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Cobra Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Cobra Blu Ray Poster

Directed by George P. Cosmatos
Written by Sylvester Stallone
1986, 87 minutes, Rated R
Released on January 22nd, 2019

Sylvester Stallone as Marion Cobretti
Brigitte Nielsen as Ingrid
Reni Santoni as Gonzales
Brian Thompson as Night Slasher
Andrew Robinson as Det. Monte
Lee Garlington as Nancy Stalk
Art La Fleur as Captain Sears

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The city of Los Angeles is caught in the grip of a wicked serial killer known only as The Night Slasher. There are sixteen victims to date and police are nowhere near catching this maniac. The latest murder scene leaves a witness behind and soon she is the next intended target. The police reluctantly bring in Lt. Cobretti, a one-man assault team who follows his own set of rules. Cobretti believes the killings are the work of more than one individual and he is correct. An army of psychopaths bent on slashing their way to a “New Order” are stalking the streets. Members of this cult are everywhere ranging from businessmen to the ranks of the LAPD and all share an insatiable bloodlust. Cobretti is charged with getting the witness into protective custody until her attacker can be caught, but the odds are against him as he is outnumbered at every turn.

We don’t learn a lot about the cult, but every time we see them they are deadly serious. Members are first seen in cutaways during the opening credits standing in an empty swimming pool performing a synchronized axe-tapping ritual over their heads. The first cult member we are introduced to is a jerk taking hostages at a grocery store. It is here that Cobretti is called into action, where he heroically wastes the dirt bag using all the force he deems necessary. The leader of the cult, a man known only as the Night Slasher (Brian Thompson, Doctor Mordrid), is an imposing figure with a deadly stare and a very large knife. In the wake of the latest murder, he sets his sights on Ingrid (Brigitte Nielsen, Red Sonja), the witness at the scene, and pursues her to the hospital where he kills anyone who gets in his path. Cobretti arrives just in time to rescue her and the chase is on with cultists never far behind.

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Sylvester Stallone shoots his way through plenty of bad guys until he gets to their leader and the two face off inside a working foundry. Molten lead adds an additional level of danger to the scene which pits cop against psycho in a fight to the death. It’s no surprise how this match ends, but it is still fun to watch Stallone go through the paces. Thompson is intimidating as the psycho who gives as good as he gets in this death match. Cobra moves at a very fast pace, as Stallone had the picture recut shortly before release, removing almost half an hour of material which leads to some interesting continuity errors. None of the deleted material appears on this release, but is readily available on YouTube.

Thirty years ago, a wave of movies mixed traditional action with the horror genre and featured our heroes facing off against brutal serial killers. By 1986, Stallone had two thriving franchises running with his iconic characters of Rocky Balboa and John Rambo. He tries to strike cinematic gold a third time with Lt. Marion Cobretti, a cop on the edge, bringing down the worst society has to offer. A movie’s hero is only as strong as its villain and it is here the movie succeeds. The “New Order” cult is a great concept and the idea of an army of psychos is popcorn fun for Stallone to destroy. Genre fans will spot a lot of familiar faces in the supporting cast, including Andrew Robinson (Trancers III), Art La Fleur (The Blob) and Lee Garlington (Psycho II) as cops and Marco Rodriguez (The Crow) as the supermarket shooter. Cobra is certainly no Rocky, but does share some flair of the Rambo series. The movie has developed a cult following of its own and still turns up in repertory screenings from time to time. Don’t go in expecting much more than a fun ride and you should leave satisfied.

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Video and Audio:

Cobra debuted on Blu-ray in 2011 with a serviceable transfer that got the job done without knocking anyone’s socks off. Scream Factory has struck a new 2K restoration of the original film elements and the results are really satisfying. Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the image is much sharper and colors really pop. Black levels are bottomless and there is plenty of small-object detail in hair and fibers.

A DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track packs a punch, giving the rear speakers a workout. Gunshots and other sound effects are robust and music cues are full without ever becoming intrusive. Dialogue is always clear and free from hiss or distortion. A DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix is also included, but I prefer the expanded track.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

Director George P. Cosmatos delivers an informative albeit lackluster commentary that falls victim to onscreen narration. He has a lot to say and the track is informative, but there is too much explaining what is happening in the scene. He is fairly critical of a few key sequences in the film and seems at odds with some of the creative decisions. It’s a bit tedious at times, but worth a listen overall.

The most welcome addition to this Collector’s Edition is a series of newly recorded interviews with various cast members, starting with actor Brian Thompson. In Stalking and Slashing (26 minutes), the actor gives some background on his career and the audition process for Cobra. He is candid when it comes to his memories of the shoot and he cannot find a kind word to say about Cosmatos. He talks about run-ins with the special effects technicians and getting minor injuries during the shoot. Not all of his memories are fond, but he appreciates what the film did for him professionally.

Marco Rodriguez sits down for the segment Meet the Disease (24 minutes) and reflects on his big break in movies. He discusses working with firearms, improvising on set and working with the biggest movie star in the world. He brought his original copy of the Cobra script to the interview and reads select passages aloud.

Feel the Heat (14 minutes) catches up with actor Andrew Robinson, who kicks things off by revealing the original ending to the film. He confirms that Stallone did much of the directing himself and ran the set like a boss. He admits Cobra is not his favorite type of film but has positive memories of the work.

Actress Lee Garlington appears in the segment Double Crossed (9 minutes) and shares her memories of working on the film and shooting her death scene.

In A Work of Art (8 minutes), Art La Fleur is the most generous person when it comes to his experience working with Cosmatos and Stallone. He has nothing but kind words and insists he never had any problems during the shoot. He’s an instantly likeable guy who loves telling stories.

A vintage featurette (8 minutes) is pretty standard EPK fare featuring interviews with Stallone, Cosmatos, Brigitte Nielsen and stunt coordinator Terry Leonard. There are clips from the film as well as some behind-the-scenes material.

The original teaser and theatrical trailer have been included.

There are two photo galleries; the first provides 56 images of promotional stills in color and black and white and some behind-the-scenes shots as well. The second gallery contains 65 images of international poster art and lobby cards that reveal the film’s marketing campaign.

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Movie: Threeandahalfstars Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fourandahalfstars
Audio: Fourstars
Features: Threeandahalfstars
Overall: 3.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
Robert Gold
Author: Robert Gold
Staff Reviewer - USA
Robert's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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