Friday, July 22, 2011

Hunters Of The Golden Cobra (1982)

During World War II in Asia, a British Intelligence officer (John Steiner) teams up with a roving adventurer (David Warbeck) to chase down an ancient relic called The Golden Cobra from the clutches of a jungle tribe. Along the way they face brawls, big trucks, aeroplanes, mountains, spiders, snakes and twin sisters who are not all they seem.

Directed by Antonio Margheriti this is an obvious lift from 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' yet manages to be an entertaining little bugger all on its own. Margheriti, under his Dawson alias, is his usual expert craftsman, putting together a lean picture with good humour. solid set pieces and barely any fat to its ninety minute run time. He also throws in solid use of mi natures and models, most obvious is the plane chase at the beginning. It is well done though and isn't awful in the way that Leone's miniature train was in 'Duck You Sucker'. There's little gore apart from a gruesome death by blowdart to the eye. On the whole Marghetti wasn't much for excess and this rides that straight ahead action road, using much of the same comic adventure tone of the Speilberg movies.

Another great plus is the chemistry between John Steiner and David Warbeck. They throw cheeky lines back and forward at each other at a machine gun rate, it's like watching Roger Moore verbally spar with Edmund Blackadder. I only knew Steiner from his villain turn in 'A Man Called Blade' so I'll be checking out what else he has done, so good is his performance here. Warbeck is his always watchable self, a genuine warm screen presence, even when he's falling down a rock face covered in mud.

The action comes thick and fast. Apart from some clumsy fist fight editing, it's all full throttle adventure cinema. You can see the budget lacks a little to properly deliver sometimes but that is the essence of such 80s Italian cinema. My only niggles with this film are how John Steiner is absent towards the end and how the finale just lacks a little energy compared to the reckless energy of the rest of the movie.

MVT: Steiner and Warbeck with Antonio Margheriti's hands at the wheel. Without their chemistry, it would just be a straight ahead action flick instead of a lot of fun. It's obvious Margheriti knew what he had with them as he used them again in another Indian Jones type film I'll be checking out soon.

Make Or Break: Steiner and Warbeck squabbling in the cockpit (tehehehe) of a fighter plane near the start of the film. Comedy gold for an Italian film.

Score: 7/10 The version I saw was a laserdisc rip with Jap subtitles.


  1. It's amazing how many solid, if unremarkable, movies Margheriti (or Dawson) churned out.

    I always thought Warbeck was like John Saxon Lite.

  2. I dig Warbeck, especially in the Beyond and The Last Hunter.

    I find Margheriti to be a mixed bag. I like some of his 80s stuff, then other pieces such as 'Death Rage'. There's little I can pin on him though that is an iron clad classic or he had tremendous personality to his films.

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