Saturday, 6 June 2015

Black Cobra (1987)

Fred “The Hammer” Williamson is a mainstay of 70s and 80s European exploitation films, and Black Cobra is a largely competent but unremarkable example of the Italian crime or Poliziotteschi genre.

The plot is lifted from Sylvester Stallone’s action thriller Cobra (so no surprises as to where the name came from) with Williamson playing Bob Malone, a maverick cop (is there any other kind in these films?) assigned to protect a fashion photographer who holds the key to identifying the head of a vicious biker gang

The other debt the film has is to Dirty Harry (as do many Italian cop films) with Malone sorting a hostage situation with a shotgun, and delivering a rip off of the famous “44 Magnum” speech. Williamson can act these macho roles in his sleep, so is not asked to do anything that he is not more than capable of.

There is little in the way of characterisation, other than a scene where Malone shows an unexpected tender side, feeding and fussing over his pet cat and the action set pieces, while lacking a real sense of threat or suspense are competently handled and exciting.

Things only really fall apart in the final 15 minutes, with a preposterous resurrection and interminably dull chase scene in a warehouse. Other than that, Black Cobra is worth a look for fans of action films, Poliziotteschi or The Hammer.