'Cobra' DVD Review ** 081105

The Work = **
So, there are those of you out there who enjoy the cheesy type movies. If you know what 'MST3K' is and love it, than you may occasionally enjoy watching a cheesy movie and laughing your butt off. I am one of those people. Now I don’t always like to do it because sometimes the cheesy movies are really bad and just boring. (That’s where 'MST3K' comes in with its great jokes that can make one of the boring ones become entertaining.)

'Cobra' is what I would consider an entertaining cheesy movie. It is certainly not a movie I can recommend and I would never call it a good film. However the movie is silly in so many scenes that I ended up laughing my way through it. Cobra stars Sylvester Stallone as ‘ahem, Lieutenant Marion “Cobra” Cobretti who is referred to sometimes by his last name and sometimes as “the Cobra” or sometimes just “Cobra.” 'Cobra' the film is the second G.I. Joe movie that was made after the success of... Just kidding.

'Cobra' is Stallone’s foray into the 'Dirty Harry' cop movie type genre. Evidence of its similarity to the Clint Eastwood film can be seen in its plot devices and also its cast (Reni Santoni and Andrew Robinson were both in 'Dirty Harry'.) Cobretti is described by his partner as looking like a guy cut out of the 1950s.. Too bad he looks like a guy cut out of 1980s cheese. The filmmakers apparently realized this so they decided to “hint” that Stallone is a man of the 50’s... There is some joking about Cobretti’s first name, Marion which was in fact, John Wayne’s real first name. Still not convinced he is a man of the fifties? Well he drives a supped up (and admittedly nifty) 50’s Merc. There now you are convinced...

So who does Cobretti go up against? A gang of axe clanging bikers who, I swear I’m not making this up, often use a van to corner unsuspecting victims and cut them up with a funky looking knife. Cobretti is on to the biker gang and does his best to track them down. Of course Cobretti’s bosses think there is only one killer on the loose and scoff at the idea of there being more than one assailant. (Even after Cobretti is attacked by and kills several of them outside of his apartment.)

The gang gets sloppy and a witness gets away. The witness is Ingrid and is played by then attractive and now wack-job model Brigitte Nielsen. Ingrid is attracted to Cobretti’s stubble and long trench coat and begins to fall for the Italian Stallion as he protects her from the legions of goofy, overacting, biker gang members. She really shouldn’t be afraid because Cobretti is so tough that he carries a 45. with the hammer cocked and a cobra painted on the handle tucked into the front of his pants . I kept waiting for either: A) people to report a suspicious 'Miami Vice' reject walking around with a gun sticking out of his trousers or B) Cobretti to pull the piece and blow his, uh... other piece off.

I could go on and on about the silliness of 'Cobra'. It seems to want to rip off everything it can so it can get someone from every imaginable demographic to check it out. There is the slasher movie type scenes with the biker gang cutting up people. There is the ripped off 'Terminator' style close ups of the lead bad guy changing his appearance and looking at himself in the mirror. There is the unbelievably silly choice of music that has lyrics almost literally describing what is going on in the film at the time. Annnnd there is the action sequences with Stallone mowing down dozens of never ending biker bad guys.

This is not director George P. Cosmatos finest hour. Cosmatos directed one of my favorite movies, 'Tombstone' and I thought he did an excellent job there. Here with 'Cobra' he seems unable to make anything exciting out of the scenes. (There are a few exceptions, such as some nice shots and the brief sequence where Cobretti is attacked outside his apartment.) Stallone has done some good films and really can act. Here, he also is the writer and he crams so many different elements together that the film just felt like a wanabe’ mishmash of scenes and elements from much better films.

DVD = ***

The Look
'Cobra' gets a weakish’ transfer but that is not a huge surprise as this was a fairly early DVD release. It is certainly not the worst transfer I have seen but it could be better. The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

The Sound
The film gets an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track as well as a 2.0 French and a 2.0 Spanish track. There are also subtitles in English, French and Spanish. I only listened to the English track and it sounded OK to me. Those 80s sounds came through pretty clear.

The Bonus
The DVD actually has a selection of slight extras. There’s a group of Stallone oriented movie trailers, including the trailer for 'Cobra'. Some text info screens with brief info' on aspects of the film, most notably Cobretti’s car and guns. There is a vintage featurette from when 'Cobra' came out. It’s a piece of fluff but it including it was a nice touch. Lastly there is a commentary from Cosmatos who spends much of his time narrating what is happening onscreen.

Cosmatos seems completely oblivious to the cheese fest he has helmed but hey, if I had directed 'Cobra' I probably wouldn’t realize it was so silly either. Take his observations about a sequence from one of the car chases in the film where Cobretti pulls a 180 spin on the highway, shoots a car chasing him, and then pulls another 180 to speed off down the highway. He rightly observes that this has been lifted and used in other films such as 'Die Hard With a 'Vengeance'. However he misses that the sequence plays pretty silly in 'Cobra'.

Not only does the car not lose any speed but Cobretti must have exploding bullets in his nifty machine pistol because it causes the pursuing to truck to explode apart and flip over.... Yeah. He does mention that he had to make several cuts to the movie to avoid an X rating. I have to say it is a shame that Warner Brothers didn’t release this film in its uncut form. I may not be a fan of the film but hey, it deserves to be shown in its intended fashion.

All Together = **
What can I say? This is not Stallone's or Cosmatos's finest hour. This is one cheesy movie that I had fun watching and laughing at but I cannot recommend. According to IMDB this flic made almost 50 million (!) at the box office and close to 30 in rentals. It must have its fans out there and if you are one this is a no brainer’ to pick up. Fans of cheesy flics' have a brew, sit back and enjoy the over the top mayhem and lunacy that is 'Cobra'! Everyone else beware.


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