Newest Reviews
Dreams on Fire
Sing as We Go!
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
Newest Articles
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
  Black Cobra Cleaning up the human garbage
Year: 1987
Director: Stelvio Massi
Stars: Fred Williamson, Eva Grimaldi, Bruno Bilotta, Maurice Poli, Vassili Karis, Sabrina Siani, Aldo Mengolini, Sabina Gaddi, Laura Lancia, Gaetano Russo, Rita Bartolini
Genre: Action, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Quick-firing cop Robert Malone (Fred Williamson) takes no prisoners when it comes to his war on crime. When armed criminals hold a group of swimmers hostage at an indoor pool, Malone coolly blasts them to hell. “They’re scum”, growls Malone. “Human garbage.” No lily-livered liberal, he. Meanwhile an antisocial biker gang, whose sole raison d’etre appears to be to mess up anyone that crosses their path, are on a citywide rape-and-kill spree. Fashion photographer Elys Trumbo (Eva Grimaldi) inadvertently stumbles onto their latest atrocity and snaps a picture of their sneering, leather-clad lunk of leader (Bruno Bilotta) before escaping. The photo proves useless, but police chief Max Walker (Maurice Poli) cynically chooses to use Elys as bait to lure the killers into custody. Malone is assigned as her bodyguard. His first duty is to escort Elys out of hospital, but he arrives to find the gun-toting bikers are on the scene and out for blood.

Blaxploitation more or less went mainstream when actors like Eddie Murphy were accepted as leading men, driving low-budget war-horses like Fred Williamson into Italian action films. Black Cobra was the first in a handful of films featuring Williamson as maverick cop (is there any other kind in movies?) Robert Malone and was directed by Stelvio Massi, an old hand at the poliziotteschi genre with minor classics like Emergency Squad (1974), The .44 Specialist (1976) and Convoy Busters (1978) to his name. In fact with his Maurizio Merli vehicle The Rebel (1980), Massi is widely considered to have put a full-stop on the distinctively Italian style of cop thriller, leaving films like Black Cobra lazily riffing on old Hollywood blockbusters. Not only does the opening scene lift its extreme hostage negotiation techniques from umpteen Dirty Harry sequels but the climax has Malone deliver a clumsy variation on Clint Eastwood’s classic “Do you feel lucky, punk?” speech.

While its title possibly riffs on the then-recent Sylvester Stallone non-classic Cobra (1986) and the trigger-happy Williamson echoes his crypto-fascist philosophy, Black Cobra spins a slim variation on the plot of The Narrow Margin (1952) wherein a surly tough guy safeguards a female witness. Glamour gal Eva Grimaldi - who appeared in Ratman that same year (ouch!) - spends most of her screentime simpering or sobbing hysterically and gets no sympathy from Fred (“Hey lady, give me a break from all that noise!”). In most films of this type a vulnerable woman helps humanise the hero, but Malone exhibits as much contempt for the victims of crime as criminals. All of Elys’ attempts to strike up a conversation fall flat. Malone lives for his job. That’s it. And while his oddly nameless partner (Vassili Karis) gives a long speech about how Malone never knew his parents, lost the closest thing he had to a father in an armed robbery and “won every medal in the book” whilst serving in Vietnam (yawn!), our hero remains utterly uninteresting save for Williams’ cigar-chomping charm. At least Italian heavy Bruno Bilotta proves an imposing foe, with his bulging biceps and permanent sneer, looking like Frankenstein grafted Jean-Claude Van Damme’s head onto Stallone’s body.

Massi leavens the bare-boned plot with his stylish camerawork but for all its unrelenting brutality the film still plods. Its shootouts and car chases are imaginative and well-staged but the dramatic meat sandwiched in-between proves undercooked. Sabrina Siani, an actress more often cast as scantily-clad warrior babes in Italian sword and sorcery films, appears in her final role as Chief Walker’s teenage daughter. She gets kidnapped by the bikers in a bid to dissuade Walker from pursuing the investigation, but inevitably Malone takes matters into his own hands. When Walker tells Malone not to risk his life on his behalf, our hero delivers the immortal line: “I’d do it if she were Santa Claus’ daughter!” No, I don’t get it either.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 2112 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan


Last Updated: