The Great Movie Re-Watch
George P. Cosmatos
A tough-on-crime street cop must protect the only surviving witness to a strange murderous cult with far-reaching plans.
Cobra has a lot of tropes that have become overused, or it has stuff borrowed from much better works. Stallone’s character, Marion Cobretti, seems influenced by Dirty Harry and a character played by Steve McQueen in The Reivers. He’s also named after John Wayne. It’s too much for me.
It’s all a bit heavy-handed, and there are a couple of my least favorite tropes in action movies. Stallone gets the girl after being a dick to her. They have sex while she’s being chased by a violent cult of murderers that like to bang axes together. There’s a genuinely awful montage about halfway through the movie. It is painful to watch and doesn’t fit in with the film. There are several attempts by Stallone to be funny, some running gag about eating healthy, but it comes off as weird and awkward.
The original director’s cut was two hours long, but they cut stuff so that they could get more showings in theaters. Stallone was apparently in charge of or had a say in what was cut, so they cut many scenes with other characters. Which explains at the end of the movie where his partner is shot and then disappears until Stallone is putting him in an ambulance.
Reading the Wikipedia entry for this movie is peak diva Stallone. The man sounded like he was unbearable while filming this. Not just making the movie all about him to the detriment of the plot, but he wanted the author who wrote the book this was loosely based on to re-release the book and list him as coauthor—the absolute ego on this man.
The best part about Cobra was the tagline, “Crime is a disease. Meet the cure.” Everything else was too over the top, cliché, and honestly too dark, in my opinion. It might as well have been set in a post-apocalyptic world with how L.A. was depicted. Not a fan.