Il Giorno del Cobra (1980)

Genres - Action, Adventure, Drama, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Drama  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - Italy  |  
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This crime thriller from Italian cult director Enzo G. Castellari is fitfully exciting, but lacks the consistency necessary to make it more than the sum of its set pieces. The key flaw is the maddening story line, which manages to be over-complicated and half-baked all at once. The constant plot contortions involved in keeping the hero from cornering his prey are more annoying than they are compelling, and the other elements of the story simply rehash other, better thrillers, like The French Connection. Despite its rather derivative nature, The Day of the Cobra has its attributes. The best is Franco Nero's performance; he brings a lot of charm and sincerity to his grizzled cop character. Director Castellari brings a lot of eccentric style to the proceedings, the standout example being a surreal montage of the hero and his son bonding at a baseball field. He also delivers a few worthwhile action set pieces. The rooftop chase that opens the film is quite exciting and there is also a memorably tongue-in-cheek scene where Nero dukes it out with a transvestite in an empty disco. However, the viewer must wade through a lot of clich├ęs and dull passages to get to these moments, so The Day of the Cobra can only be recommended to hardcore action fans.