Friday, January 22, 2010

Forgotten Sequels: Black Cobra 2

I've already talked about this series in the past, but here is a brief summary for those who missed it: Black Cobra is a rip-off of the Stallone movie Cobra, just with Fred Williamson (a black man) playing the part.  There really is not anymore to it than that.  Both films feature the same plots (a woman witnessing a biker gang's murder spree and a cop who must protect her) and almost the same staging.  Rather than the big showdown in the warehouse, Black Cobra has a showdown at a waterfront dock, followed by a second one in a city.  They also find an excuse to steal the entire 'do you feel lucky, punk' speech from Dirty Harry.  So what kind of quality can you expect from the sequel?  Find out the answer in my review of...
The film begins with what appears to be a blind man meeting with another man in a parking garage.  He appears to be about five feet away from the car inhabited by our hero.  Um, he's right in front of the car and smoking a cigar, how do you not see him?  Him and his motorcycle-riding companion are confronted by the rest of the police, although they fail to make the latter get off of his bike.  This leads us to a silly chase involving Detective Malone (Fred Williamson) chasing the bike rider in his '70s Sedan.  The man on the bike actually crashes, which leads us to the slowest foot chase meant to be taken seriously.  Mind you, Fred Williamson was 50 when he shot this (he's older than he looks), so you can explain away some of this.  As a shout-out to my dad, Fred wears a Cub's jacket during this scene- you should be proud.  Skipping a lot of this, the man grabs a hostage, but is shot through his helmet when he trips.  What was the point of this scene?  It all sets up the loud, angry boss (don't you love that cliche) yelling about Malone about being dangerous.  He takes the opportunity to send him on a police exchange- sure why not- program to The Philippines.  By the way, I apologize in advance to any residents of the Philippines for Malone's rant against your country in the film.
So our angry hero ends up at the airport, but runs afoul of a sneaky American man.  You can practically see him oozing deceptiveness, yet our hero manages to get his stuff stolen by him.  A small chase ensues when the man steals a briefcase from a businessman there as well, although our hero seems unaware of any of this.  He meets with his envoy, who is a douche-bag that gives him the 'you're working for me here and you don't get your gun' speech.  I'm having French Connection II flashbacks here, which does not work in the film's favor!  They go to the residence of the thief, but find him dead and his apartment ransacked.  They go talk to his daughter, who oddly has short hair for this one scene, and she explains that they weren't close.  In spite of that, Malone follows a lead from some matchsticks that takes him to a club where the singer is, wait for it, the girl!  They talk afterward, but are attacked by thugs.  Thankfully, Malone and his slow-mo, edited-around kung-fu is there to save the day.  The next day, Malone beats up a suspect, but is stopped by the other cop.  They get some information from a bugged phone, before the man starts shooting at them.  After a long sequence, he is taken down by Malone after he rams a cart at the man and dives behind some boxes, apparently making him immediately forgotten.
Right after this battle, the movie goes right into another long action sequence.  Thank God, I was worried the plot would get in the way!  We get a mildly-interesting scene involving the detective running on foot and Malone running across some props above him.  They make pretty good use out of this idea, but drop it pretty quickly.  The summary: the bad guys have the girl, since they figure that she will get them the briefcase.  Finally, we discover that the whole thing is about microfilm.  They run across a career criminal who the shotgun-wielding thug was working for.  They arrest him, but he resists arrest in a dramatic fashion and dies.  After almost no build-up, we also learn that the cop's son has been kidnapped.  No, not him!  I grew so attached to him in his one scene forty-five minutes earlier!  To top it all off, the place is rigged with bombs, including mines set on the window frames.  Fortunately, our heroes have an elaborate and ridiculous plan.  The cop sets himself up in an elevator, while Malone climbs up to the top of the building.  As the time draws near, the door comes open and one perp is shot dead.  The two remaining thugs arm the bombs, which prompts Malone to come flying through the window.  Just to note: he does so head-first and with no set-up shot.  Magic!  He kills both of them, although the last guy gets a shotgun blast to the junk before his death.  The day is saved.  The End.
This movie is not good.  While not as stupid as the first film (a low bar, I know), it is sub-par when compared to some American films from the time such as Commando.  Mind you, it does not help that my copy is on a three movie set put on one disc- more on that in a future segment- so I did not get a good picture quality.  Even in hi-def though, this movie is ludicrous at times and wooden at others.  It is an amazing skill to be both crazy and dry in one movie, but they pull it off here!  Williamson's Malone is basically a jerk who redeems himself by being nice to children (it's a cat in the first film) and saving the day.  He still beats people up with graphic glee and shoots people when he feels that they must die.  One guy is actually pumped for information and then has his neck snapped.  I know you're working overseas, but you can still arrest him!  The movie builds up Malone's use of kung-fu, but it looks about as good as Rudy Ray Moore's.  I can make fun of it a lot, even though that man looks better kicking ass at 50 than I do now at 26.  The difference: I'm not trying to be an action star.  I'm just a jerk with a keyboard who thinks that this movie is sub-par.
Up next, let's keep the Black Cobra train rolling with Part 3, which was made the same year as Part Four.  Don't worry- I'll get to that one in time too.  Stay tuned...

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