Picks and Pans Review: Cobra

UPDATED 06/09/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/09/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

Even Sylvester Stallone's most devoted followers should have a hard time swallowing this neurotically stupid film. Stallone plays a ruthless Los Angeles cop who makes the Charles Bronson of Death Wish seem like a liberal member of the Supreme Court. Stallone is so full of paranoid self-righteousness that nearly everybody, including most of his fellow cops, is his enemy. The main bad guys are a cult of random murderers, whose favorite pastime seems to be a ritual dance in which they click ax handles together. Most of the time the cultists are pursuing Stallone and the witness he is trying to protect, Brigitte Nielsen (Mrs. Stallone). The odds are usually around 135 to 1, but then, Sly never goes anywhere without as much weaponry as your average Marine division. Director George (Rambo) Cosmatos knows how to fill the screen. What he fills it with, however, is something else. Stallone's cop, supposedly an ace killer, seems like a cartoonish buffoon. At one point he stalks a shotgun-wielding maniac in a dimly lighted supermarket without ever taking his sunglasses off. In a strange way Stallone becomes sort of a reverse wimp, appearing frightened of responding to anyone except by choking them or blowing off their heads. Nielsen has little chance of making any impression. While the film argues that the judicial system coddles criminals, its real message is that all anyone has to do to stop crime is swagger around like a 10-year-old bully, speaking loudly and carrying a couple of crates of hand grenades. (R)

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