Meet The Cure: A Sort of Tribute to Cobra

172AITHPodcast1Sylvester Stallone will often tell anyone who’ll listen about the mistakes he has made in his career. For every Rocky there is a Rhinestone, for every First Blood, there is a Rocky 5. While the 1980s was a fruitful period for Stallone commercially, by the end of the decade, he was in steep decline. It would be easy to blame the changing tastes of the viewing public, but the simple answer is that Stallone just picked too many bad projects, too often.

For instance, Stallone was originally attached to Beverley Hills Cop. It was not due to be a comedy, but more of an action vehicle (which would probably have been just as funny, but just with an unintentional twist). Stallone eventually left the project (and the rest is history) and jumped on to an adaptation of a book called “Fair Game” by Paula Gosling. Stallone took his trusty screenwriting pen to the book and added a sexy car, mirror sunglasses, tight jeans and excessive matchstick chewing. Fair Game became : Cobra.

Cobra is one of the most ridiculous, overblown, stupid and pompous examples of 1980s faux machismo you are likely to see. This is Stallone laying his bloated ego out like some sort of hideous modern art piece, while he stands beside it with a smug look on his face, nodding knowingly as you inspect.

Only in the 1980s (and in a Stallone written script) could you have had a hero named after a snake, and referred to with that name by everyone, regardless of rank or authority. They don’t just call him “Cobra” or “Snake-face” or “Coby”, no, they call him “The Cobra”. The only reason for this seems to be because his real name is, hilariously, Marion Cobretti. Therefore the nickname of “The Cobra” seems to be the natural step for people to take, rather than “Maz” or “Girl-name-face”.

“The Cobra” works on the “Zombie squad”, which is not as cool as it sounds. He does not arrest zombies, though he wears jeans so tight that he walks like one, which is most probably how he got on the squad. Maybe the whole squad is full of people who wear clothes so tight they resemble the undead. The Zombie Squad is actually an elite street execution force you call in when everyone wants to go home early. “The Cobra” seems to be the only person on the “Zombie Squad” which leads me to believe it’s a body hygiene issue.

You call “The Cobra” when you have no other option. The opening scene of Cobra is a perfect example of this. A lunatic with a shotgun has taken over a supermarket, killed a hostage and is threatening to kill more. The police decide that rather than call in a negotiator, it would be best if they called in an armed dwarf with penis compensation issues, who wears very tight jeans and drives a cool car. I am sure that he will bring the situation to an amicable conclusion.

Our two senior police men decide that they should “call the Cobra”, like he is some kind of Batman like figure. “The Cobra” arrives, goes in and within minutes kills our bad guy in cold blood. Before he dispatches the shotgun maniac, “The Cobra” finds time to engage in some of the most toe curling dialogue you are likely to hear:

SUPERMARKET PSYCHO
Come on, man. I got a bomb here. I’ll kill her! I’ll blow this whole place up!

COBRA
Go ahead. I don’t shop here. Just relax, amigo. You wanna talk? We’ll talk. I’m a sucker for good conversation.

SUPERMARKET PSYCHO
I don’t wanna talk to you! Now you bring in the television cameras in here now! Come on, bring it in!

COBRA
I can’t do that.

SUPERMARKET PSYCHO
Why?!

COBRA
I don’t deal with Psychos. I put ‘em away.

SUPERMARKET PSYCHO
I ain’t no Psycho, man! I’m a hero! You’re looking at a fucking Hunter! I’m a hero of the New World!

COBRA
You’re a disease and I’m the cure.

This is the kind of dialogue that only an ego the size of Belguim can type up and believe is worthy of putting into a film.

The plot of Cobra revolves around a gang of neo-fascist thugs, led by the self-proclaimed ‘Night Slasher (Brian Thompson)’, breaking into people’s homes & cars, then killing them at random. One night a murder is witnessed by a young woman, Ingrid Knutsen (Brigitte Nielsen). She drives away before the thugs can kill her, but it isn’t long before some creepy-looking people start making attempts on her life. “The Cobra” plans to move the only witness to the blood spree upstate, but with inside information, the thugs follow them and a battle for survival rages between Cobretti and the thugs.

Cobra is a special film, and by special I mean it operates on a plane of reality usually reserved for simpletons and idiot savants. Stallone must have had his word processor wired up to a giant block of cheese when he wrote it. Time has not been kind to this labour of toothpick and tight jeans. The dialogue clunks so much it is like listening to a run of Stomp in which the floor was replaced with hot coles.  It is remarkably ridiculous and unreservedly stupid.

The writer would like to have us believe that “The Cobra” is a complex chap with more layers than a glass onion. Truth is, “The Cobra” is as complex as a one-coloured Rubick’s Cube.  In fact the only battle that rages within is when he gets in and out of his jeans. Don’t let that tough, macho exterior fool you though, he is actually a really nice guy.

Cobra wasn’t Stallone’s last folly of the 1980s, if only it were. It was just one of many.  His choices became more and more bizarre and desperate, culminating in the unmitigated disaster of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, a sad foray into comedy (well, Arnold did it and succeeded, must be easy) that he never really recovered from. Stallone is still making action films now (well into his 60’s) and while it can be argued that they are exactly the same level of quality as Cobra (i.e. rubbish), they will not be remembered. Cobra holds a special place in our hearts for being just so exceptionally and uniquely crap.

Originally posted 2013-03-29 17:22:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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