Motel Hell

Motel Hell

motelhell2

Today’s feature is a cult favorite horror comedy from 1980: Motel Hell.

Motel Hell was directed by Kevin Connor, who spent most of his career directing television movies and television series. The screenplay for the movie was written by brothers Robert Jaffe (who penned screenplays for Nightflyers and Demon Seed) and Steven-Charles Jaffe (producer of Star Trek VI, Near Dark, Ghost, and Time After Time), who also served as producers for the film.

The plot of Motel Hell is summarized on IMDb as follows:

A seemingly friendly farmer and his sister kidnap unsuspecting travelers and bury them alive, using them to create the “special ingredient” of their famous roadside fritters.

The cinematographer for the film was Thomas Del Ruth, who went on to shoot Death Wish II, The Breakfast Club, Stand By Me, The Running Man, The Mighty Ducks, and numerous episodes of The West Wing.

The editor for Motel Hell was Bernard Gribble, who also cut Caddyshack II, Death Wish, Top Secret, White Dog, and Aces: Iron Eagle III.

The music for the film was composed by Lance Rubin, who also provided music for the film Happy Birthday To Me, as well as the television shows King of the Hill and Fantasy Island.

The primary cast of Motel Hell was made up of Rory Calhoun (Night of the Lepus, The Texan), Paul Linke (K-PAX, Parenthood, Chips), Nina Axelrod (Critters 3, Roller Boogie), Wolfman Jack (American Graffiti), and Nancy Parsons (Sudden Impact, Porky’s, Steel Magnolias).

motelhell4The chainsaw duel that takes place during the climax of the film took multiple days of shooting to complete, and wasn’t even featured in the initial screenplay for the movie.

Speaking of, the screenplay of Motel Hell went through a number of rewrites and edits over the course of production. All in all, it took three years from the completion of the screenplay for the movie to hit the screen. The ultimate result was a far more comedic movie than what the original concept had been, which was at the behest of director Kevin Connor.

Motel Hell took more than a little influence from the hit 1974 horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, including the prominent featuring of chainsaws and backwoods cannibalism in the plot. Tobe Hooper, who directed the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was even at one point interested in directing the movie. Interestingly, the 1986 sequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 bears some notable similarities to Motel Hell, and adopts its somewhat lighter tone.

motelhell3Motel Hell currently has an IMDb user rating of 6.1/10, and Rotten Tomatoes scores of 68% from critics and 49% from audiences. It was made on an estimated production budget of $3 million, on which it grossed just over $6.3 million in its domestic theatrical release.

Personally, I think Motel Hell is a weird little movie with a strange sense of humor, but it does feature some undeniably creepy images. The “farm” is the best example of this: a plot of land where the lead characters bury living victims up to their heads, then remove their vocal cords. The result is a small field dotted with heads that flail, writhe, and gasp helplessly as the victims are force-fed over days, and eventually harvested. Likewise, the iconic chainsaw fight, in which Vincent dons a pig’s head as a mask, is probably the most lasting image from the film, and is genuinely upsetting (despite being a bit goofy).

The idea of a story built around a successful, cannibalistic food business isn’t new by any means: there’s Sweeney Todd, Soylent Green, and The Corpse Grinders, just to name a few. However, I think Motel Hell shows the most detail of the process, and the way it is depicted is a bit more creepy than other, similar stories.

That said, Motel Hell is far from flawless. It wasn’t written initially as a comedy, and it definitely shows. Humor is a hard thing to inject after the fact, and I can’t think of anything that was honestly funny about the movie, though it definitely tried to establish a humorous tone.

Overall, I think the movie was built on an interesting concept, but the writers struggled to create an actual story out of it. It bogs down a bit in the middle, and despite a handful of highlights, is kind of dull on the whole. I definitely like the design and concept of the movie far more than I liked actually watching it, as I could never really wrap my head around the characters.  The cartoon reality and exaggerated characters presented were just a little too far removed from tangibility for my taste. That said, a lot of people seem to enjoy this one, so bad movie fans and people who like cult films should at least give it a chance.

motelhell1

 

Advertisements

Worst Movies of 2016

Howdy loyal followers! We’ve had quite a year, haven’t we? With 2016 coming to a welcome close, I wanted to appropriately slam the door in its back with a quick rundown of the publicly perceived worst films of the year.

