How long do you think the members of so-called "New Order" knock their axes together? I'm no expert when it comes to ritualistic axe knocking, but I'd say no longer than five minutes. Sure, the Night Slasher, their non-charismatic leader, can knock axes till the cows come home (he has the upper body strength to handle a full day's worth of axe knocking). But what about those of us who can't hack it? (get it, hack it). We've got axes to knock, too. Or, I should say, we've got axes to grind, too (man, I'm on fire today). Is there no place for weaklings in the New Order? Even though only me and probably around five other people thought this, I still think the axe knocking sequence that opens Cobra, a glorified commercial for Pepsi and Coors, was what inspired the music video for "New Mind," the opening track from Swans' Children of God album. Granted, no axes are knocked together, but there's plenty of axe swinging. Anyway, as any child of the 1980s will tell you, the poster for this movie was everywhere during the spring of 1986. And even though Sylvester Stallone is the epitome of lame, the shot of him on the poster wearing his signature aviator sunglasses holding a Jatimatic SMG below a tagline that reads: "Crime is a disease. Meet the cure," is the stuff of one-sheet legend.
This leads to the question: Does Cobra live up to its poster? Yes, I realize this question should have been answered years ago, but now is a good a time as any. Nonetheless, you could say the poster and the movie are exactly the same. Both are flat and square. Zing!
Seriously, did you see that photo of Ronald Reagan on the wall of Lieutenant Cobretti's office? Ugh! I have no problem with people admiring Ronald Reagan nowadays (time has a habit of distorting history). But admiring him during 1980s?!? That's just plain wrong.
Moving on, since Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen both possess a minimal grasp of the English language, it's up to Lee Garlington to carry the brunt of the film's linguistic burden. Oh, wait, that's right, she only has a handful of lines. That being said, the way she says the word, "Yes," in response to the query: Are you drunk?" was the best line delivery of the entire film.
(Um, the line is actually: "Have you been drinking or something?") Either way, her delivery of the word "yes" was spot-on. Okay, now that we cleared that up, let's circle back and try to sort through this humongous turd in a calm and rational manner.
I'll give the filmmakers some credit, the opening credits are pretty cool. Sure, they begin with Marion 'Cobra' Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone) reciting crime statistics in an overly serious manner, but I liked the way the shot of a man riding a motorcycle was edited together with footage of the New Order knocking their axes together.
It turns out that the guy on the motorcycle (Marco Rodríguez) is a member of the New Order and he's heading to a nearby supermarket to cause a little trouble.
Pulling out a shotgun, the so-called "Supermarket Killer" blows away the produce section. At first I thought he had a grudge against veggies, but it's clear that his agenda has got nothing to do with the evils of asparagus. Holding a group of shoppers hostage, the Supermarket Killer demands that he get access to the media. While the cops (lead by Detective Andrew Robinson and Captain Art LaFleur) have the store surrounded, they're at a loss. Realizing that he's probably going to regret saying it, Art LaFleur suggests they call Cobra.
Now, I don't know what it is about Cobra that makes him so special (as far as I know he has no superpowers). Nevertheless, Lieutenant Cobra saunters into the store without a care in the world. How do I know he was carefree? Let's just say people who walk around in public with a unlit matchsticks in their mouths are the definition of carefree; they're also the definition of pompous jackasses, but let's try to focus on one thing at a time.
Personally, I think he's perfect for this particular job because he doesn't seem to care about the rules. Yeah, I think that's it. Oh, and, by the way, the reason Cobra doesn't care about the rules is because he plays by his own rules.
Case in point: When the Supermarket Killer threatens to blow up the store with a bomb, Cobra replies: "Go ahead... I don't shop here." See what I mean?
When he's done taking care of the shotgun-wielding psycho at the supermarket, Lieutenant Cobra heads home to eat cold pizza and clean his gun. He would have gotten home sooner had it not been for the unruly Hispanic gang members who decide to harass the hard-boiled cop outside his apartment. Wait a minute, I think I got it the other way around. Call me crazy, but I think Cobra was the instigator. Think about it, the Hispanic gang members were simply minding their own business when this colossal douche comes along and starts causing shit.
As you might expect, it's tough to root for the film's hero when he's so thoroughly unpleasant. That being said, the film's villain, the Night Slasher (Brian Thompson), isn't that appealing either. I know, he's not supposed to be "appealing." But other than the axe knocking thing and that freaky-looking knife he carries, there isn't really much to this guy.
What this film needs is a montage. One that features Sylvester Stallone shaking down lowlifes and Brigitte Nielsen posing for pictures set to "Angel of the City" by Robert Tepper. Yeah, this is what it needs and this is what it delivers.
The best thing about this montage is the fact that "Angel of the City" drowns out Sylvester Stallone's dialogue. Screw that noise. The best thing about this montage is the sight of Brigitte Nielsen posing up a storm for a robot-themed, wig-tastic photo shoot. Work it, girl!
After Brigitte Nielsen's Ingrid witnesses the New Order murder a woman at the side of the road, she finds herself in their cross-hairs for the rest of the movie. Anyone care to guess who's put in charge of protecting Ingrid? That's right, Lieutenant Marion 'Cobra' Cobretti. And, yep, his real name is "Marion."
Since staying in the city is not a viable option (both Ingrid and Cobra are nearly killed by the New Order), they decide to relocate to the country. And it's during this relocation period that Brigitte Nielsen says to Sylvester Stallone: "Can ask you something?" When I heard her say this, I was like, Noooooo! Why would you want to ask Sylvester Stallone ask something? Nothing good can come from this. And just like I predicted, nothing good does come from this. If I had to sum up this movie using only one word, it would be: Asinine.