Interesting fact: there are several posts on the original film's
message board, but as of this writing there none (other than my own
which is just a copy of this review) on this film's board. You have to
wonder why that is. I mean the first one is enjoyable trash but, and
let's be honest, it is a real piece of crap and most likely only Hammer
fans and lovers of bad films will sit through to the end. Besides the
opening hostage negotiation and a couple of amazing moments of sexism,
it is the kind of film you put on and then go and do something else,
perhaps opening a book and occasionally looking over the edge of the
page to remind yourself that, yes this is still happening. But dammit
it's enjoyable enough, and I have certainly seen worse in all
Black Cobra 2, though (and forgive me if I am misremembering, but I
think the 'the' preface is a new addition), is just a fantastic little
film. Yes, it's still trash but it easily stacks up against similar
fare Hollywood were putting out around the same time and for a while
afterwards. The Hammer is back and his entrance, while not quite as
hilarious as before, is arguably better. Certainly it establishes the
recurring motif of the cigar which, correct me if I am wrong, was not
in the original (and if it was, certainly not to this degree). I don't
know, maybe I missed it in-between the book I was reading. It's fine
though, because as well as the probable increase in the cigar factor,
the cast is great, the action is great, the script is brilliant and the
score is amazing.
Now when I say the cast is great, what I really mean is this. Naturally
the Hammer is great, and he seems a lot more into the proceedings this
time around. Then we have Nicholas Hammond who was a great surprise,
and made me want to dig out the Spidey episodes I have recorded
somewhere. I really can't seem to remember who the villains were
besides generic thieves, I'm sure Scorpion or Doc Ock may have been in
one episode; I will have to do some research into this important
matter. As for the rest, Emma Hoagland was alright when her hair wasn't
a repulsive distraction (which to be fair only happened once), and I am
shocked to see that Edward Santana has, according to this website, only
appeared in three films. And one of them is probably archive footage.
Now I haven't yet seen Black Cobra 3 (I am saving that for the
weekend), but he delivered everything one could hope for from a angry
police chief. I would have enjoyed it even more if he had asked for
Malone's badge and gun and shouted "now cut that s**t out!" when Malone
slammed his fist on his captain's desk demanding to be put back on the
case, but I understand why this classic scene didn't make it as the
plot had other ideas. I also very much doubt he has only appeared in
three films. Lastly, Oscar Daniels - who portrayed the pick-pocket at
the airport who later winds up dead - looking at his resume makes me
want to watch Among Thieves, a short film he appears to have written,
edited and directed.
When I say the action was great, I mean it was better than the first
film but was pretty generic I suppose (apart from the Hammer doing his
own bad ass stunts, and also it was pretty cool when he snapped that
dude's neck). Oh well, I still liked it, and the AWESOME guitar and
synthesiser score complimented it superbly. Oh and on that score, yes
it was great but holy crap the repetition. Oh well, I didn't get sick
of it when it looped for the fifth time, so I guess that's something.
But probably the biggest improvement (other than the transfer on the
copies of Black Cobra 1 and The Black Cobra 2 I have) was the script.
As in, it was actually good. Well, I say good, but it definitely was
loads better and obviously a vast improvement over the stale or often
non-existent dialogue of the first film. There were a lot of fun lines,
and also nice little touches like the old maid grumbling to herself in
the hotel before Hammer and Nick find the pickpocket's corpse.
And how can you not enjoy the two man assault on the school at the end.
Sure, there was absolutely no kids, teachers, classrooms or signs of
learning whatsoever, but just watching them climb up the elevator shaft
was more exiting than a dozen Die Hards. Okay that is the praise on the
cover of the region 2 Tartan release of Hard Boiled, but when the
Hammer smashed through the window and blew like six guys away with a
shotgun you got to admit that was pretty bad ass.
About my only complaint was that the tom hits in the score never really
amounted to any real sense of musical progression, that the crappy love
ballad the girl sings in the club was used as the end credits son
instead of a cheesy rock ballad (even the same song from the first film
would have been better), and lastly that at no point that I can recall
did the Hammer end a statement with, "ya dig." Also it would have been
nice to see his cat again. Maybe Malone has leaned to clear away those
red tins so Pervis doesn't get mad again.
Al in all top class entertainment.