It was the 80’s. Sylvester Stallone reigned supreme with his one-two punch of Rocky IV and Rambo 2. Paramount Pictures handed him the Axel Foley role in Beverly Hills Cop. But when Stallone rewrote their script wholesale, replacing all the comedy with action scenes, Paramount blinked. Stallone went around the corner to Warner Bros and his Beverly Hills Cop screenplay became the first draft of Cobra.
THE PLOT: Stallone is Marion “Cobra” Cobretti, an LAPD lieutenant in one of those “elite squads.” You know the drill. He’s tough. Plays by his own rules. For the first half of the movie Cobretti never takes off his sunglasses. Not inside a supermarket shootout or even when he’s at home about to eat days-old pizza.
The bad guys are a bunch of wackadoos calling themselves The New Order. They’re deal – and I shit you not – is they’re social darwinist radicals and they have an axe to grind with society. Literally. They spend their nights killing the week. Which is somehow supposed to work out so only the strong will survive to create. a New Order.
And because it was the 80’s and MTV was everywhere in pop culture in its entirety, practically every movie had a music video-style ‘The New Order’ – apparently like to meet at the middle of the night in abandoned, yet stylishly decorated warehouses where they like to do this:
Why? It was the 80’s. What did it mean? It was the 80’s. Do they ever explain how it relates to their radical darwinist dogma or the plot as a whole? It was the 80’s. And it was more like the plot as a hole.
As for the rest of said hole, glamazon model (Brigitte Nielsen, Sly’s wife before production began, his ex-wife by picture wrap) gets an eyeful of The New Order’s hulking, sweaty, spittle spewing leader, The Night Slasher (Brian Thompson) going all axe happy on a victim. When she goes to the police for help, Cobra cock blocks everyone by selflessly volunteering to take the leggy model under his protection. Cobra drives her into the remote countryside. To a motel. Faster than you can say Tube Snake Boogie, they’re acting on their attraction.
Soon after, the New Order shows up. The rest of the movie becomes Cobra’s Kill Count Cavalcade with Nielsen driving a getaway truck and Stallone striking a Deney Terrio Dance Fever pose in back, blasting away at The New Order in pursuit on motorcycles. Where did these deranged dawinists all get –
It was the 80’s. That’s right. Hey, you learn quick.
THE REBOOT: Trying to recreate the mid 80’s zone of Stallone-ness with a wink-and-nod version would be redundant. That’s what the original is for. Can’t drain dry the 80’s excess and macho camp, then play it as a po-faced police procedural. Ask Michael Mann how well it worked out for the big screen debacle of Miami Vice.
Here’s the solution: go meta. This new Cobra would be about beginning-to-age action star who plays the character of Marion Cobretti in the hit TV show Cobra. Maybe the show is fading in the ratings and it could be its last season. Or prepping a mega-budget jump to the big screen. Some conflict in which the future of Cobra is questionable.
CASTING: The actor within the movie would be one of those blowhard overly Method types. Needs to be called Cobra at all times on the set. Not an intentional asshole. Just too self absorbed with himself and “the craft” to be aware of what’s what. If we really wanted to go full meta racket, hire Stallone to take the piss out of his image by playing a hyper-realized version of himself.
The hilarity begins when the actor playing the Marion Cobretti character is home alone, drinking heavily upon hearing the bad news about the show, and falls down the stairs. In the tumble, he bangs his head. When he comes to, it’s with amnesia... of sorts.
Now the actor thinks he is Marion Cobretti, and Cobra, a real cop. And as his antics thwarting real crime off the movie set grow increasingly dangerous, they’re also gaining attention of a worldwide audience. Will unscrupulous producers be willing to risk “Cobra’s” life for higher ratings? Tune in next week to find out.