Cobra (1986)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Police Detective Film, Chase Movie  |   Release Date - May 23, 1986 (USA)  |   Run Time - 87 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jeremy Wheeler

Sylvester Stallone's Cobra is the epitome of ultra-violent '80s cop flicks. Made just a year after their collaboration on Rambo, director George P. Cosmatos takes the action star to new cheese levels with the character of Marion Cobretti, a hard-nosed cop that -- surprise, surprise -- does not play by the rules. With his mirrored shades and a match in his teeth, Cobra lives to be the one renegade cop to end all others. Seen in this light, the flick is a glorious example of violent masculinity that could only exist in the Reagan Era -- in fact, Stallone even has a framed picture of the esteemed president in his office! Looking back, the film couldn't be any more stereotypical -- there's the hero's amped-up vehicle that gets trashed before the film is done, never mind the expendable partner, corny one-liners, and constantly pissed superior officers. What Cosmatos brings to the film is his firm grasp on action directing that's highlighted with fine stunt work and superior choreography (as evidenced in the pickup truck chase in which Sly is mowing down evil biker cultists). The cult in question puts an interesting spin on the flick, as it gives the film a misogynist horror edge that might have stemmed from the slasher pics of its time. In the villain role, Brian Thompson is perfect as the hulking maniac -- even if he repeated this same performance one too many times afterward (most notably in 1988's Alien Nation). In the end, the problem with the film lies in its nature, which will easily not gel with audiences looking for anything other than a slick '80s pic with Stallone spewing one ridiculous line after another as he struts around in tight blue jeans, blowing things up and smooching his then model wife-turned-horrible actress, Brigitte Nielsen -- but then again, if they're not watching Cobra for that, then what's the point?