Sylvester Stallone’s Neglected Action Movie Kills Him On Stream

By Micheleen Martin | Published

Believe it or not, not all of Sylvester Stallone’s successful action films were followed by a long string of sequels. In the mid to late eighties and nineties, the Rocky star was taking shots at possible franchises and many of them never made it past the No. 1 movie, even when they have made a serious bank. A perfect example is the 1986 action movie Cobra, which made a lot of money but has since been overshadowed by just about everything else Stallone has done. Regardless of, Cobra entered the 10 best movies list aired on Hulu earlier this week.

Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone in Cobra (1986)

Lt. Marion Cobretti, aka Cobra, is a member of the LAPD and just doesn’t know how to play by the rules. This becomes apparent right away when, rather than negotiating with a gunman to free his hostages, Cobretti throws him with a knife and shoots him. But while Cobretti manages to save most of the hostages, it turns out that the threat posed by the gunman is just beginning. Before his death, the shooter is unleashed against a violent group of social Darwinists calling themselves the New World Order. What most assumed was simply the mindless ramblings of a madman turn out to be true, and Cobra finds himself on a collision course with them.

The woman who ends up bringing Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra into the conflict is model Ingrid Knudsen who is unlucky enough to witness the leader of the New World Order – known as Night Slasher – and his followers commit murder. Cobretti and his partner, Sergeant Tony Gonzales (Reni Santoni), are tasked with guarding Knudsen while she’s in custody, but the New World Order has grown too powerful to let a few cops stop them. An “unexpected” (yeah, right) romance develops, complicating matters, and the New World Order comes to shoot Cobra and Knudsen with everything they’ve got.

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Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen in Cobra (1986)

If you ever laugh at 80s action movies and haven’t seen Sylvester Stallone in Cobra? You have to sit down, silence your face and watch the thing to educate yourself. Cobra is like a perfectly molded collection of crime movie action tropes. There’s the hero who’s technically a policeman but he can’t follow the rules, so he’s not just fighting the bad guys but his own bosses. There’s the untraceable damsel-in-distress celebrity who falls in love with the hero. And not so much a trope as hilarious, there’s Sylvester Stallone wearing his sunglasses at night and chewing matches.

Joining Sylvester Stallone as damsel in distress Ingrid Knudsen is Brigitte Nielsen, who had just appeared alongside Stallone as the main villain push in Rocky IV. Playing the Night Slasher was Brian Thompson – a guy whose name you might not know but whose face you almost certainly know. Heavily muscled, with one of Hollywood’s most distinct faces, Thompson had many recurring bit parts in movies and television. He is one of the first guys the eponymous cyborg kills in 1984 The Terminatorhe appeared in various Star Trek series and buffy the vampire slayer. Any fan of X files will be remembered as the intimidating and almost always mute alien bounty hunter.

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Brian Thompson in Cobra

Cobra was, in part, created from Sylvester Stallone’s failed attempt to be the star of Beverly Hills Cop. Before Eddie Murphy was cast as Axel Foley, Stallone was attached to the film but he rewrote the screenplay; making it less of an action-comedy and mostly an action movie. The script was rejected because the action scenes Stallone wanted would have inflated the budget, so instead the Rocky the actor reworked his script in what became Cobrabased in part on Paula Gosling’s 1974 novel fair game.

Directed by the late George P. Cosmatos – who also directed Sylvester Stallone in Rambo: First Blood Part IICobra did well at the box office, grossing a worldwide gross of $160 million against a budget of $25 million. It was kind of considered a miss, though, because it didn’t make the same kind of money. Rambo go home ($300 million). Critics never liked the film judging by its 18% critics score on rotten tomatoes. With Hulu and the streaming service’s Cinemax add-on, you can tell for yourself whether or not you think Cobra gave good venom.

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