IHAO on ... Cobra

I recently watched a great video from a series I love on youtube called Screen Junkies.  Tell them I sent you, by the way, I've been trying to get them to send me a T-shirt for a year now!!  Anyway, they did a sports bracket for best action film of the 1980s.  It is a really cool video, and while I understand but don't quite agree with their choices, the thinking and conversations I had about it were awesome.  Take a gander here.  And share this post on there, too!  That'd be neat!

I bring it up because they mentioned a Stallone film, Cobra.  It is a movie I've owned for a long time but never sat down to watch, because I'm a movie collector and an idiot like that.  Seriously.  I have currently in my film library something like 250 movies I haven't watched yet, though some of that is inherited through my lovely wife's collection merging with mine.  Anyway.  Cobra!  With that video fresh on my mind, I wanted to give it a shot.

Heh.  I liked this pun.

Cobra is the story of a man, Marion Cobretti, who is the last line for a police squad in California.  He goes in and stops crooks.  That's what he does.  Well, we get a story of a serial murderer in town killing all sorts of people indiscriminately.  And Cobretti figures out it is a group after the only surviving witness comes to the cops.  But now, the group, a group of cultist-styled terrorists who want to kill everyone in the vague purpose of "survival of the fittest," is going to throw all of their members at Cobretti, the witness, and his partner until everyone is dead.

The film is written by Stallone.  And Stallone does lots of great things in there.  It is very 80s, but unlike Rocky IV, all the montages were used to further the plot and were not TOOOO distracting.  And we see Cobretti do detective work, and have small quite character moments.  The most hilarious was very early on we see him take scissors to a piece of pizza to cut it to a small size.  It is a little unnecessary piece of business, until we learn more and more about how health conscious Cobretti is, which tells us about him a lot.  We see him do police work and paperwork at his home, though admittedly not a lot, just enough to show he does it.  The movie rewards you for picking up on little things, making a deeper experience than an action movie has to.  And the action is pretty great too.  Lots of car chases and shoot outs and clever tactics and a hugely long finale sequence in an Ironworks factory.  It is a fun movie.  But ...

I like this pun, too.  It is also very much tonally different than what I'm about to say, purposefully so.  Thank you, Rikishi and Booker T.

The really crazy thing, and the reason I bring this movie up now, is how different our culture has become since this film was made.  The movies plot is basically "I'm a good cop, I do a good job, and I'm fed up of the court system screwing that up" and Cobretti treated like "villain" for shooting guys up and so on and so on.  The yuppie-hate fills this film, as a hindrance to good police work.  And now ... I don't bring up politics often here, or at all really, but just look at the Ferguson, MO stuff.  And mace cop that became a meme.  And the thousands of other cases similar to those.  Hell, even I've been hassled by cops because they thought it would be fun.  Me, as fat and white bread as can be, pulled over because a friend of a friend who was a cop thought it would be super fun to tail me home with their lights off, including headlights, to scare me senseless.

We do not live in a world where Cobretti is a good guy.  And that makes this film ... unfortunately less good.  You cannot divorce yourself from the themes within a film.  Themes are what a movie is really about.  There is always plot and story, but that isn't what a movie is ABOUT.  Its themes are.  And again, just like with most Stallone films, he wrote it himself, so he definitely had something he really wanted to say in this one.

I liked the movie.  I liked the little quirks and quips and good acting and well written dialogue and interesting, though two-dimensional, bad guys.  I get why others wouldn't.  And I get if the movie's themes leave a terrible taste in your mouth.  But I liked it.  And I think it was pretty good.  Never great, but pretty good, and always competent.

Grade: B+

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