Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Black Cobra 2 (1988)


After one too many displays of excessive force (this time involving blowing the head off of a hostage-taking biker), Lieutenant Rob Malone (Fred "The Hammer" Williamson) is sent from Chicago (what happened to New York?) to The Philippines in one of those ever-so-common police exchange programs. Once there, he's paired with buttoned-down do-gooder Lt. Kevin McCall (Nicholas Hammond from the 70s TV version of SPIDER-MAN!!!!!) and after the requisite amount of distaste they slowly begin to warm to each other after a search for Malone's stolen wallet ends with them discovering a dead body. It turns out the wallet thief stole some microfilm from Iranian terrorists, and Malone and McCall have to crack this motherfucker WIDE open. Oh, and afterward the Iranians try to blow up a building (containing McCall's kid), and the two have to spend 15 minutes climbing up an elevator shaft so Williamson can smash through some glass and blow the bad guys to smithereens. Wait a sec! He didn't learn anything! The film ends with Malone on his way back to Chicago, having taught McCall that extreme violence is the only proper response to terrorism.


Black Cobra 2 is a better film than Black Cobra. It just is. Part of this is because a bad Lethal Weapon rip-off is slightly more interesting to me than a bad Dirty Harry rip-off, but it also throws in more elements that exploitation fans can enjoy. It's more violent, more profane, and the unintentional hilarity is much more pronounced. Aside from some bloody moments, and a lot of naughty language, this would have been prime MST3K fodder. And it has Spider-Man!

WARNING: Scene may not appear in actual film.

Fred Williamson is back as Robert Malone, and despite (for some reason) now being stationed in Chicago, the early scenes are once again obviously filmed in Italy. The opening action sequence, a great deal of which is on foot, really puts the 50-year old Williamson to the test as he crawls around a parking garage, running after the motorcycle assailant. Obviously feeling some old injuries, you can't help but feel bad for him as he sucks wind. But, he gives it the old college try and he at least seems game to some.. um.. interesting physical challenges. He's also not dubbed this time around, which makes his performance a lot more tolerable.

Malone is given a love interest in lounge singer Peggy Mallory (Emma Hoagland), who is not only incredibly bland and built like a 14 year old boy, but also spouts some ridiculous dialogue as their relationship heats up for no reason in particular. She gets an off screen bullet in the head in what can only be called a mercy killing.

Nicholas Hammond is Spider-Man. McCall and Malone don't really have any chemistry, but the buddy-cop dynamic doesn't grow too stale, and his over-the-top response to his son being kidnapped (with a requisite call to his terrified wife promising to get their boy back while he applies camouflage grease paint) make for some fun moments. The rest of the cast is nondescript and/or terribly dubbed. Particularly McCall's kid who speaks with the voice of an adult woman, which is actually a bit creepy.

It's also a bit jarring whenever a non-dubbed character speaks to a dubbed character, as the sound levels don't match well. An improvement over the ADR in the first film, but still quite rough.

The action is much more bloody this time around, with nice juicy squibs on display whenever Malone decides to shoot a terrorist in the chest with a shotgun (which is quite often). The action scenes are still inept, but Williamson's odd-looking Kung-fu kicks are certainly a sight to behold. It's also considerably more profane than the previous film with a surprising number of "fucks" and "shits" being thrown around. I was most amused by Peter Parker telling a severely beaten Iranian to "Shut the FUCK up!", but your amusement at such things may vary.

Image quality is about the same as the first film, meaning pretty rough. Luckily, the audio is a bit less muffled this time around, and the editing is less hatchet-y. We're also treated to a rockin' 80s musical score which nicely compliments the 80s fashions (skinny ties! Members only jackets!) and hairstyles on display.

A slight improvement on the original, but still a pretty awful zero budget Italian action knock-off. My Spidey sense says to avoid it, but at least we're moving in the right direction for *sigh* Black Cobra 3.


Ash said...

Entertaining write-up. And shockingly in-depth for BLACK COBRA 2.

I'm never sure who is better in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: Fred Williamson or Tom Savini.

Doug Tilley said...

Sex Machine: Now, let's kill that fucking band.
Frost: I can do that.

It's a tie!