B-Movie Night: Cobra

The ’80s were hell.

There’s something simultaneously entertaining and embarassing about action films from the early to mid eighties. The blatant Right wing propaganda is laughable, until you realise that its simplistic worldview has migrated from the screen and is now the manifesto for far too many politicians in the USA. Fat white men think that because they can legally own a gun they’re as tough as Cobra and need to trash talk anyone who dares suggest they’re part of the problem.

The behaviour of the average Reagan era action movie hero was so sadistic and psychotic that the villains they fought had to be paper thin cartoon caricatures of pure evil if our sympathies weren’t to wander. In Cobra, the antagonists are a biker gang rampaging through LA, killing “the weak” so they can prepare humanity for the coming storm. This horrific Hell’s Angel/hippy/Commie group are led by a blank-faced, heavy browed thug with a messiah complex and a squeeze in the Police department.

Sylvester Stallone, on the other side, is Marion “Cobra” Cobretti, a member of the “Zombie Squad”. He’s the one they call when random bad guys need to be gunned down and not-so-pithy one liners mumbled, but they won’t let him work any proper cases- like the mysterious “Night Slasher” who’s killing folks all around town. But Marion gets his chance when a model called Ingrid unknowingly witnesses one of the killings and is marked for death herself.

Then it’s just a case of working through the shoot-outs, car chases, shooty car chases and final showdown in a factory that seems to exist to bottle flames (the fire storage business was quite big in 1980’s California, if these films are to be believed). All the time, the pencil-pushing, by-the-book know nothings that make up the rest of the Police department keep telling Cobra that he’s off the case but never actually pull him, which is a bonus for Brigitte Nielsen’s character when all of the state’s bad apple bikers turn up at her safe house.

This is a rather nondescript little movie in action film terms, with nothing distinctive about it except for Cobretti’s custom 1950 Mercury. To be honest, I was more concerned for its well-being than that of the blandly blonde leading lady in the big mid-film car chase.

I know I’ve not been kind to it, but you might want to watch this film if you’d like some insight into how the Republican party sees the world. Buy Cobra from Amazon.co.uk.