Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Without shame, I will admit I have an unrequited man crush on Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson. Well… maybe with a little shame. I loved Hammer as a football player, even though his career was largely over before I was born, I love Hammer the Blaxploitation era actor… ‘Boss Nigger’… ‘Three The Hardway’ anybody… I probably don’t love Fred Williamson The Director as much… ‘Vegas Vampires’… dear Lord… but he’s still my main man. Imagine my joy when I unearthed Detective Robert Malone and his late eighties, early nineties ‘Black Cobra’ trilogy. Imagine my concern, after ordering these DVD’s from some fly by night outfit that sells junk on Amazon when all three movies came packaged on one lone DVD. Imagine my terror upon placing this movie in my cherished, defunct, HD-DVD player and observing the quality of ‘Black Cobra’ was such that a third gen VHS tape had to step back and say ‘damn that looks like crap’. But I watched anyway since I spent seven of my hard earned dollars on this trilogy. To defend that fly by night outfit that’s selling crap on Amazon, even if ‘Black Cobra’ was reengineered to Blu-Ray, it would still be pretty damn crappy, not this stopped me from loving every crappy minute.

Some psychos in Italy… uh… I mean New York, have escaped to a swimming pool after a failed bank robbery and taken some hostages. We need Malone! Who knew the city of New York has only one Black person in its entire population? And no Puerto Ricans, Mexicans or Asians. Sure enough Malone shows up on the scene and Chief Walker (Maurice Poli) orders Malone just to negotiate, give the bandits whatever they want and under no circumstances is he to open fire. Malone walks in, talks to the bandit, proceeds to blow him away with a shotgun cleverly concealed under his floor length leather and then shoots his two accomplices with his pistol. Problem solved. Captain Walker is all pissed off because Malone, in saving the hostages, disobeyed his orders. Why in the hell did they call in Malone to negotiate with these clowns in the first place? That’s like calling me in to a Krispy Kreme stand off to negotiate with a donut.

This is just to let you know what a badass, no rule playing badass that Malone happens to be. His badassery will come in handy as he is ordered by Captain Walker to take

of famed fashion photographer Elys Trumbo (Eva Grimaldi) who has witnessed the murder of some family by a crazed gang of motorcycle riders. Note that these guys ride dirt bikes which really limits their intimidation cred. Dirt Bikes. Are they training for the X-games in between terrorizing New Yorkers? Nonetheless, their gold toothed leader (Karl Landgren), in between relentlessly abusing his charges, wants Elys dead. This will lead to a rather exciting scene in a hospital where a dying biker slowly crawls towards a screaming Elys to stab her. If he was crawling any slower, he’d be going backwards in time. All Elys really had to do was step to the left to avoid this, but screaming her head off seemed to work so much better. Malone eventually beats the guy to death. Or shoots him. I forget. Regardless, now Elys and Malone are roommates with Elys being irritatingly, perpetually upbeat and happy while Malone is perpetually pissed off. Elys looks like she wants to have sex or something but Malone is too busy being depressed because, as his friend tells the story, some thug killed his beloved hobo caretaker when he was seven years old. Sure that was fifty years ago, but the grieving process can never be rushed.

Our nameless bike leader in the Queen-esque leather jacket now wants to kill Malone on top of Elys. It’s not like anybody’s looking for him or trying to stop him so we don’t know why he wants to do this, other than the fact that the man is a dick. To make this happen he kidnaps the police chief’s daughter. That’s what he did, again for no real reason because if he really wanted Malone, a simple text message probably would’ve done the trick. Nonetheless, Malone and his buddy shows up, kills all these punks… which includes a ‘do you feel you lucky punk’ speech… and our tough guy in the gay leather jacket takes off running like a big sissy only to learn that Malone is a part time circus knife performer. Knife in the back, from like three hundred yards away, straight through to the heart and now he’s drowning in the sea. He’s dead.

NO HE’S NOT! Apparently NYC cops don’t fish dead people out of the sea, allowing them to just float around, because if they did attempt to fish this guy out of the sea they would’ve noticed he wasn’t there anymore and they would’ve told Malone that this cat is still alive, has dyed his hair blonde (for no reason since he looks the same), put on a suit and is still dead set on killing him and Elys. Now Malone, also wearing a stupid fresh silk suit, engages in gunshots with this guy which will eventually lead to a lame car chase and culminate in quite possibly the worst choreographed fight sequence in the history of recorded cinema. Finally, this guy is dead.

NO HE’S NOT! You know the drill. The guy is dead, Malone collapses in an exhausted heap, the dead guy gets up and starts kicking that ass some more until Malone finally kills him. For real this time.

Now Malone can go on vacation. His buddy gives him a muscle car to drive and Elys shakes his hand… why Malone didn’t ask this horny minx to come along is beyond me… and the movie is over because the guy is dead. NO HE’S NOT! Okay, so he is, but it would’ve really, really awesome if he had shown back up in this scene.

I realize this is no kind of review, just a colorful description of amazing events, but the truth of the matter is that ‘Black Cobra’ is review proof. Any time you remake Sly Stallone’s ‘Cobra’, a movie which stands on its own as completely awful, there’s not much you can say in the way of ‘criticism’ on a lower budget version of that movie. Oh, and at no time in this movie did anybody ever call my man Cobra. Or Black for that matter. To think I have two more of these to watch. You owe me Hammer.

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