goe1

We all know that opinion is subjective, so I want to re-emphasize that this is a list I generated based on public perception. Basically, I took 14 currently published year-end “Worst of 2016” lists, then tallied up how often each film was listed. I thought that would be pretty simple and data-driven way to make my list. Unfortunately, I was very, very wrong about that first part. Between the handful of lists I initially pulled, I wound up with nearly 100 films, which included some obviously contentious, contrarian picks like Hell or High Water, Rogue One, and Captain Fantastic. For the sake of brevity, I’m only listing out movies here that appeared on more than 2 lists, but if you want to see the final version of my working document with all of the tallies and the sources used, you can find it here.

ninelives20162

Interestingly, there was far from a consensus pick for the worst picture of 2016: the most consistently reviled movie was only on 10/14 rankings. For the fraction-impaired, that means that just under 72% of the lists I pulled had it present at all, let alone at #1.

yogahosers3

Without further ado, here are the publicly perceived worst movies of 2016:

  1. Independence Day: Resurgence
  2. Mother’s Day
  3. (Tie) Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice / Suicide Squad / Warcraft
  4. (Tie) Gods of Egypt / Alice Through The Looking Glass
  5. (Tie) Dirty Grandpa / London Has Fallen / The Divergent Series: Allegiant
  6. (Tie) Yoga Hosers / Nine Lives / Zoolander 2 / X-Men: Apocalypse
  7. (Tie) Hillary’s America / Sea of Trees / Man Down / Inferno / Collateral Beauty / My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Are there any movies that you expected to see that didn’t make the cut?

Road House

Road House

roadhouse4

Today, I want to take a look at a beloved good-bad classic: 1989’s Road House.

The plot of Road House is summarized simply and eloquently on IMDb as follows:

A tough bouncer is hired to tame a dirty bar.

The screenplay for Road House had two credited writers: R. Lance Hill, who also wrote Out For Justice, and Hilary Henkin, who also penned Wag The Dog and Fatal Beauty.

Road House was directed by Rowdy Herrington, who also helmed the films Striking Distance, A Murder of Crows, and 1992’s Gladiator.

The primary cast of Road House is made up of Patrick Swayze (Dirty Dancing, Ghost, Point Break), Kelly Lynch (Virtuosity, Mr. Magoo), Sam Elliott (Hulk, The Big Lebowski, Fatal Beauty), and Ben Gazzara (Happiness, Anatomy of a Murder, The Big Lebowski).

The cinematographer for the film was none other than Dean Cundey, one of the most acclaimed modern directors of photography, who boasts countless well-known credits like Halloween and Jurassic Park. He is known by many as the Dean of Darkness, due to his uncanny proficiency in filming and utilizing low light and shadow.

Road House had two primary editors: John Link, who also cut Steel, Die Hard, The Mighty Ducks, and Predator, and Frank J. Urioste, who edited Deep Blue Sea, RoboCop, The Hitcher, and Total Recall.

The music for Road House was provided by Michael Kamen, whose also composed scores for movies like X-Men, Event Horizon, Frequency, The Iron Giant, Hudson Hawk, Die Hard, Last Action Hero, Action Jackson, Highlander, and Brazil, among many others.

From December 2003 to February 2004, there was an off-Broadway musical titled “Road House: The Stage Version Of The Cinema Classic That Starred Patrick Swayze, Except This One Stars Taimak From The 80’s Cult Classic “The Last Dragon” Wearing A Blonde Mullet Wig” that is exactly what it sounds like. Here’s a promotional photo:

roadhouse1Road House received 5 Golden Raspberry nominations as one of the worst films of 1989, competing in the categories of Worst Picture, Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay. Ultimately, it didn’t wind up winning any of them. However, it was eventually listed as one of the “100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made” in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson’s book The Official Razzie Movie Guide.

Patrick Swayze reportedly had to turn down lead roles in two other famously good-bad movies, Predator 2 and Tango & Cash, in order to do Road House.

The character of Dalton was reportedly named after Dalton, GA. R. Lance Hill, the movie’s writer, was particularly inspired after visiting a rowdy local bar in the town.

Interestingly, Annette Bening was originally cast opposite of Swayze in the role of Doc. She was ultimately replaced by Kelly Lynch, who claims that Bening was fired due to a lack of chemistry with Swayze.

Road House has the unique distinction of being the first movie to be subjected to “RiffTrax,” the Mike Nelson run follow-up to Mystery Science Theater 3000, which are distributed as scripted, comedic commentary tracks to be played simultaneously with films. Nelson previously labeled Road House as the cheesiest movie ever made in his book “Mike Nelson’s Movie Megacheese.”

roadhouse2According to Sam Elliott, all of the actors in Road House performed their own stunts. However, they were all done under the strict supervision of martial arts master Benny Urquidez, a noted kickboxing champion who worked on numerous theatrical productions as an advisor and coordinator.

