Plot: Los Angeles policeman Lt. Marion “Cobra” Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone) finds himself at the center of a spate of murders carried out by a secret society called New Order: killers who select “weak” members of society for extermination. As the murder rate rises, Cobra takes model Ingrid (Brigitte Nielsen) into protective custody after she witnesses New Order’s leader in action. As Cobra falls for Ingrid, they find shelter in a small town, but must soon fight for survival.
It was 30 years ago today that Cobra was released in theatres but at the time it was seen as a disappointment with a total of $49 million domestically. It was hardly a disaster though because it would go on to make $160 million worldwide; it was supposed to be a new franchise for Stallone which sadly never happened.
Cobra also didn’t get particularly great reviews but over time it would grow to become a cult favourite and genre fans would celebrate it as one of Stallone’s better movies.
It was a strange crossover between a cop thriller, 80’s action movie and slasher flick all rolled into one. Cobretti was clearly a riff on Dirty Harry; a cop who plays by his own rules where authority figures don’t like his overly harsh methods, but dammit all he gets the job done and looks cool while doing it.
Some of it even feels like a music video at some points especially the scenes featuring the followers of The Night Slasher but that’s all part of the charm. It was also a Cannon film so cheese was guaranteed and it delivered on that front too.
Stallone has rarely taken himself too seriously and as I’ve mentioned before in Cobra he very much has a twinkle in his eye, especially the fact that his first name is Marion. He also has a car with the licence plate AWSOM 50; the car is the rather wicked 1950 Mercury Coupe and is used in this car chase.
As we all know by now there is apparently a workprint (which I’ve never been able to find) which is X rated; some of the footage contains the first murder victim having her hands severed; an extended autopsy scene, including lingering shots of naked and mutilated bodies; a longer death for Ingrid’s photographer Dan, including a shot of him slipping on his own blood while trying to escape; more deaths of the townspeople during the climax, including a person getting hit in the face with an axe.
To this day I still would love to see the longer, harder cut but it seems unlikely.
Either way, Happy Birthday, Cobra; you’re still awesome!