Late to the Party: Cobra (1986)

Each week in Late to the Party, someone posts about an older piece of media that they’ve just experienced for the first time.

On a recent Friday night, your friend Goat got exceedingly drunk and watched Sylvester Stallone’s 1986 masterpiece, Cobra. Below are his inebriated stream-of-consciousness ramblings while watching the film (edited for coherence).

Apparently, serial killer cults in the 1980s would gather in sewers to do perfectly choreographed percussion routines with axes. I bet whoever who created STOMP saw this movie.

Axe Gang GIF | Gfycat

Why does Cobra keep an unlit match in his mouth? Wouldn’t it get all slimy and make lighting the match impossible when he actually needed to light something? Is it always the same match? Does he change it out throughout the day? Does he use a new match after he eats or does he put the old one back in his mouth? Are they flavored matches? Do they even make flavored matches? I really need to get these match questions answered.

The Ray-Ban Marion Cobretti / Cobra (Sylvester Stallone) in Cobra ...

Why does Cobra’s license plate say AWSOM 50? Is that a reference to his shotgun that can hold 50 shells, apparently?


Cobra likes really tiny pizza slices and Christmas cartoons.

Poppy from Seinfeld is in this movie!

16 minutes and 10 seconds into the movie: Cobra takes off his sunglasses for the first time.

“Captain, I don’t want to be a hero.” Oh, Cobra, not wanting to be a hero is what makes you a hero!

The “Jesus wept!” guy from Hellraiser is in this movie!

I’m going to ask my boss at work if I can be on the Zombie Squad. After all, I am a specialist that does the job nobody wants. I’m almost certain she will say yes.

If I worked with a guy who had a matchstick in his mouth all the time, I would probably have to go to HR to complain that it’s really weird and unsanitary. And the HR rep would roll their eyes and say, “That’s just Cobra. Zombie Squad doesn’t have to play by the rules. That’s why he gets results. Now get the hell out of my office before I have internal affairs so far up your ass they can see your fillings!” And I would sheepishly go back to my desk and browse Reddit for the rest of the afternoon.

I admire this movie for being bravely accurate about how shitty computers were in the 80s.

23 minutes into the movie: Musical Montage #1. Angel of the City! This montage has robots and Brigitte Nielsen (sorry, is that redundant?)

At the end of the Angel of the City montage, there is a shot that hangs on the robots for just long enough to get me excited that they will come to life and team up with Cobra to defeat the serial killer cult.

David Rasche
David Rasche is a photographer in this movie? I thought he was legally restricted to playing senators.

Sylvester Stallone was offered the lead in some other 80s movie and ended up completely rewriting the script. When the studio rejected his revised script, Stallone left the project and used the script he revised as the basis for Cobra. Can you guess what the original movie was?*

(*ANSWER: A Passage To India)

Sorry, I checked out for about 10 minutes there. People are getting killed in a hospital now for some reason. Why does this movie take place during Christmas?

Shouldn’t Cobra have a tattoo of a cobra? Or a pet cobra? Does he actually have 50 cobras?

There are comic moments in this movie in the form of one-liners. I would describe the experience of hearing them as similar trying to swallow a live badger whole.

I’m not sure how I feel that Cobra’s awsom old car is the same color as my 2010 Volkswagen Passat.

Just when I thought we were going to get another musical montage, we get a car chase instead. Well played, movie.

This movie thinks that driving off the second story of a parking garage onto the street is, like, a big deal.

Apparently all you need to outrun bad guys is a switch somewhere in your car that says “NITROUS” printed out from one of those label makers.

The exterior of the Metropolitan Police building looks a lot like Nakatomi Plaza. 

I know for a fact that Stallone wrote the line “Nobody asked you, Monte” knowing exactly how he would say it: all low and growly with 3-day stubble.

52 minutes and 45 seconds into the movie: Musical Montage #2. This one is called “Feel the Heat”. This montage song certainly came from the same New Jersey foundry that produced all 80s montage songs and power mullets. Unfortunately, the foundry was forced to close in 1992 because of mismanagement following an accident that caused heavy flooding of hair product. 

I love Brigette Nielsen’s suede hat. There’s probably not a lot of opportunity to wear a hat like that in L.A.

As soon as Cobra’s partner gets more than one line in a scene, you know he’s doomed. R.I.P. Poppy.

Oh, I get it. Cobretti = Cobra. 

Aw, Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen are a cute couple. I think these crazy kids are going to make it. 

By my calculations, Stallone was 40 when he made this movie. Younger than I am now. My life is an utter failure.

Hey Cobra, watch out! That lady is totally in the STOMP suicide cult!

1 hour 3 minutes into the movie: Musical Montage #3. This one is called “Two Into One”. A tender scene in a motel between Stallone and a woman who probably had a contractual obligation to shave all her pubic hair to be in this movie. 

Oh, I get it! “Two Into One”, because of intercourse!

“Where are we going today?”
“Further upstate.”
Sorry Sly, I’ve lived in California my whole life and nobody here says “upstate”. 

Oh, so now the serial killer cult that has used nothing but axes the whole movie suddenly starts shooting everything in sight. Way to adhere to your core values, serial killer cult. 

Does the serial killer cult issue motorcycles to everyone, or are they expected to bring their own?

Director George P. Cosmatos died of lung cancer in 2005 at the age of 64. He also directed Rambo: First Blood Part 2 (which my dad took me to see when I was 14) and Of Unknown Origin with Peter Weller. His final film was Shadow Conspiracy starring Charlie Sheen, which has a 0% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. His son directed Nicolas Cage in the amazing Mandy.

Oh hey, Cobra has a picture of a cobra on the handle of his gun? Did we see that before? Ugh, who fucking cares.

“You have the right to remain silent.” Burns guy alive. You know, guys who are burning alive tend not to remain silent.

Wait, Cobra lost his match somewhere. I should rewind to figure out the exact moment when this happens, but let’s not fool ourselves, I’m not going to do that.

“You want to go to hell with me?” Well, maybe, if you ask nice.

“This is where the law stops. And I start.” He’s not talking about his penis, is he? Oh god, I think he’s talking about his penis.

I’m positive that the giant hook they’ve prominently shown in 38 different shots of this final scene won’t come into play at all. 

Well, crap.

Wait, Poppy lived? I guess this is how he got that condition where he pees on couches.

Cobra doesn’t want to transfer from the Zombie Squad. He is the Zombie Squad, you stupid chief!

Hey Cobra, I know you killed the serial killer cult and all, but don’t punch Hellraiser guy when he’s trying to be nice to you. Dick move.

OK, the movie’s over, and Cobra never smoked anything. So seriously, what the fuck was the whole match thing about?

Cobra’s first name was Marion? You could have told me that from the beginning, movie. I thought we were friends.