Reportedly, there is a Road House remake coming up in the near future. Currently, it is set to star MMA icon Ronda Rousey, and has Nick Cassavetes attached to both write and direct.

Road House received a sequel many years after the fact in the form of Road House 2: Last Call, which was released straight to DVD in 2006.

In its lifetime domestic theatrical run, Road House grossed just a hair over $30 million, on an estimated production budget of $15 million. While this made the movie profitable, it didn’t resonate very well with critics. Over time, however, it has become a cult classic that has won over many.

Road House currently holds a user rating of 6.5/10 on IMDb, along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 66% from general audiences and 38% from critics. Gene Siskel called the film “outrageous in terms of its cartoon-like plotting and dialogue,” and Roger Ebert wrote that Road House was “the kind of movie that leaves reality so far behind that you have to accept it on its own terms,” and that he “laughed more during [Road House] than during any of the so-called comedies I saw during the same week.”

Siskel and Ebert are both totally right about Road House: it is outrageous, it is completely divorced from reality, and it is funny as all hell because of it all.

roadhouse3I think that, at the very least, Swayze and Elliott deliver solid performances here, and are as believable as they could possibly be considering the outlandishness of the concept. That said, the villains are an entirely different case. I definitely appreciate over-the-top villainy in action movies, but the gang in Road House drift consistently too far into cartoonish territory, to the point that they stop feeling like much of a threat, in spite of their posturing.

I think the two things that most stuck with audiences about this movie were the fights and the one-liners, and they are unarguably the two strongest elements of the film. Depending on who you ask, these are two of the most important elements of any action movie. If that happens to be your rubric, then this is a hard movie to beat for entertainment value. However, if you go into it expecting anything beyond that, like character depth or a thought-provoking plot, you might just be disappointed.

Overall, I think that Road House is just about perfect for what it is: mindless, entertaining action. This isn’t deep, this isn’t social commentary, this isn’t character study: this is spectacle in a pure form. If that is what you want from a movie, Road House delivers.

For action movie fans, good-bad movie fans, Patrick Swayze fans, and arguably movie fans of any kind, Road House is worth seeing at least once. Despite its mixed reception and modest box office, the movie has managed to seep pretty deep into popular culture, making viewing a sort of educational event if you haven’t already. At least, you can tell yourself that.

In honor of the holiday season, and a true cult film classic, have yourselves a Patrick Swayze Christmas!

Kangaroo Jack

Kangaroo Jack

kjack1

Today’s feature is a weird, mostly-forgotten movie that attempted to blend, mob comedy, a buddy road trip formula, and a talking marsupial: Kangaroo Jack.

The plot of Kangaroo Jack is summarized on IMDb as follows:

Two childhood friends, a New York hairstylist and a would-be musician, get caught up with the mob and are forced to deliver $50,000 to Australia, but things go haywire when the money is lost to a wild kangaroo.

Kangaroo Jack had three credited writers: Steve Bing (Missing In Action, Missing In Action 2), Scott Rosenberg (Con Air, High Fidelity), and Barry O’Brien (Hannah Montana, CSI: Miami).

The film was directed by David McNally, whose only other feature directorial credit to date is 2000’s Coyote Ugly.

The cast of Kangaroo Jack includes Michael Shannon (Man of Steel, Bug, Boardwalk Empire), Christopher Walken (King of New York, The Deer Hunter, The Dead Zone), Dyan Cannon (Caddyshack II), Estella Warren (Driven, The Cooler), Marton Csokas (Timeline, Aeon Flux), Anthony Anderson (Scream 4), and Jerry O’Connell (Jerry Maguire, Scream 2).

The cinematographer for the movie was Peter Menzies Jr., who also shot The 13th Warrior, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Four Brothers, and Gods of Egypt, among others.

Kangaroo Jack ultimately had three credited editors: John Murray (Drop Dead Diva, Entourage), Jim May (Goosebumps, Van Helsing, Cowboys & Aliens), and William Goldenberg (Heat, Gone Baby Gone, Argo, National Treasure).

Jerry Bruckheimer, best known for producing movies like Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Thief, Bad Boys, Con Air, The Rock, and Armageddon, was a key producer for Kangaroo Jack. The movie was even made under the banner of his production company, Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

The music for Kangaroo Jack was provided by Trevor Rabin, whose other film credits include Torque, Hot Rod, Deep Blue Sea, Con Air, and 12 Rounds.

