10 Of My Favorite Bad Movies – #4 COBRA
My track record with Father’s Day pretty much sucks. I think my Dad still holds a grudge for making him see Robocop 2 as his Father’s Day gift in 1990. Honestly, I can’t forgive myself for that. I mean that movie… I can’t even begin to write how bad it is. But that was not my first “Father’s Day Faux Pas”, oh no, there is a special movie that tops it. See, I have this weird relationship with the movies of Sylvester Stallone. It is a pretty abusive one. I keep thinking Sly is going to treat me right and then, just as it seems things are getting better (i.e. First Blood or Rambo: First Blood Part II) he turns around and smacks me around with something really harsh and awful. Cinematically speaking, I pretty much play Tina Turner to Sly’s Ike. How does this relate to Father’s Day and my Dad?
Say hello to Cobra, one of Sly’s most awesomely bad movies. Of Stallone’s action flicks, it might just be his worst, not necessarily as bad as Rocky V but that isn’t an action film, that movie was sheer farce. See Cobra was my Father’s Day “Gift” to my Dad in 1986. My Dad is not an action movie guy. He never has been, this movie was no exception to that fact. We went on that fateful Sunday, me armed with the money my Mom gave me to treat my Dad (my allowance, even if I saved it for a year came to 52 cents… yes my Dad was cheap but in reflection he was trying to teach me the value of a dollar but when I can’t even buy a comic book for .52 cents in 1985, the lesson is kind of lost on a 13 year old). I was insanely geeked to be seeing Cobra with my Dad. I mean it was Stallone and it was violent, to a 13 year old boy, that is 2 for 2. Sadly the next 87 minutes did little to bring me and my Dad closer together.
With the exception of the first Rocky and First Blood, all Stallone movies can be summarized in one or two sentences. No seriously, I’m not even joking. Allow me to Demonstrate:
Rocky II – Rocky & Apollo Rematch!
Night Hawks – Sly plays cop who hunts a psycho. For some reason Billy Dee Williams shows up!
Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot – Sly’s career takes a turn for the worse!
Driven – Sly makes me hate the ‘Sport’ of Auto Racing even more!
See 4 Sly movies summed up in under 6 sentences. So here is the one sentence summary for Cobra… Sly protects a chick from a cult of serial killers. Now the ‘chick’ in question is Sly’s future ex-wife Brgitte Nielsen. Brigitte’s range as an actress has improved in this movie from her appearance in Rocky IV. She displays a full range of emotions for an actress of her ability, all 2 of them. She plays someone in shock very convincingly and all it probably cost the production was a few seconds worth of electricity to shine a halogen bulb into her eyes. Her second emotion is that of scared and why shouldn’t she be scared? She’s got a cult of crazed killers after her and the only people to protect her are Stallone and Reni Santoni!
Say why is our boy Sly protecting Brigitte anyway?
See Sly is Marion Cobretti, a cop with a bad attitude who doesn’t adhere to the Los Angeles Police Department’s standards of dress code. Cobretti is a member of a special group of officers referred to as “The Zombie Squad”, which I assume is a group of serious badasses, though for all I know they might actually be a team of undead brain-eaters because Sly’s acting range as Cobretti ranges from disinterested to mumbling. Yup, Sly turns mumbling in to an artform in this movie. So much so that it actually becomes a blip on the emotional spectrum for actors. Anyway, after Brigitte’s character Ingrid (I know, it was a real stretch for Brigitte to play someone with a Nordic name) witnesses a member of the Night Slasher Cult do their business she immediately seeks police protection. The cops are so concerned for her safety that they stick their #1 psycho cop Cobretti on the job. Yes the Police, putting your tax-dollars to work!
Cobretti and his partner Gonzales, the only person who really understands him, take poor Ingrid into hiding. Our man Cobretti is convinced that the Night Slasher isn’t a single killer but rather a whole organization of psychos with the same Modus Operandi. “That’s just crazy talk Cobretti!” you imagine his Superiors responding to this crazy theory “You keep talking like that and I’ll have you busted down to walking a beat so fast your head will spin!” (Note: Not actually movie dialogue, but damn it! It should be!). Knowing that Ingrid isn’t safe in the city, Cobretti and Gonzales relocate her to a small remote town. They are smart and bring back-up in the form of another female cop. But look out kids, she bears the tattoo of the Night Slasher Cult, so you just know she is up to no good!
Soon the whole cult descends upon the small motel everyone is shacked up in (and I mean shacked up as this is a Sylvester Stallone movie so Sly has to get some from the female lead). The small little town is overrun with cultists and it isn’t that time of the year when the Monster Truck Rally comes to town so they aren’t ready for the overflow yet! The cult chases Cobretti and Ingrid all the way to a steel mill, where Cobretti and the cult leader have their big Mano y Mano showdown. The Cult Leader goes out in true, over the top 80’s overkill fashion as Cobretti impales him on a roaming hook AND then sets the poor slob on fire. I repeat, he sets him on fire AFTER the guy is pretty much dead already from having a fucking hook put through him. I guess for an encore Cobretti finds the Cult Leader’s mother and sister, slits their throats and then pours boiling oil over both. Sly can thank me later since I just wrote the ending for Cobra II – The Zombie Squad! (You know he’s thinking about it! You just know it! It is either that or a sequel ot Tango & Cash which… well… ok that would be FUCKING AWESOME~!).
The tagline for Cobra was “Crime is A Disease, Meet The Cure”. This was obviously thought up by some advertising geniuses who hadn’t actually watched the movie because if anything this piece of shit is cinematic herpes and there is not enough mental penicillin on earth to clear this out of your brain!
And this was my Father’s Day Gift to my Dad in 1986! Is it any wonder that I was cut out from the will? Shit, I’m stunned I wasn’t flat out disowned for taking my Dad to see this movie, though it does go a long way to explain why I was shipped off to boarding school… Anyway, there you have it, another Sly masterpiece. Not by any means his worst movie, again he made Driven for fuck’s sake and I won’t mention Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot… wait… fuck I just did! FUCK! You know he’s probably got a sequel for that all thought up. It doesn’t matter that Estelle Getty is dead, shit there are still 2 other Golden Girls left, let Betty White take over the roll or… NO!
Bad James! Stop giving Sly ideas!
To wrap up, Cobra is one hell of a bad movie but damn if you won’t love watching the sheer absurdity of it. It’s got Sly at his mumbliest and Brigitte Nielsen in the role that earned her a Libyan Oscar Nomination (she is like Meryl Streep to the Libyans). Seriously though, give it a whirl, sure it is bad but it is the kind of bad that makes you think “Well, it didn’t kill all my brain cells so it has that going for it!”