Cobra (1986) – Review

4 Stars

Cobra was heavily influenced by the moral ambiguity of Dirty Harry and the visual style of Miami Vice. It also has one of the coolest posters of the 1980’s. During this era Stallone made two films for Cannon films Inc. and their respective owners Menahem Golan & Yoram Globus. Cobra is the superior film and production to 1987’s Over the Top. Although that film has its guilty pleasure moments as well. Star and director of Rambo: First Blood part 2 have been reunited to forge another hit for the (at the time) world’s biggest movie star.

Los Angeles policeman Lt. Marion “Cobra” Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone) is a member of the ‘zombie squad’, an elite task force that fights crime with the same code as the criminals he faces off against. He’s been described by Stallone as, “A rock ‘n Roll cop, who’s not constricted to the limitations of lawfulness.” An early scene in a grocery store where Cobretti takes out a gunman is a powerful sequence that still works today.

A secret society called New Order is targeting “weak” members of society for execution. After witnessing a murder, Cobra takes model Ingrid (Brigitte Nielsen) under his protection. As the pair bond they find shelter in a small town outside of the city limits, but the killers have mounted a small army to storm the town. The picture climaxes with a man-to-man battle in a steel mill.

Outside of the Rocky and Rambo series this was one of the biggest hits for Stallone during the decade. I’ve always been surprised that a follow-up film never materialized. Cobra seems to be a perfect start to another franchise for its star. Even as a one-off, it’s an irresistible cocktail of violence, 80’s cool, and vibrant filmmaking.

Director:George P. Cosmatos
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Brigitte Nielsen, Brian Thompson

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