Kangaroo Jack received an animated sequel, Kangaroo Jack: G’Day USA!, which went direct to DVD in 2004. This sequel was more in line with the film’s advertising campaign: it was focused on the kangaroo’s shenanigans, and lost all of the adult humor and themes of its predecessor.

kjack3Australian character actor Adam Garcia has an uncredited role in the movie as the voice of Kangaroo Jack. Garcia was previously in director David McNally’s feature Coyote Ugly, three years prior.

Kangaroo Jack astoundingly only received one Golden Raspberry nomination, which was for Christopher Walken’s supporting performance. Interestingly, even that was only co-nominated with Walken’s role in Gigli, which was likely the true reason for the recognition.

Kangaroo Jack wasn’t without its victories, however, At the annual MTV movie awards, Kangaroo Jack won the prestigious Blimp Award for “Favorite Fart In A Movie.”

Inspired by the marketing campaign of Snow Dogs, the producers of Kangaroo Jack decided to focus their marketing efforts for the film around a brief hallucination sequence involving a talking kangaroo, despite the fact that the movie’s plot had nothing to do with talking animals. Initially, the movie’s title was Down and Under, and it was intended to be a hybrid of a mob comedy and a road trip movie. Once the movie was edited together, however, the producers realized that it was an absolute mess, and panicked over what looked to be a bomb. Ultimately, the studio put up the cash to shoot additional footage and create CGI kangaroo sequences, so that the film could be recut and marketed effectively as an animal feature.

Somewhat surprisingly, this deceptive advertising tactic worked, at least to a point. On a production budget that ultimately reached $60 million, the film managed to take in $88.9 million over its lifetime theatrical run. However, outside of incredibly young children, nearly everyone hated the movie. Currently, it holds a 4.4/10 IMDb user rating, along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 8% from critics and 28% from audiences.

Kangaroo Jack is by no means a good movie. In fact, it is an unequivocally terrible movie. The CGI that was intended to salvage it at the time now looks incredibly dated. The humor ranges from dully crass to gay-panic offensive. The chemistry between the players, particularly the leads, is utterly nonexistent.

However, there are two good things about this movie: Christopher Walken and Michael Shannon. For reasons I will never fully understand, both of these men decided to put themselves into the zone for this movie.

Shannon, doing what he does best, is goddamn bone-chilling, even despite being given the role of a mustache-twirling cartoon. At this point, I’m convinced that Shannon could elevate even Snidely Whiplash into a icy-veined cinematic terror.

Walken, on the other hand, manages to turn what could have been hack-y comedic dialogue into something that is actually worth a laugh. His character, a mob boss, is basically a cardboard cutout, except for the fact that he is trying to expand his vocabulary, and is prone to malapropisms as a result. In the hands of just about anyone else, there is no way that ritualistically reciting the definition of “amorphous” into a recorder, or misusing the term “plethora” in place of “anathema,” could be funny. Walken, however, finds a way to make that shit work, at least in some small way.

There are a couple of ephemeral moments in Kangaroo Jack where only Walken and Shannon are on screen. If I were to come across a genie’s bottle right now, I might just waste that precious first wish on making this movie about them, and thus extending these precious moments of respite from the unrelenting parade of farts that is the rest of this movie.

kjack2Kangaroo Jack is a mess, and I can’t recommend that anyone go back to give it a second glance. It has been forgotten for a reason. If you happen to be one of the people who has fond memories of this from your childhood, I first highly recommend that you apologize to your parents and/or guardians, and then advise locking this movie up in a dusty guest room closet of your memory palace.

Bargain Bin(ge): Basement Records (Knoxville, TN)

Knoxville, Tennessee is a lovely city in East Tennessee, famous for being the home of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee. It is also only a few miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

knox5Recently, I took a trip to the area, and my route took me right through the heart of Knoxville. As always, I decided to take some time to check out a record store in town. In this case, I spent a little portion of my trip digging around in a shop called Basement Records.

knox6 knox3Basement Records is, to start off with, a cool little shop. The folks working the front also seemed like pretty cool people, which is a boon for a little shop like this if you ask me. It is adorned with all sorts of posters and playbills that cover seemingly every inch of wall space, and boxes of records sit everywhere you look. An entire row of boxes are dedicated to soundtracks, which is always cool to see. There were also a handful of DVDs and VHSs in the shop, but they were primarily concerts, performances, and music documentaries. For those that weren’t, the price just wasn’t right for me. As I recall, DVDs were $4 a pop, which is pretty far from a steal for older, used stuff. Still, it made for some fun sifting, even if I didn’t ultimately walk away with any movies.

knox2 knox4

However, digging through the soundtrack selection yielded some interesting and off-the-wall stuff, as you can see below.

