Action Movies Wiki

Cobra is a 1986 American action film directed by George P. Cosmatos and starring Sylvester StalloneReni SantoniBrigitte Nielsen, and Andrew Robinson.[1] The film received negative reviews, with the overuse of genre tropes critcizied, yet it debuted at the number one spot on the U.S. box office.[2]

The screenplay by Stallone was originally written for the film Beverly Hills Cop. It was loosely based on the novel Fair Game by Paula Gosling, which was later filmed under that title in 1995. He had wanted to make a less comedic, more action-oriented film. When he left that project, Eddie Murphy was brought in to play the lead role.[3]


 [hide*1 Plot


Marion Cobretti, codenamed "Cobra", (Stallone) is a police officer from a division of the Los Angeles Police Department known as the "Zombie Squad". He is called into a hostage situation at a grocery store when negotiations fail. Cobretti kills the gunman, but before his death the criminal mumbles of a 'New Order': a group of social darwinist psychopaths that despise modern society and believe in killing the weak to leave only the strongest and smartest to live and rule the world.

As the bodies are removed from the supermarket, Cobretti is admonished by Detective Monte (Andrew Robinson) for his seeming disregard for police procedures and protocols. Harassed as well by reporters, Cobretti admonishes them for failing to put the safety of potential victims first. At the time, what is not known is that the supermarket event is connected to a string of recent and seemingly unconnected acts of violence and murder that have broken loose in Los Angeles, perpetrated by the same supremacist group mentioned by the supermarket gunman.

After witnessing several individuals in a spree killing, including 'The Night Slasher' (Thompson) that is the Order's leader, at the scene of one of the murders late at night, model Ingrid Knudsen (Nielsen) becomes the target of the group because she was the only living witness to their crimes. After one attempt on her life, she is placed under the protective custody of Cobretti and his partner, Sergeant Tony Gonzales (Santoni). After several attempts are made on their lives by various people, Cobretti theorizes that there is an entire army of killers operating with the same modus operandi rather than a lone serial killer with some associates, but his suggestion is rebuffed by his superiors. The LAPD, however, agrees with Cobretti that it will be safest if he and Knudsen relocate from the city into the countryside.

Cobretti becomes romantically involved with Ingrid shortly after venturing out into the countryside, but one of the Order's leaders (a police officer traveling alongside the Cobretti party) reveals the location of their whereabouts. Despite Cobretti's suspicions and mistrust of the officer, he does nothing and stays the night in a motel. The Order moves in at dawn and besieges the small town in which they are staying. With barely enough time to react, the attackers storm the motel room Cobretti is in with Ingrid, wounding Gonzales in the process. Killing several members but with more swarming into the town, Cobretti and Ingrid escape in a pickup truck. After the truck becomes severely damaged, the two travel on foot into a lemon grove and escape into a nearby derelict factory.

Cobretti has most of the Order killed by this point, with over two dozen of them taken out, but there are still a few members who follow them into the building. After eliminating every member except for the Night Slasher himself, Cobretti and the leader ultimately engage in a deadly hand-to-hand duel inside the steel mill, ending with the Order's leader being impaled in the back by a large roaming hook and burned alive by Cobretti.

In the aftermath, Cobretti's department arrives and begins clean-up of the town, giving medical aid to Gonzales; the Order is completely eliminated. Detective Monte appears apologetic but confronts Cobretti again about his lack of regard to police protocols, offering to discuss the issue over a long dinner. Cobretti punches Monte instead, and the ending credits begin as Cobretti and Ingrid climb onto one of the motorcycles left by the Order and ride away.



Cobra was at its time, a critical failure, and, as of 2013, the website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 13% based on reviews from 16 critics.[4] The TV Guide stated that "Stallone's character is an empty hulk" and that "the few attempts to provide us with little insights into his character are downright laughable."[5] The New York Times ran a review stating that the film "pretends to be against the wanton violence of a disintegrating society, but it's really the apotheosis of that violence." The critic also stated that it "shows such contempt for the most basic American values".[6]

Scott Weinberg of remarked that the movie was worth "seeing only in a 'depressing time capsule' sort of way."[4] It was nominated for six Razzie Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone), Worst Actress (Brigitte Nielsen), Worst Supporting Actor and Worst New Star (both for Brian Thompson) and Worst Screenplay.[7]

Box office[edit][]

Cobra debuted at the box office at No.1 and was a huge financial success with a Memorial Day weekend debut of $15.6 million.[2]


  • Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen were real-life husband and wife at the time of the film's production.
  • Cobra reunited two actors from the movie Dirty HarryReni Santoni, who played 'Homicide Inspector Chico Gonzalez', and Andy Robinson, who played the 'Scorpio Killer' (which was based on the real-life Zodiac murderer).
  • Stallone's admiration for then-President of the United States Ronald Reagan is referred to as his character has a large picture of the President in his office.

Music score[edit][]

Various Artists
Soundtrack album
Released 1992
Genre Soundtrack
Label Scotti Bros. Records
Producer Robin Garb

An audio cassette and vinyl version were released on September 21, 1988, followed by a CD which was released in 1992 as the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.[8]

No. Title Music Length
1. "Voice of America's Sons"   John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band
2. "Feel the Heat"   Jean Beauvoir
3. "Loving on Borrowed Time"   Brian Short
4. "Skyline"   Sylvester Levay
5. "Hold on to Your Vision"   Gary Wright
6. "Suave"   Miami Sound Machine
7. "Cobra"   Sylvester Levay
8. "Angel of the City"   Robert Tepper
9. "Chase"   Sylvester Levay
10. "Two into One"   Bill Medley & Carmen Twillie