A Stallone Guilty Pleasure
Guilty pleasure, a movie which you know is bad, you know is cheesy and laughable yet you still like it. "Cobra" is one of my movie guilty pleasures, ever since back in 1986 as an under aged teen I sneaked into a cinema to watch it through to today I have liked "Cobra" even though I've always thought it totally cheesy, corny and ultimately laughable. But then again many action movies from the 80s, not just Stallone's, were the same and many are still entertaining in a guilty pleasure sort of way.
With a series of murderous thugs lead by the 'Night Slasher' terrorising the streets and the Police unable to stop them, they are forced to call on the services of Lt. Marian Cobretti 'Cobra' (Sylvester Stallone - Rocky III) a member of the Zombie Squad whose methods are not standard police procedure. When a model, Ingrid (Brigitte Nielsen - Rocky IV), escapes an attack by the 'Night Slasher', Cobra and his right hand man Gonzales (Reni Santoni) decide to escort her to safety but find themselves under attack from the 'Night Slasher' and his thugs when they spend a night at a motel.
As storylines go "Cobra" is both simple and straight forwards with a series of crimes which the police are struggling to solve, so they call on Lt. Marian Cobretti 'Cobra' to sort it out even though his methods are not normal police procedure. And of course you can't have it that simple so you need a damsel in distress in the shape of a model who the criminals are after so we get a love interest element. To say that "Cobra" lacks originality wouldn't be in the slightest cruel as the storyline is made up of movie standards, including a semi comical partnership between Cobra and his right hand man Gonzales, a disapproving superior and bad guys straight out of the comic book.
But to be honest "Cobra" isn't about the storyline, which is a good thing as it's as contrived and riddled with plot holes as they come. Nope "Cobra" is really a Sylvester Stallone movie first and foremost where he plays the ultra cool, muscle bound hero. Pretty much every single scene is built around his character, allowing for Stallone to flex his muscles, shoot a lot of guns and bad guys whilst also spouting some ironically cheesy dialogue such as "You're the disease, and I'm the cure". It is to be honest all very cheesy, even the moments of action such as the hostage situation in a supermarket, but this is 80s action and whilst cheesy it's also entertaining in a stupid kind of way.
What also makes it all kind of stupid and ultimately corny is the romantic storyline which builds between Cobra and Ingrid the model he is trying to protect. First and foremost it's rushed, there are no real romantic moments yet comically they get together. But also it's expected and not just because "Cobra" is a generic 80s action movie but because Cobra came bang in the middle of Stallone's marriage to Brigitte Nielsen who plays Ingrid the model. Now whilst Nielsen's acting is not brilliant it has to be said that she does look seriously fit as Ingrid, which is really what her role is all about. Although the almost pop video style modelling shoot is about as corny as they come and also inconsistent with Ingrid having that classic Nielsen short bleach hair one moment then for the rest movie having a gingerish sort of perm.
Aside from Stallone and Nielsen there are of course the bad guys most notably Brian Thompson as 'Night Slasher', the main crazed killer. Well Thompson certainly comes across as monstrous, especially his slow paced walk through a hospital willing to dispatch people with his knife at any point. But it's all rather comical, especially the scenes which feature all the bad guys in some sort of hammer banging ritual. The bad guys are not helped by the casting of Lee Garlington as a corrupt cop who is on their side, she's just too darn nice to be a believable baddie.
What all this boils down to is that "Cobra" is as cheesy as it sounds with an array of corny dialogue, contrived action sequences and an unintentional funny side too much which is meant to be serious. But then it's a guilty pleasure and although it's bad it's also entertaining in a very corny sort of way. Stallone acting as this cool cop, Nielsen as a model and all the stereotypical storyline is laughable but still enjoyable if you don't try and take any of it seriously.