Cobra

cobra1

I have a full feature written and queued up about this cult classic Sylvester Stallone flick, so I won’t go into too much detail here. However, I will say that I recommend checking it out. Also, it has an interesting soundtrack that varies in style, and hybridizes pop music of the 1970s and 1980s. It features artists like Miami Sound Machine, Gary Wright, and Gladys Knight, just to name a few. The score was composed by Sylvester Levay, who wrote the 1975 hit single “Fly Robin Fly,” and also composed music for Mannequin and Hot Shots.

1941

19411

1941 is regarded as one of the few career missteps of Steven Spielberg, and has a place etched in cinema history because of it. In spite of an all-star ensemble cast, the movie is incredibly uneven, and lacks the comedic core necessary to hold it together. I did a whole write-up on it some time ago that goes into a lot of detail on it if you are curious. However, it notably features a score by the legendary film composer John Williams, and it is a damn good one. I remember playing the memorable march from the movie with my high school symphonic band, and the whole score is really worth a listen for people who like wind ensemble and marching band style music. If that is your bag, you have to check it out.

They Call It An Accident

accident

They Call It An Accident is apparently a French movie from 1982 that was written, directed, and prominently stars French actress Nathalie Delon, but good luck finding out anything else about it. At this time, it has a whopping 7 total user reviews on IMDb. Despite that, the movie’s soundtrack boasts the likes of U2, Steve Winwood, and Wally Badarou, which is really something for a movie that apparently no one has ever seen. My girlfriend is the one who pointed this one out to me from the stacks, mostly because of the strange album art. Despite my best efforts at this point, I still have no idea what this movie is about, or how someone could get a hold of it.

Every Which Way But Loose

ewwbl

Every Which Way But Loose is a Clint Eastwood action/comedy movie that co-stars an orangutan. It is kind of like a combination of Over The Top and Road House, but with an orangutan thrown comedically into the mix. 1978 was a weird time for the world.

The primary reason that this particular soundtrack stood out to me is because I have heard the film’s theme song, which is way catchier than it should be.

The music for the movie was conducted and mostly composed by Steve Dorff, whose mixture of pop country music and television score writing has earned him a handful of Grammy and Emmy nominations. He has also done a fair bit of film scoring, such as for Dudley Do-Right, Pink Cadillac, and Pure Country. He is also interestingly the father of actor Stephen Dorff.

 

Cobra

Cobra

cobra1

Today’s feature is the Sylvester Stallone vehicle, Cobra.

The plot of Cobra is summarized on IMDb as follows:

A tough-on-crime street cop must protect the only surviving witness to a strange murderous cult with far reaching plans.

The screenplay for Cobra was penned by the Academy Award winning screenwriter and Academy Award nominated actor Sylvester Stallone, who also starred in film. His career as both an actor and screenwriter has had a fair share of ups and downs: flops like Judge Dredd, Rhinestone, and Driven, cult classics like Demolition Man, Rocky IV, Cliffhanger, and Over The Top, the label-defying homo-erotic buddy cop masterpiece Tango & Cash, and genre-defining flicks like First Blood and Rocky. In many ways, he is a genre unto himself.

The credited director for Cobra was George Cosmatos, who also directed the films Leviathan and Rambo: First Blood Part II, and was questionably credited with directing Tombstone after the initial director was dismissed. However, much like with Tombstone, there is some question as to whether his credit on Cobra is legitimate.

Beyond Stallone, the cast of Cobra includes Brigitte Nielsen (Red Sonja, Beverly Hills Cop II), Reni Santoni (Dirty Harry, Rain Man), and Brian Thompson (Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Doctor Mordrid, Lionheart).

The film has two credited editors: Don Zimmerman (Galaxy Quest, Half Baked, Over The Top, Rocky IV) and James Symons (Tank Girl, Fortress 2, Rambo III, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III).

The cinematographer for Cobra was Ric Waite, who also shot On Deadly Ground, Red Dawn, and Footloose, among others.

cobra2The music for Cobra was provided by Sylvester Levay, who also composed scores for Hot Shots! and Mannequin, and worked in the music departments for Howard the Duck and Scarface.

