across LA. She's okay in a role that's so cliche she's given little to do.

Reni Santoni (from Eastwood's original film "Dirty Harry") plays Cobra's partner and the two have the only human rapport in the film. He's decent.

Speaking of "Dirty Harry", remember the serial killer in that film? He was played by Andrew Robinson, who appears here as a Detective at odds with Cobra's tactics.

You've seen their confrontations in a thousand buddy cop movies, including every Harry Callahan flick and Lethal Weapon movie. Predictable and goofy.

Famed schlock producers Golam and Globus were behind the film, insisting that Stallone cut it to under 90 minutes so that it could have more showings a day in theaters. There's no doubt it moves, but there are so many plot holes and unanswered pieces of the story that you feel like there's a better movie somewhere on the cutting room floor.

Then again, maybe not.

It comes to life twice. The first is a very good and ridiculously exaggerated car chase scene. Well staged and shot, cars fly over moguls, soar off of second story parking garages and rage all over the city.

The second is during the finale at a stash house that looks remarkably like the Bates Motel. Cobra is out to spill more blood than Mother & Norman Bates and I think he succeeds. How that scene morphs into a showdown at a steel plant is just one of many jarring transitions that left me laughing.

No 80's action flick would be complete without one liners that our hero says right before he takes you out. And Stallone squeezes a ton of all-time rotten ones into the running time.

"You're a disease and I'm the cure."

"This is where the law stops and I start, sucker!"

"Hey dirtbag, you're a lousy shot. I don't like lousy shots. You wasted a kid... for nothing. Now I think it's time to waste you."

"I don't deal with psychos. I put 'em away."


Brilliant dialogue, eh?

A decent hit in the summer of 1986, it was still considered a box office disappointment, saving us from any more adventures of Dirty Rocky.

COBRA has zero bite, earning a D.



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