Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Black Cobra 3 Review-The Hammer (Water)Falls!

The Black Cobra 3

1990 – L’Immagine S.r.l.

Directed by Edoardo Margheriti (Dan Edwards)

With Fred Williamson, Forry Smith, Debra Ward and Mike Monty

Review by David Zuzelo

“See ya around…babycakes!”

More Manila Guerilla action ensues as The Black Cobra saga continues in this third film. The true trilogy concludes in a collection of bang up fights and explosions with nudity and witty repartee as The Hammer and his new pals go commando to hunt down THAT elusive waterfall in the Philippines!

A long commando scene with CIA agent Charlie leaping and bounding through a camp of bad guys gets the film off to a good start. Charlie doesn’t make it out alive sadly-but at least gets to see a beautiful nude woman before he dies. Greg Duncan of Interpol (Forry Smith) is assigned the case and advised to pick someone outside of Interpol to help him. And luckily Greg’s daddy happened to be pals with…The Black Cobra! Detective Malone is busy blasting away thugs in Chicago, and another vacation is demanded by his boss. Back to the Philippines (where he hates to “GOTTdamM go”) and into the breach he goes. After meeting up with a pretty CIA agent named Tracy and forming a little unit to solve the mystery with his son’s friend, the trio face off against a lot of enemies. I mean that… a lot of thugs and scum come their way. After beating up some scumbags in a warehouse, blasting more boneheads that randomly attack and even investigating a backlit Jesus medicine cabinet for clues, our heroes realize the following plot point.

“The only reference we have is a waterfall?” Ah, Italians in the Philippines… they just love waterfalls.

Even more blasting follows as they invade the enemy camp, wreaking havoc and causing some of the most MASSIVE explosions I’ve seen in 80’s action cinema. A traitor is unveiled, a rich guy weeps, the heroes get to laugh and it’s over as quickly as it began.

The Hammer looks in better shape in this entry as he runs around the jungle and tosses invisible knives that never miss and teams with Forry Smith-who is best known as appearing as The Green Hornet in Dragon. Though the film isn’t quite as good as the previous entry in the series, it is quite enjoyable with a slew of fun sequences. Edoardo Margheriti’s action direction is as solid as the previous entry, although there are some serious pace issues that rival the action. Walking around begins to take as much screen time as fights and gunplay do far to often for my taste. Funny quips from Williamson keep some of the boring parts bearable, as does some early nudity. The fights all look great and show off some of that FredFu and while not as gory as part 2, a few baddies still go down hard. The last explosion is immense with an overhead helicopter shot is flat out stunning…seriously.

Using the frequently appearing waterfall as a plot point is wonderful, especially given that this film was released in 1990. Making it a fun homage to all of the 80’s films shot on the cheap in a fun way and given the director’s heritage it draws comparison to the mini cars from Black Cobra 2, a fun wink to the audience is given. Or…well, it’s just another waterfall shot, but I like those.

A lot of action, a smattering of gore and nudity and Fred Williamson’s trademark wit add up to a fun conclusion to the trilogy. While the sequels may not rival Stelvio Massi’s original, they do make a nice double bill.

2.5 Exploding Huts

Japanese VHS Cover

Black Cobra 3 opening titles

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