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Cobra – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

I kid you not, I absolutely love Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra. Its the most ridiculously over the top, dark and grimey 80s cop action/thriller you’ll ever find. The film both rocks and is one of the craziest things you’ll ever see in your life. Scream Factory giving the film a Collector’s Edition is both one something I never saw coming and something that excited me at the very same time. It’d actual make for a perfect double feature with another Collector’s Edition Scream Factory did this month in the Charles Bronson film 10 To Midnight. Unsurprisingly, both carry the Cannon Films motif on them. Cobra will feature some new interviews and scan for this release, which you can pick up at any time as it was release on the 22nd of January. Ordering is made super easy when you scrolling on through (After reading, please) and click the Amazon link at the bottom. So kick back with an original Coors, order a pizza cut by way of the scissor and watch one of the most entertaining Sylvester Stallone films ever made. 

Film 

Originally published as a part of the Naptown Nerd Beverly Hills Cop Retrospective (July 2013)

Lt. Cobretti is a one-man assault team whose laser-mount submachine gun and pearl-handled Colt .45 spit pure crime-stopping venom! Sylvester Stallone stars as Marion Cobretti. But to those who know him – and those who wish they didn’t – he’s Cobra, a street-tough, big-city detective who does jobs nobody else wants or dares to do.  This thriller pits Cobretti against a merciless serial killer. The trail leads to not one murderer but also an army of psychos bent on slashing their way to a “New Order” – and killing a witness along the way. Fortunately, her protector is Cobra, a man who delivers vigilante justice like no other!

Cobra came out of the script Stallone was wanting to use for Beverly Hills Cop and took with him when he walked away. He used an adaption of the novel Fair Game (which was also made into another movie with that title starring Cindy Crawford and Billy Baldwin).  Stallone may have dropped many story elements that coincided with Beverly Hills Cop, but a few characters, story elements and sequences remained the same.

Cobra is pure 80s action trash and I’m not afraid or ashamed to admit I love it.  Every little stereotype and perk of these things is present and exaggerated, brought on in full force and celebrated in Cobra.  Everything from the license plate “AWSOM 50” to Stallone telling lame ass jokes that people have to force themselves to act like they’re funny.  This film was nominated for plenty of Razzies and was destroyed by critics.  Screw ’em.  They can bring the hate, but there’s no denying the enjoyment one can have watching this film.  Cobra drinks a beer in the middle of a grocery store shootout.  HE CUTS HIS PIZZA WITH SCISSORS!

This is the 2nd film collaboration between Stallone and then wife Brigitte Nielsen (and this won’t be her only appearance in this retrospective!).  She plays a model who is hunted by a gang of serial killers after witnessing a murder.  A gang of serial killers that sits in their lair clanking axes and other weapons together in unision!  Yes, you read that right.  At night, they gather in a circle, take their slaying weapon of choice, raise them over their head and clank them in tribal fashion.  Marion Cobretti (haha, the name is so awesome) takes on the task of putting her under his protection.

The film feels an attempt at creating a modern Dirty Harry.  Stallone takes it way over the top though and creates a character just completely consumed by the stereotype, leaving us nothing else.  He’s got one liner after one liner and a itchy trigger finger.  “You’re the disease and I’m the cure” may not have taken off as much as “Go ahead, make my day”, it’s still so damn hilariously awesome.  Also, instead of hunting one anonymous psychopath we get a group of them.  To help, Dirty Harry vets Andrew Robinson and Reni Santoni are in the cast as well.  There’s plenty of correlations leading one to believe it was the intention of the film to make a modern Dirty Harry.

There’s plenty of action in the film.  I still think the end shootout in the motel leading to a car chase is pretty rad.  First you get a survival “nowhere to go shootout” in the motel which provides plenty.  But after we’re treated to Stallone in the back of an El Camino with a machine gun and bikers chasing after and jumping at him from the car.  Its a pretty active finish, leading to a one on one with the head serial killer in a foundry.  Yeah, its that crazy, but its crazily entertaining.

The Cobra car is actually Stallone’s own car he put in the film.  See the dedication of the man?  The thing takes a beating and ultimately is totaled during a mid-movie chase.  However, many replica’s were created so his real one isn’t abused.  Stallone famously had the car stolen from his garage back in 1994, too.  Just a few years ago, however, through a lawsuit with an auction company, he was able to be happily reunited with his vehicle.  Maybe THAT’s what’s holding us up and we can finally get Cobra II: The Viper’s Venom.  The movie was actually a big success and had (at the time) Warner Bros highest grossing opening weekend.

One thing I have to bring up…ROBOTS.  The film contains the ever so famous Stallone montage sequence which actually amounts to nothing when you look at what is going on in the film.  But, the focus is Brigitte Nielsen doing a model shoot surrounded by robots.  Its pretty bizarre.  Add to this Rocky IV giving Pauly his own personal servant robot and one has to wonder what Stallone’s obsession with robots is at this time.  Did he think they were taking over, that fully functioning human replicant cyborgs were just around the corner?  Just strange…adding to some of the “did i just really see that” fun that comes with the movie.

