I am not ashamed to admit that not only is “Cobra” a child hood favorite of mine, but it’s a movie I still quite love, if only for its unique villain. When you take a pumped up anti-hero like Cobra, you have to give him someone to match, and George P. Cosmatos gives us a serial killer cult leader who plans to lead a New World Order of other serial killers. Their plan is to begin a new civilization by—um—killing a lot of people? I wasn’t quite sure what the big plan was. The muddled plan by the film’s villain is made up for by Brian Thompson who is just the ultimate bad guy on film. He’s creepy, menacing, and can deliver lines with his deep grunt that make him sound otherworldly. The best aspect of “Cobra” though is Sylvester Stallone who plays Marion “Cobra” Cobretti. How cool and convenient is that name?
In either case, Cobretti is a Lt. who is apart of the “Zombie Squad” which is a group of officers that get things done other officers can’t. I imagine there are group of other guys like Cobretti running around the city like Phil “Python” Pythonstein, Laura “Steelheart” Metalez, and Hank “Badass” Badassovich. Cobretti doesn’t play by the rules and justifies murdering vicious criminals by the bodies they leave behind. He’s married to his job and loyal to his partner and mentor Sgt Tony Gonzales, as played by the great Reni Santoni, who keeps him in check. They are trying to find out why women all around the city are being ritualistically murdered. Little do they know underground there’s a cult of serial killers following an enigmatic knife wielding maniac known as “Night Slasher.”
After murdering a young woman in her car, they’re spotted by young Ingrid who manages to get away in time. Brigitte Nielsen is at her prime here, playing the gorgeous witness to the serial killer cult, and goes under the protection of Cobretti and Tony. They’re trying to grab some information from her and lure Night Slasher out as he begins looking for ways to find her and kill her before she reveals more secrets about the cult. But things go awry when Cobretti realizes someone in the force is working with Night Slasher, which begins his mission to get Ingrid far from the city. “Cobra” is a fun mix of The Punisher, Dirty Harry, and “Death Wish” with Stallone pretty much playing something of a mid-eighties greaser whose shtick is almost never off.
One moment he’s driving a vintage car which doubles as a high speed hot rod, the next he’s cleaning his gun in front of a TV with gun oil he keeps in an egg carton in his fridge. He isn’t even afraid of the Mexican gang that loiters outside of his building, and by gum, they respect him because he’s “Cobra.” George P. Cosmatos’ action thriller is a fun late eighties Stallone vehicle, and one I’m sad never gained momentum like “Rambo,” since Cobretti is basically an inner city Rambo at the end of the day. It’s goofy action fun and it gets better every single time I watch it.