action, blaxploitation, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 30th, 2014 Movie – Black Cobra 3: The Manila Connection

black cobra 3

So here is something that I got my curiosity going. This whole Black Cobra series had four movies in it. Mills Creek used three of them to fill out their Martial Arts box set, but why not use the 4th movie? I mean, I would have had no problem getting rid of one of the TV episodes of The Master that was in this set for another actual movie. Alas, that was not to be as I learned, later on, that the 4th movie never received a US release, hence why it was not included in this collection. So let me go ahead and re-watch Black Cobra 3: The Manila Connection, and see if it is worth hunting down the final movie in the series to watch.

The plot: In the Philippine jungle, Charlie Hopkins, an American special forces agent, breaks into a guarded compound searching for some stolen U.S. weapons but he is spotted and forced to retreat, fighting his way out of the compound and through the jungle. Charlie manages to get away by jumping off a waterfall and swimming to safety, but is wounded in the process. He makes it to the home of a local girl he knows but ends up dying in her place so she quickly strips him of all his ID and dumps the body by the river so it can’t be traced back to her. Some time later, Lt. Gregory Duncan attends a meeting with his superior officer at Interpol as well as an officer from the State Department and a CIA agent. The explain that Hopkins was working on a mission for the State Department to help tracking a missing shipment of CIA arms, including some LAN missiles, that were being shipped to various regions. The thieves were blackmailing the State Department on releasing the evidence of the CIA’s actions and Duncan has 15 days to find and retrieve the weapons. The CIA will loan him a tech officer but since this mission is technically off the books, any back up he needs will have to be among people he trusts and Duncan says he has just the man for the job. In Chicago, Lt. Robert “Bob” Malone stops am armed robbery at a grocery store and when he gets home, he plays a tape that was sent to him from Duncan asking for his help. Malone goes to the commissioner to get some time off but is refused at first until the governor calls and says Malone is being requested for a special assignment. Malone travels to the Philippines and checks into his hotel, having a run in with a somewhat picky woman at the front desk and elevator. After getting up to his room, Duncan meets him and takes him to his room to introduce him to their CIA tech expert Tracy Rogers, who happens to be the woman he had met downstairs. Malone asks some questions about the details of the case and then he and Tracy decide to go check out Hopkins’ place to see if they can find something that the police or CIA missed. Finding evidence that Hopkins frequented a particular club, they head there and ask the bartender and one of the dancers if they know Charlie but they get no response. After they leave, a woman comes up to the dancer they were talking to and asks her what she told them. Outside, Malone feels like they are walking into a trap and when their cab driver pulls a gun on them, he attacks him and his two friends but is forced to let them go when Tracy is attacked and needs help. Returning to their hotel rooms, Malone finds that the adjoining door between his and Tracy’s room has been broken and Tracy, upset that he had just walked in, puts a device on the door that will alert her if someone is on the other side. The next day, Tracy says that she is heading to the airport to pick up some equipment the CIA is sending her and Malone and Duncan head to the port to follow up on a lead about a witness. At the port, they speak to speak to the witness, who said he saw some men taking the crates to a nearby warehouse and they head over to question the manager. As they look around, Malone finds a heavy caliber bullet on the floor and shows it to Duncan, causing the manager to call for his men to get them. Malone and Duncan are able to deal with the men, then go to question the manager but before he can talk, he is killed by Jackson, the CIA agent that assigned Duncan to the case. Jackson explains that the manager was going to shoot them, showing them the gun he had on him, and Duncan decides to let Jackson handle the police that are approaching, as he and Malone are on “vacation”. Returning to their hotel room, Malone receives a call from the dancer that knew Charlie, saying she has some papers and pictures marked top secret and Malone agrees to meet with her and pay her for them when she gets off of work. When they arrive at the church where they are to meet her, they find a show behind a gate and, cautiously begin searching for her, only to find her body and no sign of the papers. They decide to check her place to see if the papers are there and find that it has been ransacked and the taxi driver and the other two men are waiting for them. Malone and Duncan manage to avoid getting killed and deal with the two men but the taxi driver gets away. Duncan is suspicious of Tracy, as she was the only other person that knew about the meeting, but Malone tells him not to jump to conclusions just yet. As he goes to leave, Malone notices something strange about a Jesus display case and opens it to find a package containing the photographs and documents. Meanwhile, back at her hotel room, Tracy receives a coded message saying that something will occur tomorrow. The next day, Malone, Duncan, and Tracy are going over the pictures, trying to figure out which specific area Hopkins was searching when Tracy notices a strange idol that Hopkins had drawn. Malone pulls out the idol he had found in Hopkins place, which looks just like the one Hopkins drew, and Duncan says he knows an antique dealer that might be able to give them some information. Heading to the bazaar, they speak to the dealer and learn the area where that tribe once lived in but as they leave, Malone notices they are being followed and are forced to deal with their attackers. Returning to their hotel room, they find Jackson waiting for them, who wants to know what progress they have made but they are reluctant to say anything definitive and Jackson leaves, then makes a call from the payphone downstairs. As Duncan and Malone go over the map and figure out the best place for where the camp Hopkins had found is, Duncan notices Tracy using her coded transmitter and questions her about it and she says she is making her nightly reports. Duncan says that someone is letting people know where they are going to be and Tracy says her reports are coded so it can’t be her and Malone keeps the peace, saying that everyone is tired and could use a break. The next day, the three drive into the jungle and find the waterfall from Hopkins’ pictures and search for a way up it. Continuing through the jungle, they find the camp and make their way inside. As they start searching the buildings, Tracy splits off from them and heads inside the communications center, where she begins working on the computers to try and crack the access code. Meanwhile, Malone and Duncan keep searching for the weapons and, noticing some odd looking wells, head down one of them to investigate. They eventually find the weapons and starting setting up explosives to deal with them when Malone finds the missiles and sets the timer on one of them, then they fight their way past the guards and back onto the surface. Once back on the surface, they make their way towards a nearby helicopter, fighting off the guards along the way, then wait for Tracy, who has finished her own mission and destroyed the computer room. Once Tracy is on board, they fly off as the missile explodes, destroying the weapons and camp as well. Tracy tells them that she traced the computer terminal that was linked to the thieves network and Duncan says he knows where it is. Landing the helicopter outside a compound, the three make their way onto the grounds, taking out the guards along the way. They confront Sir Malcolm, who was behind the blackmail scheme, and when he says it is too late and the information will be sent out to the world, Tracy reveals that she deleted the information from the system before she destroyed it. Jackson appears, thanking them for their work and says that he will deal with Sir Malcolm now and dismisses them but Malone gets suspicious of how Jackson knew they were there. Seeing Jackson picking up an uzi, Malone quickly shoots him, as it is revealed that Jackson was the mole. As soldiers come in to secure the compound, Duncan and Tracy talk to Malone about teaming up again but Malone is quick to say no and is ready to head back to Chicago, doing his best to ignore their attempts to persuade him.

