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Cobra Mission 1986
Description: Ten years after the end of the fight in Vietnam, four ex-Marines decide to return to S.E. Asia to investigate reports of American POWs still being held there. These four contain Roger, whose daughter's just been married, the unemployed James, Mark, who's quit his job at an Arizona roadside tavern, and Richard, recently a patient at a mental hospital. In the jungles of S.E. Asia they explore American POWs but also search out about a U.S. Government plot to hold this knowledge a secret.
Released: 22 Aug 1986 Director: Fabrizio De Angelis Writers: Gianfranco Clerici (story & screenplay), Vincenzo Mannino (story & screenplay), Fabrizio De Angelis (story & screenplay), Erwin C. Dietrich (story & screenplay) Actors: Oliver Tobias, Christopher Connelly, Manfred Lehmann, John Steiner Genres: Action, War
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Cobra Mission Reviews:

Perhaps the main appeal in watching De Angelis's movies (for me) is in coming in with weak expectations and each actually and then being surprised by how well some of the elements work. COBRA MISSION is a weird example because it details an perfect cast of B-movie stalwarts and even some cameos by Enzo G. Castellari, Luciano Pigozzi, Gordon Mitchell, and possibly Dardano Sacchetti. Francesco De Masi composed a moving, yet jarring and unmemorable orchestral score for the movie but it is seldom used in favor of stock melody from De Masi's previous movies with De Angelis (a nice call maybe, but distracting).There's lots of action and explosions but most of the time it's crashed by veteran producer Fabrizio De Angelis's budget-minded approach to filmmaking. At times the movie is edited and shot in a very hands-off and lazy fashion. For some reason De Angelis likes to end his scenes with something exploding, but unlike in THUNDER WARRIOR uses his slow motion really infrequently. Some of the non-slow-mo explosions don't look very dramatic at all, and it seems like an wonderful waste considering how much De Angelis gotta have dished out on the transportation and production costs associated with making the Philippines look like Vietnam.Maybe the most surprising aspect of the movie is its fairly well-done downbeat ending. Christopher Connelly does some cute hilarious scenery chewing, but in the end the audience really does feel sympathy for Ethan Wayne as the soldier that got left behind. The final shot of Wayne kneeling in the field while the camera pulls away from him to reveal a large units of advancing Vietnamese troops surrounding him is one of the greatest and most memorable shots I've seen in a low-budget action movie.As is the situation with DEADLY IMPACT, THUNDER WARRIOR, and THE MANHUNT, it's a mid-80's De Angelis movie which I know is bad, but for some reason I just love watching it over and over.


A group of disgruntled Vietnam vets, led by Mike (Wayne), Roger (Connelly) and James (Steiner) decide to go back to 'Nam and find, then free, missing POW's. Once "in country", they receive their guns and ammo from Father Lenoir (Pleasence) , a priest willing to support the "five boys vs all", to quote the Italian game of the film. Once loaded up with their supplies, it's like the fight never ended, as Viet Cong troops war them each step of the method to protect their camps, seemingly unaware that there had been a ten-year break in the action. Naturally, the discovery of the POW's leads to a government conspiracy that goes all the method to the top - and is the gruff Colonel Mortimer (Mitchell) involved? Will the boys gratis the hostages and create it back home? And if they do, what then? Operation Nam (or Cobra Mission) is a standard jungle action/drama you've seen before, but it does have its moments, as well as a cast familiar to anyone who loves Italian exploitation films. Besides familiar faces Steiner, Connelly, and Luciano Pigozzi (AKA Alan Collins), we also have cameos by Enzo G. Castellari and Ennio Girolami, and the entire affair was directed by Fabrizio De Angelis (the infamous "Larry Ludman") without much panache. He's a better producer than director, most folks would agree.While the concept of moody, misfit Vietnam vets adjusting to a changed society is a fascinating concept for a film, these concepts are only touched upon in the first half. The second half is the mindless shooting, guard tower-falling, hut-exploding, grenade-throwing , bar-fighting action expected of this kind of film. It would have been great if the psychology and emotion of the boys was explored more, but perhaps I'm asking too much of a churn-'em-out category movie such as this.In the plus column we have the fact that the movie was made pre-political correctness, a hero plays Pole Position on his Atari 2600, and one hero insults other by calling him, and I quote, a "Suckfish". Speaking of nice dialogue, we also receive an interesting glimpse into the future: right before one of the protagonists throws a grenade at a baddie, he tells "You've got mail". This comment, which precedes AOL by many years, gotta have served as an inspiration to that company. Not to mention inspiring the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan crapfest, as that was a "bomb" as well! Ha! In the minus column we have the silly, Southern yokel-y dubbing for John Steiner's character, and some overall malaise. But John Wayne's son is in it! Anybody? Anybody? If you liked American Commandos (1985), you'll also probably like this film, as it has a related idea and execution, but this is not a prime example of Italian action.For more insanity, please visit: comeuppancereviews.com


Boy, oh boy. This film came very close to becoming my favourite unintentionally hilarious b-movie ever. The first half was priceless (after a slow start). The 2nd half, however, prevented this film from enjoying a spot in my Terrible Film Top 10.What makes the first half of this film so awesome? Well, to place it bluntly, it's so inept that it's nothing short of (unintentional) comic gold. Basically, we have four Vietnam veterans who become increasingly agitated by the fact that there are known POWs still languishing within prison camps inside of Vietnam. They develop a "plan" to return to Vietnam to rescue the aforementioned POWs. What's insanely amusing about their "plan", is that there really isn't a plan at all. They simply up and leave their families and jobs and fly to Vietnam. Once in 'Nam, they walk around until they bump into someone who has sensitive notification concerning the whereabouts of POWs. If this film is any indication, just about everyone in Vietnam knows sensitive notification about POWs and POW camps.Our stalwart veterans hold bumping into people with sensitive information, and hold referring to their nonexistent plan. Through a series of nearly incomprehensible, and comical, events, they receive a huge cache of weaponry. Actually suitably armed, they start their trek into the jungle via boat and truck.From here the film becomes standard action film fare. Like most action films of related ilk, our heroes display remarkable... nay, supernatural... abilities when it comes to launch combat. They never miss, they're never hit, and they have no trouble even when grossly outnumbered. The "ambush" segment is priceless: our heroes waiting in the brush, clearly visible to the horde of advancing opponents (who, apparently, thought they were merely approaching foliage eerily shaped like Vietnam veterans armed with M16s). At the decisive moment, one of our heroes yells "Fire!". The end result: 30+ dead assailants, and 4 unscathed Vietnam veterans.This starts the desultory second half of the movie. From here, our heroes encounter more enemies, refer to their mystery plan, and, ultimately, locate a POW camp -- which they summarily destroy, rescuing all the POWs in the process. In a surprising twist, one of our main characters, Tag (Ethan Wayne), is killed by a jilted Vietnamese woman.Our heroes, with POWs in tow, start the process of extracting themselves from Vietnam. As you can imagine, this involves few combats involving imbecilic opponents, and super-human precision on the part of our heroes.Near the very end, our heroes are informed that all their work was for naught -- due to some bizarre political arrangement, the POWs gotta remain in Vietnam, and know one can know about their existence.The end.Bad film score: 7/10 Nice film score: 5/10.



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