Cobra is a movie you definitely gotta see.  Especially if you are an action fan.  Its by far my favorite Stallone adventure outside of the Rocky and Rambo series.  If you want a movie that delivers every trope that the 80s action genre gets flack for, this is it.  This is Stallone going all in.  Its a big budget Hollywood B-movie posing as an A picture at its finest! Its got serial killers, robots, one liners, guns a’blazin’, car chases, explosions all down to the synth score and the generic 80s pop/rock tunes forming the score – IT FREAKIN’ DELIVERS!

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail:  Scream Factory’s release of Cobra comes with a brand new 2K scan from original film elements. Admittedly, the film looks a little bit softer but a lot more natural in its cinematic appeal. Details and textures are still quite strong to go with a nice complimentary grain structure in place.

Depth:  Depth of field tends to depend on the lighting of a given scene or the amount of fog placed on it from time time in order to make a good impact. When its on, its on, when its off it can look pretty average. Movements are pretty cinematic wit no real motion issues noticed during the viewing.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and pretty flirty with looking natural at times. The film sells on the grit and the saturation and overall look and discernibility on the color delivers.

Color Reproduction:  RED! That’s the color that is key as its everything to this movie and is portrayed quite strikingly at times and looks quite confident in filtered sequences. Aside from a few fashion flashes with Nielsen’s character and fire, there really aren’t any popping colors in this dark and gritty crime thriller.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are solid from start to finish of the film. Facial features like sweat beads, stubble, dried blood, make-up, moles and more come through in all close-ups and most medium shots.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  Cobra appears to have retained its 5.1 track from the previous Warner Bros release. It gets the job done pretty well, delivering in action and playfulness in utilizing other speakers. The mix is for the most part well balanced and rarely feels like its showing its age. The important fact is that its loud and its pretty good.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer gives a good bump in shotgun blasts, auto crashes, punches landing, fire roaring and more.

Surround Sound Presentation:  This is more a front focused track, but it does frequently utilize the rear channels, mainly in a sense to build up what’s already going on up front.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp and at appropriate times feels louder in the mix.

Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • With Director George P. Cosmatos

Stalking and Slashing (HD, 26:00) – An interview with actor Brian Thompson. He opens up discussing his experience on The Terminator and isn’t sure if that had anything to do with getting a call for Cobra. With Cobra he was extremely excited being a big Rocky fan and hopes people who auditioned didn’t think he was a “rube that fell off the bus”. There’s a good moment he talks about sharing with Stallone in terms of him offering the role. Thompson goes over bit by bit his experience in shooting it and has an honest reflection in his lasting feelings on the film.

Meet the Disease (HD, 24:05) – An interview with actor Marco Rodriguez. The antagonists from the opening tells his story of originally auditioning for Brian Thompson’s part (To which is agent accidentally told him he go the part, not realizing it was the second one he read for) and walks through his experience in shooting the film while also anecdoting some other stuff he worked on along the way.

Feel the Heat (HD, 14:15)  – An interview with actor Andrew Robinson. He opens with discussing the original scripted ending and how his offhand observation completely changed it to Stallone’s liking and it was changed on the spot. Robinson didn’t really like the script going in (To which he admits he wasn’t too fond of Hellraiser, either). Andrew is a bit deeper on his craft and completely honest in how he approaches the film and the analysis of working on the film and doing his best to hold up the film.

Double Crossed (HD, 9:05) – An interview with actor Lee Garlington. She’s pretty brief but lighthearted about it all (“We didn’t really have a shooting schedule”), even though she talks of a lot of shouting on set. Admittedly she holds back on things (“Oh the stories I can’t tell you right now”) and says she mainly tells what they tell her to do. Lee says Stallone was an intelligent man and felt like he didn’t know what to do with her when she was around (“I was a girl so I couldn’t be a friend. I didn’t work for him. I wasn’t a sex object, I wasn’t a guy”). She mentioned he and Nielsen married during the shoot.

A Work of Art (HD, 8:23) – An interview with actor Art LaFleur. He starts with a story of where he was at when he got word that he was getting hired by Cosmatos for Cobra. LaFleur liked Stallone a lot and felt like “Sly directed a lot of it, thought George was quite loud.” Funnily, he didn’t get to meet Brigitte Nielsen very much because Stallone was “getting it on with her”. He’s kind of general, though sometimes surprisingly honest in his responses and repeats a couple things a few times. They ask him of potential deleted scenes, but he has no recollection of cuts that were made.

Vintage Featurette (SD, 7:50) 

Teaser Trailer (HD, 1:20) 

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:55) 

Still Gallery: Photos (HD, 4:35)

Still Gallery: Posers and Lobby Cars (HD, 5:19)

Summary 

Cobra f***ing rules! I love it. Scream Factory is giving it love with a worthy upgrade featuring all new interviews, a new look for the film and more. Unless Stallone returns some day to have a commentary or do an on-camera interview, this is pretty much as good as we are going to get. And what we get is pretty terrific. Fans will easily want to embrace and pick up this new release!

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Cobra – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    I’m going to need to pick this one up!