Holy cow, this movie was so laughably bad that it hurt to watch, and I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing. The acting was pretty stiff all around and a lot of times the characters didn’t seem to have any real emotions, even when they were supposed to be angry. The story was ok but I feel like they kind of lost sight of what they were trying to do and decide to change things without telling the audience, making for a bit of confusion towards the end. And I know that there is a bit of suspension of disbelief when you go to the movies but I honestly have to call out the ridiculousness of the first scene of the movie. When Hopkins was first sneaking into the camp, my first issue is that it was broad daylight and he was trying to enter at a point where he had no cover whatsoever. Then, he took his time to slowly attach all of these panels to the fence so that he could then slowly cut a hole in the fence without breaking the circuit or tripping an alarm. How in the hell he wasn’t spotted and shot within a minute of his trying to do that put the whole movie in a tailspin for me because it honestly felt like they weren’t even trying from the get go. The action scenes were pretty ridiculous at times, such as Fred Williamson (Malone) walking along upright seemingly without a care in the world while Forry Smith (Duncan) was ducking and covering during the final firefight as they are leaving the jungle camp. It is bad and I honestly kind of want to find the 4th movie just to see if it is possibly any worse than this one.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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action, blaxploitation, crime, drama, martial arts, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 29th, 2014 Movie – Black Cobra 2

black cobra 2

Ok, why is this series in the Martial Arts box set? There was hardly any sort of martial arts to be seen in the first movie, mainly a lot of shooting and some knife throwing. I honestly don’t remember when I first watched it but maybe there will be some actual semblance of martial arts in this movie. If not, then I will definitely feel even more gypped about this collection than I already am. Well, let’s just see what Black Cobra 2 has to offer.

