You Need To Stream Sylvester Stallone’s Guiltiest Pleasure Movie On Max Right Now

By Robert Scucci | Updated

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Sylvester Stallone in Cobra

For every amazing action movie that the 80s brought us, there were also quite a few clunkers. One such clunker comes in the form of Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra, which was released in 1986, and can be streamed on Max right now. Though this film is living proof that even the most iconic of action heroes are not infallible, you’ll find yourself glued to your TV screen while watching this cult classic because it’s so bad, it’s not only good, but simply amazing in every conceivable way. 

Sylvester Stallone‘s Cobra started out as an early draft for Beverly Hills Cop before becoming a widely mocked but beloved action-classic.

Believe it or not, this Sylvester Stallone film wasn’t meant to be released under the Cobra banner, and was originally conceived by Stallone when 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop was being developed. But Stallone had different things in mind for Beverly Hills Cop, and dramatically revised the script, stripping the screenplay of its comedy and turning it into your typical action movie by the numbers. Stallone’s version of the script was ultimately shelved due to budgetary concerns, and the lead role of Axel Foley was offered to Eddie Murphy. 

In Sylvester Stallone’s version of Beverly Hills Cop, he would have portrayed Axel Cobretti, and Stallone has gone on record stating that the script would have looked like the opening Normandy beach scene from Saving Private Ryan if his vision was fully realized at the time. What’s more, the closing action sequence would have involved Cobretti playing a game of chicken with an oncoming freight train while driving a stolen Lamborghini. Though we would have loved to see this version of Beverly Hills Cop get green-lit, it’s probably for the better that we got to see the version of Beverly Hills Cop that we know and love today, because, after the whole situation resolved, we still got Cobra.  

As for the theatrical cut of Cobra, we’re met with a high-octane bloodbath by the likes of which we’ve never seen. Though the film is mostly a disjointed mess of action movie tropes, you can’t help but be sucked into one-liners like “you’re a disease, I’m the cure.” And the action scenes, while excessive, are well choreographed, so credit where it’s due. 

Sylvester Stallone in Cobra

Cobra actually has a strong start, believe it or not. We’re presented with a hostage situation at a grocery store that Sylvester Stallone’s Lieutenant Marion “Cobra” Cobretti expertly neutralizes after taking a swig of Coors and throwing a knife at the assailant before shooting him dead. Immediately after the threat of a lone gunman rambling about some sort of “New World Order” is eliminated, Cobra is swarmed by the press, and it’s made quite clear that he is a chiseled badass who follows his own rules in the face of danger. 

Despite Cobra’s strong start, we realize that the opening sequence in this Sylvester Stallone flop hits the ground running at a speed that the rest of the film couldn’t keep up with. 

Shortly after the grocery store scene, we hear news segments that clue us into a string of violent murders by an unnamed assailant known as “The Night Slasher,” who we could reasonably assume Sylvester Stallone based loosely on the real-life serial killer Richard Ramirez, who was active during this time and known to the public as The Night Stalker. Cobra has reason to believe that the lone gunman at the supermarket was actually just a pawn in a much larger game that’s related to this string of sadistic killings, and he realizes that he has to take the law into his own hands once again. 

Some of the decisions that Sylvester Stallone made while making Cobra will continue to baffle us for ages.

Though the above summary is fertile ground for an inherently great (but also corny) action movie, we’re presented with more flash than substance for the remainder of the film. And there are a lot of stage directions that literally make no sense but somehow add to Cobra’s allure. At the very least, some of the decisions that Sylvester Stallone made while making this movie will continue to baffle us for ages. 

Sylvester Stallone eating pizza in Cobra

First, we need to address Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra character. It’s mentioned throughout the film that he’s part of an elite division of detectives known as the “Zombie Squad,” but as far as we know, he only has one partner. 

Secondly, Cobra is always chewing on a match for some reason, and this is never really explained to us. If he always eliminated his adversaries with fire, it would make sense, but it didn’t, so it doesn’t. 

But most importantly, we’d like to know why Cobra keeps his gun stuff inside of an egg carton that he keeps in his freezer, and why he eats his pizza with a pair of scissors. 

The strangest part of Cobra is never explained, leaving us to forever wonder why Sylvester Stallone’s character eats pizza with a pair of scissors.

Glaring flaws aside, Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra is a masterpiece of bad filmmaking. But It’s worth noting that Cobra had an original estimated runtime of 130 minutes, and the theatrical cut is only 89 minutes long. In other words, we can only assume that a number of crucial plot-points found themselves on the cutting-room floor, causing critics and viewers alike to not really know what’s going on. 

You truly have to see Cobra to believe it, because the only thing more impressive than a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes is a movie that gets nominated for six Razzie Awards instead. If you have a Max account, then we strongly recommend that you suspend some disbelief, and enjoy the show. For entertainment value alone, this ill-fated Sylvester Stallone flick is a total win in our eyes.