The resurgence of the entirety of the 1980s continues to its inexorable conclusion with the news that a TV show reboot of notorious action movie Cobra is being worked on by Sylvester Stallone and Robert Rodriguez. Released in 1986, the film was a modest box office success, but was trashed by critics for being an uninspired rehash of overfamiliar action movie tropes, which is precisely why it’s now regarded as a cult classic.
Cobra sees Stallone as Marion “Cobra” Cobretti, the kind of tough-talking, no-nonsense hardcore police officer who could easily wipe out crime if it wasn’t for the officious bureaucrats standing in his way, and has to protect the only witness who can identify a serial killer who turns out to be part of a death cult. With a hero sporting aviator shades and designer stubble, chewing on matchsticks, spouting numerous one-liners and driving a car with a license place reading AWSOM, the film is in many ways a perfect encapsulation of the decade’s overblown sense of excess.
When speaking with Fandango, Stallone talked about the possibility of the revival, stating “I’m talking with Robert Rodriguez right now about Cobra, which looks like that could happen.” It seems that Rodriguez rather than Stallone would be the driving force behind the series, with the latter also stating “It’s basically his baby now.” Rodriguez has previous form in making TV out of movies, having revived his own 1996 crime movie/vampire horror From Dusk Till Dawn as a long-form TV series in 2014, managing to expand the film’s opening ten minutes into the entire first episode and taking an entire season to cover the movie’s plot.
This isn’t the first time that Stallone has talked about reviving the film. At an event celebrating his career during the Cannes Film Festival in May, be stated his belief that the film had franchise potential, but also accepted responsibility for one not materializing, conceding that his own egotistical and obnoxious behavior during its filming was a contributing factor to its failure.
Exactly how well Cobra could work in the modern day is debatable. With almost daily reports of excessive violence by law enforcement, the idea of a police officer portrayed as a hero for wantonly slaughtering whomever he deems a criminal might not go down too well. On the other hand, Stallone’s two most iconic characters have been revived and are still going strong, while three of the unabashedly excessive Expendables movies have been made with a fourth on the way, so clearly the lucrative market for ‘80s throwbacks includes the kind of over-the-top violence of the likes that Cobra portrays.