The plot: In Chicago, Lt. Robert “Bob” Malone takes part in a sting operation to capture some drug dealers but when one of the suspects drives off on a motorcycle, Bob gives chase. When the suspect is hit by a car, the driver gets out to check on him and the suspect grabs her and holds her hostage, telling Malone to back off but when he briefly loses his footing, Malone shoots him in the head. The next day, Captain Marton chastises Malone for his reckless actions and as punishment, decides to send him to Manila as part of a law enforcement exchange program. When Malone arrives in Manila, a stranger strikes up a conversation with him as he eyes a man with a briefcase handcuffed to his hands. After taking his leave of Malone, the man uses the distraction provided by a couple of kids to quickly steal the briefcase and, after taking it to baggage claim, he places the claim ticket into an envelope and mails it before leaving the airport. As Malone gets his bags and goes through customs, he realizes that the thief had stolen his wallet and goes to chase after him but ends up stopped by airport security. Malone is turned over to Lt. Kevin McCall of Interpol, who escorts him to his hotel and warns him that he doesn’t want any trouble while Malone is here. The next day, Malone is going through mugshots of various criminals and picks out the man that pickpocketed him. McCall takes him to where the crook, Eddie Mallory. lives but when they go to confront him, they find him dead. As they search the room, Malone finds his wallet and when the cleaning lady spies the body, she starts screaming. Malone and McCall quiet her and ask her if she saw anything and when Malone finds a picture of Eddie with his daughter, the lady tells them where she lives. The two officers head to speak with the daughter, Peggy, to see if she has any information and afterwards, McCall invites Malone to his house for dinner. After dinner, Malone leaves McCall’s house but when he gets to his hotel, he asks the doorman about the bar the pickpocket’s daughter works at and heads over there. Malone sits at the bar and watches Peggy sing and after her set, she approaches Malone and tells him that she received an envelope from her father. The two go for a walk , where they talk about her father and as Malone escorts Peggy to her car, they are attacked by some men. Malone is able to fend them off and the attackers run when McCall and some police arrive. As some of the police chase after the attackers, McCall checks on Malone and Peggy, revealing that they had been following Malone when he went to the bar. The next day, McCall chastises Malone for trying to start an investigation while he is a guest in the country but agrees to follow up on the leads they have on the attackers. They head to a warehouse and question the owner, Asad Cabuli, as the car used in the attack was rented in his company’s name but he claims to have no knowledge of the events. As they are leaving, Malone tells McCall that he doesn’t trust Asad but McCall says they don’t have enough evidence to proceed further at the time. Meanwhile, Asad watches them leave and then makes a phone call, saying that Peggy has the briefcase. Fearing that Peggy was the target of the attack, Malone goes to speak with her and ends up taking her out to dinner. When they return to her place, Malone checks on the Interpol agent that is keeping watch on her place and then leaves but after he leaves, someone kills the agent and kidnaps Peggy. Malone is upset with McCall over Peggy’s kidnapping and heads back to the warehouse, beating up on some of Asad’s men to try and find out information about Peggy. McCall stops him and escorts him out of the building and into the car, before informing him that he had bugged the building’s phone. One of Asad’s men calls Asad to tell him about Malone being there and then grabs a shotgun and starts shooting at Malone and McCall. McCall is wounded but Malone manages to sneak up on the guy and after a brief fight, kills him. After making sure McCall is ok, the two head to the dock, where Peggy was being taken, and see her being carried by the men that attacked Malone the night before. Before they can rescue her, they are shot at by some men and are forced to take cover. Malone and McCall then make their way towards the warehouse that Peggy was taken too, killing their attackers along the way. Malone is able to reach the warehouse but finds that Peggy has been killed, and he kills the remaining attackers, while McCall manages to wound one of them, who Malone then knocks into the water before he can shoot them. After getting the wounded man and Malone out of the water, McCall has a search warrant issued for Asad’s business and they find the briefcase there but it is empty. Later that night, they decide to head to the hospital to question the surviving attacker and, finding the guard outside his room dead, McCall bursts in the room and stops Asad from killing the injured attacker. As they are interrogating Asad, news breaks out that the terrorists plan on blowing up a building and Asad attempts to use the distraction to try and escape, but McCall kills him. Heading to the building Malone and McCall come up with a plan to climb up the elevator shaft and break into the building, killing the terrorists and stopping them from blowing up the building. Some time later, Malone is heading back to Chicago and McCall and his family are there to see him off, with McCall and Malone shaking hands and admitting they made a good team.

Well, at least there was some martial arts action involved with this movie, albeit somewhat slow and uncoordinated. Still, this was a decent time suck of an action movie for the most part. The acting was ok, with Fred Williamson and Nicholas Hammond doing decent jobs as Malone and McCall respectively. The story was kind of confusing and honestly seemed to be dragged out for way longer than was necessary just basically fill the required time limit for the movie. I will say that I did laugh at the little goof in the movie where they had the same sequence of McCall and his family waving goodbye to Malone and his turning to wave back at them play twice. It was like a weird skip/repeat on the DVD. The action scenes were incredibly slow paced when it came to the fighting. Even some of the gun fights felt kind of slow. Like I said, it is a decent time suck of a movie but that is about all it is good for.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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action, blaxploitation, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 28th, 2014 Movie – Black Cobra

black cobra

Now this should be interesting; an Italian Blaxploitation movie. Those were my first thoughts when I went to watch this movie the first time. I mean, I honestly had no idea what to expect out of this movie. Since it was in the Martial Arts box set, would I be getting something like The Last Dragon or would it be something completely different. To be honest, I am fairly certain I found this movie to be utterly forgettable, due to the fact that I honestly can’t remember anything about it. So let’s see if watching Black Cobra again will let me form a different opinion.

The plot: Detective Robert Malone arrives at a hostage situation and is told by Chief Max Walker to go in and negotiate with the criminals. Malone heads inside but after one of the criminals makes his demands, Malone shoots him, then kills the other two criminals, causing Walker to berate him when he enters the building. Elsewhere, a motorcycle gang meets up at an abandoned warehouse before heading out and riding along the coast. They eventually come across a couple on the beach and while his men proceeds to rape the woman, the leader kills the boyfriend when he tries to stop them. Later that night, photographer Elys Trumbo is finishing up a photo shoot and headed home but as she gets to her apartment, she hears a strange noise. Heading towards the sound, she sees a woman with her throat slit gasping out before collapsing to the ground. As Elys goes to check on her, the bandit leader approaches her, wielding the knife he had just used, but before he can attack her, Elys uses her camera to take pictures of him, the flash blinding him enough to let her get away. The bandit leader calls out to his gang and they all pile into a pick-up truck and head off after Elys but when she sees a policeman and stops to tell him what happened, they back away, with the leader swearing to find and kill Elys, as she had taken a picture of him. Elys is taken to a hospital to be treated for shock and Malone is called in by Walker and sent to protect her in case the bandits try to kill her. The bandits find out which hospital Elys is in and, after killing a man, they smear his blood on one of the bandits and take him to the hospital, claiming that he had been hit by a car. Making their way to Elys’s room, they shoot the police officer standing guard at the door and start to head towards her room but Malone, who had arrived at the hospital, heard the shot and manages to shoot one of the bandits in the back. The leader and the other bandit take cover and Malone shoots the other bandit when he heads for Elys’s room, then engages in a shootout with the bandit’s leader but is forced to let him go when he hears Elys screaming and quickly heads to her room and kills the bandit, who had crawled into the room to kill her. Malone takes Elys to his place for safe keeping but one of the bandits manages to find them and attempts to kill them both but Malone is able to kill him. Upset at the failure of his men, the bandit leader takes his two remaining men and they beat up Walker and kidnap his daughter, saying that they will make an exchange for Elys. The bandits then gather up some more men to help them set a trap for Malone when he shows up to the exchange. Walker tells Malone what happened, upset over being unable to protect his daughter and Malone tells him not to worry and that he will get his daughter back safely. Malone heads back to his house and starts grabbing some weapons from his gun cabinet and his partner asks for some guns as well, as he plans to help. Malone and his partner show up and the dock where the exchange is to take place and begin taking out the bandits trying to kill them. After killing most of the men, they find one of the bandits threatening to kill Walker’s daughter but Malone is able to bluff to get the man to drop his knife before knocking him out. Seeing his plan ruined, the bandit leader tries to escape but Malone spots him and throws a knife into his back, causing the leader to fall into the water. Malone and his partner leave with Walker’s daughter but the bandit leader had survived and dyes his hair and changes clothes to make himself look respectable so he can take another shot at Elys. Elys takes Malone out for a nice dinner as thanks for saving her but as Malone scans the crowd at the restaurant, he notices the bandit leader and recognizes him from Elys’s picture due to his gold tooth when he smiles. Moving slowly so as not to attract attention, Malone goes to grab his gun and moves his foot between Elys’s legs and onto her chair. Elys misinterprets his actions and smiles at him but when the bandit leader pulls out a gun and goes to shoot Elys, Malone shoves her chair with his foot and causes her to fall backwards, causing the bandit leader to miss his shot. Malone fires back at him but the bandit leader dodges it and then grabs a hostage to serve as a shield while he exits the building. Malone follows after him and after a car chase through the abandoned warehouse, they end up fighting some more and Malone is finally able to kill him. Some time later, Malone is getting ready to leave when Elys thanks him for saving her life and convinces him to let her take a picture of him.

Well, I am going to stand by my assessment that this was a pretty forgettable movie. The acting was ok I guess, though the dubbing was a little off at times which didn’t help matters at times. The story was ok but it wasn’t very original. In fact, the plot was almost ecatly the same as Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra, which had come out the year before and is reportedly where the movie’s title came from. The action scenes honestly looked pretty cheap and really didn’t incite a whole lot of excitement when I was watching it. So yeh, you can watch it if you want to kill some time but it won’t really be a satisfying waste of time.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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