Hitman The Cobra (1987)

Directed by: Godfrey Ho
Written by: Stephen Soul
Producers: Joseph Lai & Betty Chan
Starring: Richard Harrison, Mike Abbott, Philip Parker, Nathan Chukueke, David Sevlik, Robert Miller & John Bosco


Acquiring the Filipino action movie Kumander Sumulong: 1940-1970 (directed by Eddie M. Mayo and thank you to Andrew Leavold for that information) for their backwoods action warfare effort Hitman The Cobra, it marks the next to last time Richard Harrison would appear in an IFD movie. The formula remains pretty strict, with the majority of the footage being Mayo's and while partly a fun time, this is one of the efforts where you wish Godfrey Ho would interfere just a little bit more.

A simple enough setup sees rebel leader Max (voiced by Stuart Smith) rally his people to stand up to the Japanese oppressors and corrupt officials. Cut to Phillip (Harrison) tracking down and killing a traitor selling information to the Japanese. Upon hearing of the death of his brother at the hands of Phillip, Mike (Mike Abbott) swears to take revenge...

It's a case of largely village-set and wooden/jungle surroundings being quite easy to match for IFD by having their performers run around the wood-areas of Hong Kong. It's also all a case of Godfrey Ho and his action director being quite skilled during the very short, calculated bursts of gunplay in the way they setup action-beats and the editing that comes with it. It's not as outrageous or goofy as a Ninja Terminator because per default much of the colour is drained from their vision when not involving ninjas. But clearly having Harrison still onboard and director Ho versus the subsequent modern action thrillers helmed by Phillip Ko, Charles Lee makes a difference in the snap and even excitement to their probably 10-15 minutes worth of footage. It's far too brief but fun while it lasts.

Back to Kumander Sumulong: 1940-1970 as re-shaped by IFD, the movie largely plays on its own with no dialogue within Ho's new footage or even extensive mentions of Phillip and Mike. The production certainly isn't high budget and can't get the gritty surroundings to work well for them largely. Mostly that is true but some sparks exists, even if not cinematic sparks. It isn't in the gunplay scenes as they are staged in a basic manner without much flair but every now and again there's a decent darkness creeping in. Where some desperation and stakes are felt. Maybe more so in full but as it stands now Kumander Sumulong: 1940-1970 doesn't make much of an impression. But the sparks by both Mayo and Godfrey Ho as combined at least makes Hitman The Cobra worth a sit through for IFD fans. There's a thread to the filmography or timeline worthy or important to follow. This is the near the end of Richard's.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson