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Friday, 2 November 2007

Cobra


On the surface Cobra may sound like a tough nickname. It could conjure images of a man that has lightening instincts, a man that is volatile, unpredictable and lethal. But when the man in question wears reflective sunglasses, black shirts, jeans, leather gloves and stubble, you can't help but feel the nickname has a hidden meaning. After all, what else is a cobra but a long slithering thing that stands erect and squirts hot venom into people's faces? And just bear in mind the ensemble I've just described. It's exactly the same ensemble that George Michael wore in 'Faith' (and Sly actually says at one point, "You've gotta have faith"). I can't wait for Cobra 2: The Cottaging.

But Cobra's true nature is revealed in other ways. At one point he confesses that his real name is Marion. And he was so ashamed of it that he decided to hide his girly name by creating this Cobra alter ego. But unfortunately machismo and gayness are bosom buddies. The more macho you try and make yourself, the more gay you ultimately become. It's a circle, man. You start off on the wheel of heterosexuality, but the more hetero you try and make yourself, the more likely you are to spin off onto the wheel of the gay.

Another hint at Cobra's confused mental state is his confession that he doesn't really get along with women. He's happier sucking on the match he perpetually keeps in his mouth and hanging out with his partner. However, Brigitte Neilsen eventually persuades the reluctant hero to kiss her, but unfortunately she's about as feminine as male sodomy. You're fooling no one, Cobra.

And whose bright idea was it to have Brigitte Neilsen in the film, anyway? Oh yeah, it was probably Sly's. But anyway, she's supposed to play a meek witness, a woman of great vulnerability. Yeah, right. She could kick Sly's butt in a heartbeat, as well as the hundreds of people Cobra mows down in the process of the film.

And there's another reason why her casting is stupid (besides the fact that she can't act and that she's about as sexy as a visit to the proctologist): she's considerably bigger than Sly. Just watch the film. Every time you see them in a long shot together, she has to either stoop, kneel or actually get on her knees so that we can't see what a midget Sly is. You insecure, Cobra? Yep, that's more evidence.

Yet more proof is the fact that Cobra drives a muscle car that has nitrous oxide in it. It's such a ridiculously macho thing for a cop to have that again it becomes so straight that it turns gay. Dirty Harry didn't need no nitrous. All he needed was an unfeasibly large gun.

And it's quite amusing how the film tries (and fails) to successfully ape Dirty Harry. Fascist cop: check. Large gun: check. Insane bad guy: check. Goddamn liberals getting in the way: check. But while Harry, in the hands of Clint Eastwood, was a man who was believably tough, Stallone instead comes over as nothing more than a preening girly-man in bad clothes.

But again on the subject of Dirty Harry, it's amusing that the goddamn liberal cop in this film is played by Andrew Robinson, the Scorpio Killer. And although he doesn't get to kill anyone, he does get to hamper the hero with talk of laws and due process. And so outraged is Cobra that at one point immediately after getting read the riot act he whips out his gun and fires at a target in a shooting range. Translation: wouldn't the world be a better place if cops could just kill people on sight? After all, cops never make mistakes...do they?

And the media is no better. In the opening scene the airy-fairy, Martini-drinking, liberal low-life hacks have the audacity to question the Cobra's methods. Why talk when a bullet cures all ills?

However, there was something interesting I noted in the film. Quite often, when something bad happens, there's a Pepsi sign behind Cobra's head. Is this a criticism of 80s greed? Is it comment on rampant consumerism? Nah, it's nothing of the sort. It's a celebration of those things. I mean, there's a bit at the start where Cobra, for no justifiable reason whatsoever, interrupts a fire-fight so that he can take a sip of some sweet, sweet Coors lager. He might as well have just winked at the screen.

But more disturbing than all of this is a horrible 80s montage where Cobra hits the streets. He's on the look out for the mad killer. But unfortunately this 'macho' sequence is accompanied by some abysmal 80s pop rock abomination. And then to make it even worse, every time we hear synthesised drums we get a flash of Brigitte Neilsen in a photo-shoot...in a swimsuit...surrounded by robots (?). If this is a love poem from Sly to his ex-wife then stab me in the eye quick because I don't think I can take it any longer.

1 comment:

Greig Johnston said...

Ha. That review is gold mate. I really liked your review of Rocky IV on IMDB, and then I found this place.

Love your work.