Operation Cobra (1997)

OperationCobraCoverWhile there may not actually be an Operation Cobra per se taking place in the film (possibly because the movie’s real title was Inferno), that doesn’t mean you aren’t getting your fair share of cloak and dagger scheming and double-crossing. Plus, Don “The Dragon” Wilson does shoot a cobra and another guy gets bit on his head, so it isn’t like those watching for the snake action got ripped off.

The Dragon plays an Interpol agent who, along with his partner, attempts to thwart the sale of a computer disc which is uber important because it contains some algorithm that can decrypt every computer security system or code or whatever in the whole universe!

I was a little fuzzy on how this would work in practice, but the bad guy had a bunch of Indian guys working it out on their computers with the intent of performing the ultimate bank heist! And we all know from calling American companies’ tech support lines how good those Indians are with computers!

Something goes horribly wrong though! And by that I mean of course that something goes horribly right for the audience!

While trying to defuse a bomb that the greasy pony-tailed villain Davaad set up in the museum where the deal was going down, The Dragon’s partner blows himself and the museum up!

Prodigious genre director Fred Olen Ray shows a nice sense of how these movies are supposed to work by giving us a sizable explosion in the opening minutes of the film. And he even follows it up by having The Dragon’s boss saying he can’t work the case of his partner’s death because it’s too personal! Next stop for The Dragon? A “vacation” in India! What? Davaad is also in India? What a freakish coincidence!

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The Dragon is in India for all of about forty seconds before he beats up a bunch of thugs, gets busted by the cops, told to vacate the country, hit on by a hotel employee and gets a Indian cop for a partner who’s sympathetic to his revenge mission!

Maybe I’m just a worrywart, but I’m not sure it’s the smartest thing in the world to partner up with a guy who’s still trying to settle up for getting his last partner killed.

But maybe I’m wrong in this case. What’s that? The Indian cop gets his neck snapped and thrown through some glass? Oh well, it’ll kick The Dragon’s revenge level up a notch, so it wasn’t like his death was in vain or anything.

In addition to his new partner, The Dragon gets himself mixed up with a couple of dames. One is a blonde chick who appears to be artificially augmented both above and below the neck.

The Dragon believes she’s with MI6 because she says so and ends up double-crossed for his efforts. In The Dragon’s defense though, that was a pretty tricky maneuver, you know, just kind of saying you’re a secret agent and all. Who could’ve guessed she was lying?

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The Dragon also hooks up with Miss India 1990 who turns out to be the daughter of a local crime boss, but is a local crime boss who is opposed to Davaad and his boss, The Hydra. The Hydra? Is this a Nick Fury comic from the 1960s?

Who is The Hydra? I could tell you, but then I would be forced to throw up in my mouth a little, so I won’t do either. It’s played like it’s a big surprise, which of course means that it isn’t.

Thankfully, the movie doesn’t linger a long time on any particular sequence which is good because some of the things that happen would really be sucky if they stretched on for a significant amount of time.

Like the three love scenes. You know what would have been a real turn on? If the blonde chick kept her clothes on. The Dragon was really earning his paycheck when he was rolling around with her. He also had a silly bit where he and Miss India were all wet and groping each other. Even The Hyrda got some ass!

It’s evident that director Fred Olen Ray is rooted in the more general exploitation film making tradition, then in the more traditional kickfighting movie ethos which dictate that the only boobs I’ll have to see are those of the kickboxing champion during a big match!

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One of the movie’s more climatic moments also rang a bit false for a variety of reasons. The bad guys had begun uploading the information on the disk to somewhere and there was a timer counting down so that a bomb would go off once the upload was complete.

Without commenting on whether that would be possible, I would suggest that it would be impossible to believe The Dragon could sit down at the computer and start cracking the password. But he does! He just flashes back to something innocuous The Hydra said previously and bang! Password accepted!

But the real issue I had was all the sweaty palms over stopping the upload in the first place. You know how I would have done it? Unplugged the data connection. It’s kind of hard to upload anything without a connection to anywhere.

Technical quibbles aside, Operation Cobra goes down pretty easy. The Dragon has lots of fights and though they aren’t terribly involved, he does manage to nail two guys in the head with a single kick!

There’s also a nifty scene where the blonde chick is fighting Miss India and the blonde chick does a flying kick only to have Miss India duck leaving Blondie to go flying off a balcony to her slow, agonizing, and twitching death!

The final confrontation between The Dragon and The Hydra isn’t as epic as a fight between a dragon and hydra probably would be in real life, but The Dragon does throw a chain in The Hydra’s face and everyone gets shot. Kind of hard to argue with those results!

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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