Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Beverly Hills Cop Retrospective: COBRA!!!!

Director: George P. Cosmatos
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Brigitte Nielsen, Andrew Robinson, Brian Thompson, Lee Garlington
Rated: R

I don't deal with psychos.  I put 'em away.
                ~Marion Cobretti

Oh helllll yes I found a way to work Cobra into a retrospective!  I was pretty happy when i realized I could pull this off.  Cobra came out of the script Stallone was wanting to use for Beverly Hills Cop and took with him when he walked away.  We discussed it last time and I didn't go much further on it, wanted to leave it as a tease.  He used an adaption of the novel Fair Game (which was also made into another movie with that title starring Cindy Crawford and Billy Baldwin - I won't be covering that one).  Stallone may have dropped many story elements that coincided with Beverly Hills Cop, but a few characters, story elements and sequences remained the same.

Cobra is pure 80s action trash and I'm not afraid or ashamed to admit I love it.  Every little stereotype and perk of these things is present and exaggerated, brought on in full force and celebrated in Cobra.  Everything from the license plate "AWSOM 50" to Stallone telling lame ass jokes that people have to force themselves to act like they're funny.  This film was nominated for plenty of Razzies and was destroyed by critics.  Screw 'em.  They can bring the hate, but there's no denying the enjoyment one can have watching this film.  Cobra drinks a beer in the middle of a grocery store shootout.  HE CUTS HIS PIZZA WITH SCISSORS!
This is the 2nd film collaboration between Stallone and then wife Brigitte Nielsen (and this won't be her only appearance in this retrospective!).  She plays a model who is hunted by a gang of serial killers after witnessing a murder.  A gang of serial killers that sits in their lair clanking axes and other weapons together in unision!  Yes, you read that right.  At night, they gather in a circle, take their slaying weapon of choice, raise them over their head and clank them in tribal fashion.  Marion Cobretti (haha, the name is so awesome) takes on the task of putting her under his protection.

The film feels an attempt at creating a modern Dirty Harry.  Stallone takes it way over the top though and creates a character just completely consumed by the stereotype, leaving us nothing else.  He's got one liner after one liner and a itchy trigger finger.  "You're the disease and I'm the cure" may not have taken off as much as "Go ahead, make my day", it's still so damn hilariously awesome.  Also, instead of hunting one anonymous psychopath we get a group of them.  To help, Dirty Harry vets Andrew Robinson and Reni Santoni are in the cast as well.  There's plenty of correlations leading one to believe it was the intention of the film to make a modern Dirty Harry.
There's plenty of action in the film.  I still think the end shootout in the motel leading to a car chase is pretty rad.  First you get a survival "nowhere to go shootout" in the motel which provides plenty.  But after we're treated to Stallone in the back of an El Camino with a machine gun and bikers chasing after and jumping at him from the car.  Its a pretty active finish, leading to a one on one with the head serial killer in a foundry.  Yeah, its that crazy, but its crazily entertaining.

The Cobra car is actually Stallone's own car he put in the film.  See the dedication of the man?  The thing takes a beating and ultimately is totaled during a mid-movie chase.  However, many replica's were created so his real one isn't abused.  Stallone famously had the car stolen from his garage back in 1994, too.  Just a few years ago, however, through a lawsuit with an auction company, he was able to be happily reunited with his vehicle.  Maybe THAT's what's holding us up and we can finally get Cobra II: The Viper's Venom.  The movie was actually a big success and had (at the time) Warner Bros highest grossing opening weekend. 

One thing I have to bring up...ROBOTS.  The film contains the ever so famous Stallone montage sequence which actually amounts to nothing when you look at what is going on in the film.  But, the focus is Brigitte Nielsen doing a model shoot surrounded by robots.  Its pretty bizarre.  Add to this Rocky IV giving Pauly his own personal servant robot and one has to wonder what Stallone's obsession with robots is at this time.  Did he think they were taking over, that fully functioning human replicant cyborgs were just around the corner?  Just strange...adding to some of the "did i just really see that" fun that comes with the movie.
The first time I saw Cobra I was just a kid.  I was in Chicago with a friend and his parents.  The parents were asleep and it came on WGN late at night.  We decided to watch it like we were getting away with something.  As a kid under the age of 10 (and in a different era), this was a really dark and kinda scary movie.  I was quite thrilled with it the way it was intended to be.  Now, looking back at it I get a lot of laughs and enjoy some crowd pleasers for some of the wrong reasons.  But I still love Cobra.  On my sister's 26th birthday recently, she just saw it for the 1st time.  It was her birthday, we were just hanging out doing nothing and that's what she picked to watch.  And of course, she loved it.  Might be the best birthday decision she's ever made.
Cobra is a movie you definitely gotta see.  Especially if you are an action fan.  Its by far my favorite Stallone adventure outside of the Rocky and Rambo series.  If you want a movie that delivers every trope that the 80s action genre gets flack for, this is it.  This is Stallone going all in.  Its a big budget Hollywood B-movie posing as an A picture at its finest! Its got serial killers, robots, one liners, guns a'blazin', car chases, explosions all down to the synth score and the generic 80s pop/rock tunes forming the score - IT FREAKIN' DELIVERS!

Next Time: We pick back up with Axel Foley in BEVERLY HILLS COP II

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