Thursday, 3 November 2016

Cobra (1986)

So the qualification on my recommendation of this film is that you must truly, truly love cheese.  This film delivers high absurdity with total earnestness.  There is not a single moment in the script that suggests that Stallone (who wrote the script from a novel by Paula Gosling) is remotely aware how ridiculous the whole thing is; no sly aside, no wink at the camera, no lampshade in sight.

Of course, the 1980s were a time when people seriously thought Dungeons & Dragons was a recruitment tool for satanists or dispatched 24 boats to scour Loch Ness for a monster.  So it was clearly a very different decade.

But one way in which the 1980s and today are similar are that both are times with considerable popular angst about violent crime rates.  Angst that was much more justified in the 80s than it is today, to be fair.

Cobra is part of the Hollywood reaction against that angst (real world reactions included much harsher sentencing practices).  And since the film comes from Golan & Globus, whose other mid-80s output included American Ninja, Invasion USA and Delta Force you can probably guess for yourself how nuanced and insightful said reaction might be.  But just in case you need some detail ...

There's a secret cult at work in LA.  Their hobbies include gathering in derelict factories to bang axes together, preaching about the "new world", and random acts of murder.  One such act is witnessed by a model named Ingrid.  The cult tracks her down; an easy enough task given that one of their number is in the LAPD; but their attempt to add her to their list of victims goes awry.  They're really going to regret missing on that first attempt, because now Ingrid has come to the attention of police detective Marion "Cobra" Cobretti.  And well, you just have to look at the image above to see how things are likely to progress now.

Cobra is wonderfully terrible.

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