Cobra Blu-ray Review
Distributor : Warner Home Video (Hong Kong)
Think of a typical 80's action movie with cheesy one liners, axe wielding gang bangers and a very cool laser sighted machine gun, add in a big name action star in the prime of their career and you have Sylvester Stallone's 1980's answer to Dirty Harry, Marion Cobretti aka Cobra.
Throughout the film, we are treated to numerous scenes of shootings, axe murders, stabbings/slashings and even a homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, taking that films most controversial moment and ultimately going one better. With now famous dialogue such as “This is where the law stops...and I start” you know exactly what you are in for here and Cobra is a fun filled trip for any fans of classic 80s cinema. With pretty much non stop action, a fairly decent plot and a number of genuinely disturbing sequences, the film manages to be both fun and tense at the same time and as such has gained a reasonably strong following over the years. Cobra is also the last classic Stallone flick to finally make it to Blu-ray.
Strangely released in Japan and Hong Kong before any other territory, it is the region free Hong Kong Blu-ray which is reviewed here. On loading the disc, the menu provides 4 options: play, chapters, language and extras. Hitting play, starts the film with English audio selected and no subtitles on screen. This is great news for English speaking collectors as it makes for a completely hassle free start to the movie.
Warner Home Video presents the film with a 1080p 1.78:1 16x9 transfer. During the opening shots of the movie, the print shows a fair amount of grain or possibly even dirt, however within a very short space of time, the transfer becomes clean, crisp and problem free. Black levels look especially impressive and background detail is visually striking. With colours appearing strong throughout, the print quality contained here is a vast improvement over the DVD.
UK collectors will no doubt be pleased to see the inclusion of a line of dialogue which has long been censored from their previous releases. It would appear that the BBFC took exception to the classic Stallone one liner “You have the right to remain silent” (said just as he drops a lit match onto a gasoline covered gang member) and ordered the line removed. Exactly what seemed so offensive about this particular remark is anyone's guess but it is a definite bonus to have the film available in an un-tampered state.
Audio is also impressive in this package. Presented in DTS HD 5.1 there is much to sample here. From multiple explosions, gun fire, car chases etc... all sounding powerful, to quieter dialogue heavy scenes which remain clear and precise, the English audio track will not disappoint.
Extra features are however a little disappointing as they contain only a trailer, a mini making of documentary and a directors commentary track, all of which have been recycled from a previous DVD release. It is widely known that the film under went considerable cuts to gain an R rating in the US and film fans have been longing to see this footage for many years. Although now an ideal opportunity to present this material, sadly it wasn't to be.
All things considered, if you are a Stallone collector or just a fan of the film, then this Blu-ray belongs in your collection. Despite a decent following, there has surprisingly never been any real plans to make a sequel which is a shame as this is one character which could easily have been explored further. With the recent trend in picking up sequels many years later, who knows?
Perhaps there is still time.
With rumours of a Blu-ray release due in the US in April, the choice to import or to wait is ultimately your own. Knowing Warner Home Video, all worldwide releases will more than likely contain the same master and extra features and it will almost certainly be cheaper to wait for the domestic release, however if there is a space already reserved in your collection for this movie, and you can't bear to wait any longer, then at least this import is a worthy option.
One of the most over the top action rides from 1986, the film is definitely worth revisiting in high definition.
“Hey dirtbag, you're a lousy shot. I don't like lousy shots. You wasted a kid... for nothing. Now I think it's time to waste you!”