In 1986 crime was a disease and Marion Cobretti was the cure!
It’s an ordinary day and people are minding their own business and doing some shopping, when into the store wanders the character you can recognize a million miles away in this type of movies… The psycho! With a shotgun and a homemade bomb he holds the whole store hostage. The police arrive, but as always things get out of hand and one of the hostages gets killed. The maniac rants on about a new world order and how they’re going to take over the world. The police, unable to handle the situation, call in… the Cobra!
With screeching tires he arrives in his 1950 custom Mercury… Marion “Cobra” Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone). With his blue jeans, black shirt, leather jacket, sunglasses and a match firmly set in the corner of his mouth, he’s the epitome of cool! He walks in, takes out the bad guy and as he’s leaving the store the press surrounds him and a reporter asks him if he used unnecessary deadly force. Cobra simply answers that he used everything he had.
These are the first ten minutes and they set the tone for the remainder of the movie. The director George P. Cosmatos, who has also directed, among others, the second Rambo movie, Leviathan and Tombstone, pulls no punches with this one. Cobra is a classic 80’s action flick with all the helpings. An übercool hero, psychotic criminals, a damsel in distress and a partner who gets shot. And by the way… that’s NOT a spoiler, because you know the drill and you’ve seen it all before. Did I mention that Cobra doesn’t get along too well with some of his superiors? What a surprise, huh? And he also doesn’t get along well with some of his fellow police officers. Oh, I bet you didn’t see THAT coming, huh?
The aforementioned psycho belonged to a band of criminals who kills indiscriminately and preys upon the weak in our society. They’re starting a New World Order where only the strong will survive. The local police are baffled and clueless until they get a surviving witness in Ingrid Knudsen (Brigitte Nielsen), who has seen the leader called the Night Slasher. He sets out to kill her and it’s up to Cobra and his partner Gonzales to protect her.
Gonzales is played by Reni Santoni who’s been in Dirty Harry, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (we’ll get back to that at a later point in time) as well as a bunch of TV series and movies. A great actor!
The two officers try to take her to a safe house, but the bad guys seem to know where they are all the time and Cobra suspects they have a leak in the department. A leak in the department?? Were you surprised NOW? No? Well… neither was I and to be quite honest, you as a viewer has known who the snitch was from the start. To make a long story short there are shoot-outs, explosions and car chases, oh my…
There’s also a bit of social commentary thrown in, in the sense that conventional methods don’t seem to deal well with this type of psychopathic criminals. You have to go outside the norm and that’s where people like Cobra come in. All through the climactic end-fight the Night Slasher goes on about how Cobra won’t kill him and that he has to take him in because that’s the law. He has to let the court decide his fate, but… we all know that won’t happen ‘cuz as Cobra dryly states: “This is where the law stops… and I start… sucker!”
I can’t think of anyone else than Sylvester Stallone for this part. He nails it perfectly as the tough but gentle-hearted, health-food loving Marion Cobretti. I’ve never really cared for Brigitte Nielsen much, although I’ve seen a bunch of movies she’s been in like Red Sonja, Rocky IV and Beverly Hills Cop II.
The Night Slasher, played by the awesome Brian Thompson, is someone you don’t want to meet in a dark alley or in broad daylight for that matter. He is SO creepy and completely devoid of empathy. You’ll no doubt recognize Mr. Thompson from a lot of movies and TV work. He’s been in Three Amigos, Alien Nation and The Terminator (he’s one of the punks that has their clothes taken by a naked killer cyborg). He played the alien bounty hunter on The X-Files and Eddie Fiori in the short lived Kindred: The Embraced. He’s also been on three different Star Trek series.
As I stated earlier, Cobra is a classic 80’s action flick and I for one, enjoyed the ride. Sure I poke a little fun at it but that’s just because I like it so much.
Hey, you know what? I’m gonna go again!
Wanna join me?