Cobra was produced in part by the legendary Cannon Group duo of Yoram Globus and Menahem Globus, who produced such films as Enter The Ninja, Over The Top, Masters of the Universe, Superman IV, Breakin’, American Ninja, The Apple, and Lifeforce, among many others.

The screenplay for Cobra is very loosely based on the novel Fair Game by Paula Gosling. Part of why it barely resembles the alleged source material is because Stallone added in numerous elements that he had come up with for his rewrite of Beverly Hills Cop, before he was ultimately dismissed from the project in favor of Eddie Murphy.

cobra4The initial cut of Cobra clocked in at over two hours, and reportedly featured much more violence and a far more fleshed-out plot than what ultimately made it to theaters. First, the decision was made to trim the film in order an extra theatrical screening each day in the theaters, in the hopes that the profits would be inflated. Even after these cuts, however, the MPAA gave the film an X rating. After that, lots of the violence was further toned down or removed to make it more palatable for distribution. The final theatrical release of the film clocked in at 87 minutes, meaning that over half an hour of plot and violence was omitted since the initial director’s cut. While this version has never received an official release, a work print does exist, and has been distributed underground.

Sylvester Stallone’s character in Cobra, Marion Cobretti, is named after John Wayne, whose real first name was Marion.

The iconic knife featured in Cobra was custom-made for the production by Herman Schneider, an acclaimed artisan knife-maker, and was intended to be distinct enough to stand out.

cobra5It is widely rumored that Cobra was actually directed by Sylvester Stallone, and that credited director George Cosmatos essentially performed the duty of a producer. At this point, this is generally accepted as true, given the number of crew who have claimed as such over the years.

Cobra was ultimately nominated for six Golden Raspberry awards, which are annually given out to the judged worst films and performances of the year. These included citations for Worst Director, Worst Actor, Worst Actress, Worst Supporting Actor, Worst New Star, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Picture.

The car that features prominently in Cobra is a customized 1950 Mercury that was actually owned by Sylvester Stallone. Replicas were made for the various stunt scenes throughout the movie that were indistinguishable from the outside to the casual viewer.

cobra3The poster for the film Another WolfCop is a parody of the iconic poster art for Cobra, and features the distinctive elements of a red background, reflective sunglasses, dark clothing, and a laser-sighted handgun aimed casually upwards.

cobra6 cobra1

Apparently, Stallone was a complete nightmare to work with during the filming of Cobra. In many ways, he was at the height of his powers, and was on a permanent ego trip. He refused to speak to most of the cast and crew, and spent most of his time flirting with his co-star and eventual wife Brigitte Nielsen instead of performing his duties. His antics regularly delayed scenes, and generally created a negative working atmosphere.

Apparently, Cobra had a slight influence on the cult hit Drive. Both the director, Nicolas Winding Refn, and the star, Ryan Gosling, are big fans of the movie, and Gosling modeled some of his character’s mannerisms after Cobretti, including his chewing habit (though the match is replaced with a toothpick).

The production budget for Cobra has been estimated at $25 million, on which it grossed $160 million worldwide over its theatrical run. This made it significantly profitable, though people tend to look back on it as a failure. This is probably because Cobra got a mostly negative reception from both critics and audiences. It currently holds an IMDb user rating of 5.7/10, along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 13% from critics and 42% from audiences.

Cobra might the most “Sylvester Stallone” of the horde of 1980s Sylvester Stallone movies: it is stylistic to a point, cool, fun, shallow, and almost entirely mindless. It is just about everything you could possibly want from this era of Stallone.

That said, the bizarre plot has some interesting potential to it. The antagonistic cult is way more interesting than Cobretti, but doesn’t get a whole lot of focus. Apparently, this was something that was lost in the initial studio cut of the movie, prior to the second MPAA necessitated cut. I’m kind of curious to see the work print because of this: the extra violence might make it a more fun watch, but I’m curious how much the further focus on the cult might help the film’s story.

As far as action movies go, this is one of the coolest ones from a visual standpoint that you’ll come across. What it lacks in cerebral content and sensibility it almost makes up for with a fascinating mastery of color, a litany of violent deaths, and some pretty damn cool stunts. In general, I think it is a solid recommend for action movie fans. Even the shitty acting and bad line reads sort of suit the tone and style of the movie. If you need to let your brain check out for a bit, this is one way to do it. Just don’t listen too much or look too hard, and there is something to appreciate here.