Director: George P. Cosmatos
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Brigitte Nielsen, Reni Santoni, Brian Thompson
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
Now I know what you’re thinking: what am I doing talking about this 80s action blockbuster for all you horror fans? Well, the horror masters over at Scream Factory released the new Blu-ray of it under their label so that’s good enough for me. But besides being a shining example of 80s action and one of the better Sylvester Stallone movies, it is about a cop fighting a psycho cult of axe murderers led by a serial killer called The Night Stalker with one of the most memorable knives ever captured on film. Oh, it is also one of my all-time guilty pleasures from the decade of decadence, so yeah I’m going to tell you about it. So grab your axe, your stylized .45 to stuff in your pants, a matchstick to chew on, and let’s find out.
There’s a cult of wackos in LA that range from guys in business suits to grungy biker types, but they all like to gather in dripping warehouses, clang axes rhythmically together, and murder the “weak” to make the world ready for the “strong.” Stallone is a cop and part of the Zombie Squad (they never say what that is, only that it is “the bottom line”) who is after the cult and their leader, The Night Stalker. He is also protecting his leggy, Amazon-like girlfriend at the time, Brigitte Nielsen, who plays a model (of course) captured by the cult. Can Stallone save the day, save the girl, and stop the cult? Come on, it’s an 80s action flick, what do you think?
I love this way-over-the-top movie. It is epically eighties in style, tone, and plot. There’s plenty of cheese, and machismo drips off the screen. Brian Thompson is great as the cult leader and Sylvester Stallone is at his tough guy, monosyllabic best. George P. Cosmatos is credited as the director, but according to some of the people there, the real eye behind the camera was Stallone and it is surprisingly good.
On to the special features on this new Blu-ray release from Scream Factory. First there is an audio commentary track with the director, George P. Cosmatos. There is a 26-minute interview with The Night Stalker himself, Brian Thompson, that I found very refreshing, insightful, and honest. Of the director he said, “I suppose I should say something nice about George P. Cosmatos, but I can’t think of anything.” It’s rare to get that kind of candor and I love it. There is a 24-minute-long interview with actor Marco Rodriguez who played the supermarket psychopath that Cobra took down at the start of the film. There is a 14-minute discussion with genre legend and heavyweight Andrew Robinson, a nine-minute talk with actress Lee Garlington, and an eight-minute interview with longtime character actor Art La Fleur. There is an eight-minute vintage behind-the-scenes featurette, teaser trailer, theatrical trailer, a stills gallery, and a poster and lobby card gallery.
Cobra is unabashed fun as action movies sadly aren’t anymore. It has horror elements, including a scene right out of Halloween II, but no, it’s not really a fright flick. That being the case, I still highly recommend it to all. For one of Stallone’s best and a great blast from the past, pick this up. Highly recommended.