Stallone's Black Brotha from another Venomous Motha!
I purchased "Black Cobra", as well as two of its sequels, in a DVD box
set called "Urban Cinema Action", but this franchise really doesn't
qualify as Blaxploitation. This is a quick Italian produced cash-in on
the Sylvester Stallone action vehicle "Cobra", and I have to say these
Italians were becoming more and more shameless. "Black Cobra" came out
just one year after the Stallone flick and they just wantonly copied
the name and added the prefix "Black" because, well, Fred Williamson is
a black guy. His titular character is also a completely unorthodox,
indifferent and practically silent copper who goes at war against the
members of a psychopathic motorcycle gang. Is that enough similarities
for you? Fred Williamson immediately demonstrates that his character,
Detective Robert Malone, isn't the type of police officer you want to
mess with. He walks into a public pool where's a hostage situation
going on. After calmly listening to the kidnappers' demands, Malone
simply replies with: "No way, pal" and blows all three of them away.
See, that's how B-movie cops negotiate! There's a psychopathic
motorcycle gang at large in Chicago, led by a beefcake bloke with a
golden tooth and a fetish for putting on and off his sunglasses. He
looks a tad bit like Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator" when he
does that. Anyway, they are mean gangsters that run over surfers with a
jeep and kill women in their own houses. Eva Grimaldi plays a gorgeous
photographer who witnessed them murdering a neighbor and hold
photographic evidence. Malone is burdened with the task of safeguarding
her from assassination attempts that will unquestionably follow. I was
really hoping for "Black Cobra" to be a wildly outrageous, excessively
violent and gratuitously sleazy exploitation flick, but the sad truth
is that the film is quite boring and slow-moving. The action footage is
tame and poorly filmed and there aren't any remarkable moments at all.
Perhaps the DVD treatment is to blame for this, but most of the film
was too dark to even see what was going on and the sound quality is
horrendous. The theme song is a rip-off of something I definitely heard
before but can't place at the moment. Fred Williamson really seems to
have troubles keeping awake and gives one of his least interested
performances ever. Throughout the whole film he wears the same damn
gray sweater, which makes him look like a grandfather.
Trivia note: there's a strong possibility that Quentin Tarantino also
saw and liked this movie. At a certain point in the film, Fred
Williamson says to his superior: "That's a matter of opinion and I
don't give a damn about yours". This exact same line is spoken by
George Clooney in Tarantino's script for "From Dusk Till Dawn"; which
also stars Fred Williamson in a supportive role..
My cat's name is \"Pervis\"...
Meet Detective Robert Malone (Fred Williamson). Within the first ten
minutes of BLACK COBRA, Detective Malone walks into a hostage situation
that is, for some reason, taking place at a municipal pool. Instead of
negotiating or trying to protect or comfort the hostages, Malone shoots
all three terrorists dead without saying a word. When Malone's boss
runs up to him and chews him out for reckless conduct, his response is:
"They were scumbags!"
Like many cop movies in the 1980's, BLACK COBRA features a lone wolf
cop with a direct (and excessively violent) approach to crime and
complete disregard for the legal system or the protection of the
innocent. Still, Detective Malone does have a soft side: he has a cat
named Pervis who only eats food from the red-labeled cat food cans.
Detective Malone also has a strange habit of returning his opened,
empty cat food cans to the cupboard with the lids still attached.
The antagonists in this movie, given absolutely no background, no
motive, and, in some cases, no dialogue, are a group of biker-types
wearing sunglasses and leather outfits. Enter fashion photographer Elys
Trumbo (Eva Grimaldi), who witnesses the gang's assault on her
neighbors and, thinking quickly, takes several photographs of the
gang's square-jawed and nameless leader (Bruno Bilotta). Now the gang
wants her dead, and Malone is sent in to protect her.
This is, in many respects, very much an Italian counterpart to an
American formula, complete with stolen lines and music. As is the case
with low-budget movies of this type, there is plenty of gore and bad
dubbing to go around, although surprisingly little nudity.
I found this movie on a two-movie disk along with BLACK COBRA 2 at a
local department store in the dollar bargain bin. I thought it was
every bit as entertaining as something this cheap can be. For those who
like corny action flicks and are not very picky about the quality of
the picture, sound or acting, this movie is well worth the price..