Tuesday, June 30, 2015

COBRA (1986)

"You're a disease and I'm the cure."

George Michael-impersonator (from the "Faith" video) Marion 'Cobra' Cobretti is the person the cops call when they have a tough situation...like a lone dude with only a handful of shells for his shotgun, who's holding people hostage in the back of a grocery store.  There's still no explanation as to why all of the people in the front of the store are still inside, but whatever.  That dude is the disease and Cobra is the cure.  Turns out the criminal is part of a growing cult of weirdos who call themselves the "New Order" that have some kind of hatred for modern society or something, I don't know.  All I do know is they enjoy hanging out in an empty swimming pool and clanging axes together.

One evening, a fashion model (Brigitte Nielsen) accidentally witnesses some of the cult members killing a woman on the street.  So then in an attempt to silence her they declare an all out war on her, complete with multiple assassination attempts, exploding 18-wheelers, car chases, knife fights, hotel shootouts, motorcycles crashing through doors, cars jumping off of buildings, a car crashing into a boat, fire bombings, drive-by shootings and so on.  It's the worse attempt to hide a crime of all time!

That said, I still like COBRA in a weird, nostalgic 80's action movie kind of way.  It's nowhere near as awesome as COMMANDO or STONE COLD, it's more of just a fun movie to laugh at than to take seriously. Stallone's character is barely even able to put a sentence together, he wears sunglasses, gloves and a jacket inside and then wipes sweat off his tired brow, he uses scissors to eat pizza and he has a vanity license plate.  On top of that...the story is silly, breathing corpse in autopsy room, Brigitte Nielsen is not the best actress around, microphone visible, a very impressive supporting cast, the New Order cult is never clearly defined, pretty Los Angeles locations, there's heavy-handed stuff about how the cops arrest the bad guys but the evil liberal judges just keep letting them out and the big finale shootout/boss fight is lacking.  Although it does look like one of the motorcycle riders drives over another dude's hand!

Worth a watch for 80's action fans, but I just wish there was more to it.  According to Wikipedia the original cut was nearly 50 minutes longer!!  I would love to see that version...or a Part 2!   I also found it interesting that not only does this film owe a lot to the DIRTY HARRY series, it actually has the killer from DIRTY HARRY (Andrew Robinson) playing the co-worker that Cobra keeps butting heads with!  That was pretty neat.
Mic clearly visible.

Stunt guy getting his hand run over?

Monday, June 29, 2015

COOL AS ICE (1991)

From the cinematographer of SCHINDLER'S LIST and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN comes the preposterous story of a young rapper, Johnny Van Owen (Vanilla Ice), who's riding with his crew through a small town when suddenly his homeboi's bike starts trippin'.  Forced to stay in this two-bit town until the bike is repaired, Vanilla fills his time by flirting with the only attractive girl in town, Kathy...whom Vanilla calls "Kat" because he is clever.  Added to this already exciting drama (bike getting repaired, Vanilla courting Kat) is the nail-biting news that Kat's father (Michael Gross) is actually in the Witness Protection Program and now the people he's hiding from have found him!  Will Vanilla be able to save the day and still have time to jump his motorcycle over a fence, dance randomly, randomly rap, drive his motorcycle through the wall of a house, ride a horse backwards, wear sunglasses at night and go across the street to, uh, schling a schlong?  Probably.

Based on the film's (current) 2.8/10 IMDb score and all of the snide comments you see online about this film, you would think that it's an incompetent turd of a movie, but it's actually fairly entertaining.  The story is straight forward, the photography by longtime Spielberg collaborator Janusz KamiƄski is quite impressive, the music numbers are worked seamless into the story and not forced, the supporting characters are all memorable, interesting set designs and the acting by the whole cast (yes, even Mr. Ice) are all perfectly fine.  Honestly, I enjoyed Ice's playful manner and goofy lines like "...I'm just cooling." and "Then let's g-o."

Recommended for people who don't take life 2 seriously and/or fans of cheesy 90's cinema.  If I had the means, I would gladly finance COOL AS ICE 2: STILL SCHLIN' DAT SCHLONG with absolutely no regard to if it made money or not.  I'm also curious as to why the song "Ice Ice Baby" was not used?