EDITOR’S NOTE: You can read another take on this movie from R. D Francis that was originally posted on August 14, 2019.
Crime is the disease. He’s the cure.
I’ve opined that if we compare the two God-tier action stars — Arnold and Sly — Arnold may have the best overall catalog, but Stallone has the better individual films. One wins the battle, the other wins the war. Or as he’d say, “Don’t push it, or I’ll give you war you won’t believe.”
Somehow Stallone was going to be in Beverly Hills Cop and wanted it to be not so funny, then he wanted to be in an adaption of Fair Game by Paula Gosling — which got made nine years later and the less said the better — and then he ended up making a movie that pretty much is every 80s over the top — no pun intended — action movie cliche all in one film.
And you know what? It’s great.
Like honestly, non-ironically great.
It’s Stallone suddenly deciding what if a slasher movie broke out in the middle of a one cop against the world movie? Zombie Squad cop Marion Cobretti against an entire cult of lunatics called The New World, led by the Night Slasher (Brian Thompson, who had to buy his own ticket to see the film), all to save the life of Ingrid Knudsen (Brigitte Nielsen)? Do you have any idea how many times I watched this movie? Stallone stealing Steve McQueen lines and saying, “This is where the law stops and I start, sucker!” is the kind of thing that made a young me continually watch and rewatch and take notes.
There’s a two-hour plus X-rated — for violence — cut of this movie that I’m dying to see. Throat cuttings, hands sliced clean off, children discovering said hands, David Rasche getting killed with axes and an extended ending — these are the things I want to see! We live in a world of re-releases, so why isn’t this happening? Shout! Factory had a collector’s edition release of this and nope, no footage!
Stallone has talked about making a sequel with Robert Rodriguez — as late as 2019 — but it just seems like cutting the robot out of Rocky IV, Sly sometimes likes to play with my heart.
In case you think George P. Cosmatos’ name is familiar, his son — using the royalties from this movie — would go on to make Mandy and Beyond the Black Rainbow. And I’m not the only fan of this movie, as Nicolas Winding Refn used a toothpick in the hero’s mouth in Drive to show his fandom.
So how is this Cannon? After all, the Cannon logo isn’t anywhere in the movie. Golan and Globus only get a production credit, as it was mostly a Warner Brothers movie, but they got that title in return for voiding a prior agreement the Cannon had with Stallone.
Finally: I am a movie gun nut, so just like another Cannon actor, Charles Bronson, Stallone had his own custom gun made for this movie, a 9mm Colt Gold Cup National Match 1911 that fires Glaser Safety Slugs. This bullet was designed in 1974 in response to the possibility of having to use a handgun on an airplane by the Sky Marshals and having to deal with ricochets on hard surfaces and possible excess penetration. It’s a pre-fragmented bullet that uses a traditional copper jacket, which means that instead of a solid lead core like conventional hollowpoint ammunition, it has a compressed core of lead shot.
It does not shoot through schools.
Finally, action movies are mirrors upon themselves. While Cobra reunites Dirty Harry actors Andrew Robinson and Reni Santoni, Sylvester Levay’s song “The Chase” would end up in trailers for Bloodsport and Marked for Death.
You can listen to The Cannon Canon commentary and watchalong here.