"Crime is a disease. Meet the cure.
— Original movie tagline.
is a 1986 action film starring Sylvester Stallone
. Loosely based on Paula Gosling's novel Fair Game
, which nine years later would get another adaptation of the same name. All three versions bear very little resemblance to each other.
Stallone stars as police Lieutenant Marion "Cobra" Cobretti, an intense, no-nonsense LA cop from the "Zombie Squad", who has to deal with a string of murders by a man known to police only as the Night Slasher (Brian Thompson
), while also dealing with various murderous nuts spouting nonsense about a "New Order". As it turns out, the Night Slasher is actually the leader of this "New Order" cult. Model Ingrid Knudsen (Brigitte Nielsen) drives past one of their murders and sees the Night Slasher's face, making her the gang's prime target. She enters police custody for her own protection, under the watchful eye of Lt. Cobretti and his partner, the junk food-loving Sgt. Gonzales (Reni Santoni). Eventually, Cobra will have to use Ingrid as bait to draw out the Night Slasher and put an end to his menace once and for all.
Not to be confused with the main character of the anime/manga Space Adventure Cobra
. Or that other Cobra.
Cobra provides examples of:
- Anti-Hero: Cobretti. He hates discipline and he doesn't give a damn about any citizen's rights (well, obviously not seeing the "citizens" are a gang of psycho killers).
- An Axe to Grind: Members of the New Order are shown clanging axes together in unison early in the film.
- Ax-Crazy: The New Order, particularly the Night Slasher.
- Asshole Victim: Ingrid's boss sexually harasses her, only to get killed by members of the New Order cult
- Badass Longcoat: Cobretti wears one.
- Car Chase: Plenty to go around!
- Car Fu: A security guard gets crushed by the cult's van.
- Character Title
- Cool Car: Cobretti's car, complete with nitro boosters.
- Cool Gun: Cobretti's Jatimatic submachine gun. A Rare Gun now, as only a few hundred of them were made. Same for his 1911 9mm conversion.
- Cool Shades: Again, Cobretti delivers this for the trifecta.
- Cowboy Cop: Cobra
- Detective Mole: One of the police officers protecting Ingrid is a member of the New Order.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In order to silence one witness who saw them, the Night Slasher's New Order goes on a week-long explosive rampage in two cities, in broad daylight and in full view of hundreds of new witnesses. Of course, it doesn't really matter in the end, since Cobra happens to be one of those witnesses.
- Dystopia Justifies the Means: The Night Slasher wants to create a nihilistic dog-eat-dog world with his homocidal cult where sadistic murderers kill off the weak and people are indiscriminately hacked up and gunned down on the streets on a daily basis.
- Embarrassing First Name: Lt. Cobretti's first name is Marion.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: All kinds of people are in New Order, from common street thugs to balding business men.
- They seem to welcome all races and possibly nationalities, too.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: There are two kinds of women in Cobra: intended targets of the Night Slasher's Order, and its treacherous accomplices. Guess which ones are attractive.
- Evil Sounds Deep: The Night Slasher.
- Follow the Leader: Cobretti clearly went to Harry Callahan's Boy Scout Camp as a child, and apparently loved the mentor so much that, once he grew up, he took Callahan's partner Reni Santoni, and even once again named him Gonzalez. He took Dirty Harry's villain Andy Robinson as well, though the latter is now merely a well-meaning jerk and a compulsively By-the-Book Cop.
- Gang Bangers: The New Order gang.
- He Knows Too Much
- IKEA Weaponry: As the cult members are shown moving towards the town where he's protecting a witness, Sylvester Stallone assembles his Laser Sight-equipped Jati submachine gun, which he carries stripped down in a suitcase.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice / Man on Fire
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: Director Cosmatos had the Night Slasher's bizarre knife◊ custom-made, his only reasoning being that he wanted "a knife the audience would never forget". He certainly got his wish, to such an extent that actual working replicas of the knife are now being made. Never mind the fact that the only realistic way of carrying and pulling out a knife with a giant, almost-double blade and a handle full of sharp spikes without tearing one's clothes to shreds every time would be to velcro it to the outside of the garments.
- Internal Affairs: Robinson's character
- Knife Nut: The Night Slasher. Even in his dying moments he still clutched on to his spike-knuckled trench knife. He also uses a double-barreled Sawn Off Shotgun.
- Laser Sight: While in a factory Cobretti uses the sight to distract some mooks by detaching it and leaving it switched on in a dark room. While the mooks are sneaking up on where they think Cobretti is, he jumps them from behind.
- Cobra's laser sight is an actual laser sight - when he assembles his Jaki and tests it, it's a proper tiny red dot, instead of a long visible beam. Still a rarity in action movies.
- More Dakka: OK, cops have been known to use submachine guns, but hand grenades?
- Montage: "Angel of the City", which is a "Shake-down-punks-for-information-while-a-Knife Nut-killer-stalks-a-model-doing-a-photoshoot montage"
- Nitro Boost: Cobretti's car has one.
- Nothing Good Ever Happens In A Parking Garage: The first attack on Knudsen by the cult.
- Opening Narration / Sylvester Stallone Is About To Shoot You
In America, there's a burglary every 11 seconds, an armed robbery every 65 seconds, a violent crime every 25 seconds, a murder every 24 minutes and 250 rapes a day
- Product Placement: There are plenty of Pepsi to be seen.
- And everything else owned by Pepsi. Five minutes in, Cobra relaxes next to a huge stack of fresh 7-Up. In fact, he likes Pepsi so much that he has a giant Pepsi neon on the wall of his (really spacious and expensive-looking) home.
- Some edits of the film have all drink digitally replaced by Coca-Coke, in one scene with Gonzales takes a long swig of a can with his hands placed in a way so you can clearly see he's enjoying the refreshing taste of Coco-Cola Classic.
- There are also more subtle ones, such as Cobra taking a drink of Coor's beer
- Ford also gets a lot of placement with the pick-up trucks all having FORD printed on the back and they also make tractors apparently.
- Shout-Out: Cobra has a partner named Gonzales who is played by Reni Santoni.
- The Social Darwinist: The Night Slasher claims he murders people because he wants to kill off the weak, reasoning that this means everyone who can't fight off one of his attacks. This apparently includes children.
- Straw Nihilist: Some of the Night Slasher's followers
- Terrorists Without a Cause: The New Order movement is based entirely around murder and torture for its own sake (with some social darwinistic rhetoric thrown in), yet seems to attract a surprisingly large member base.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Sgt. Gonzales loves his junk food.
- Vanity License Plate: Cobretti's Cool Car, which sports the license plate "AWSOM 50".
- We Are Everywhere: The Night Slasher's speech at the end follows this trope to the letter, but it's more of a crazed final rant than an accurate estimate of his actual following.
- You're Insane!: One of the crazed psycho killers exclaims, "He's crazy!" regarding Cobra during the car chase.