King Cobra (1998)
Cast: Pat Morita, Scott Brandon, Kasey Fallo
Director: David and Scott Hillenbrand
Nutshell: Z-Grade Anaconda clone, so bad that it’s quite good!
“a gob-gapingly crap Jaws forgery that makes Anaconda look like a masterpiece” Total Film
“derivative dross” Empire
In this age of the sequel it came as an enormous surprise that the producers of the surprise hit Anaconda didn’t churn out a follow up within months of the originals theatrical run. It never happened, and at the time of writing this review, there appear to be no plans for Anaconda 2 in the near future. Before you breathe a collective sigh of disappointment or relief depending on your point of view here comes along a film that could well don the title of unofficial sequel to 98’s slithering smash hit in the shape and form of Trimark’s King Cobra.
The film follows absolute genre guidelines with an early attack scene followed by the small town community with an upcoming beer festival the success of which means the towns livelihood. Our snake busting heroes naturally realize the threat caused by a manic depressive snake which has taken an overdose of nasty serum is considerable, and in a Jaws like manner insist that the festival be stopped. The locals, blinded by their lust for the dollars brush aside the reptilian threat as if it were nought – a terrible folly.
All the stereotypes are included here, including the fast talking, jive afro American bro with a very large mouth and a pea sized brain. There is an excellent “skinny dipping” scene featuring two horny Hispanics… a joy to see the giant cobra chasing the saucy nubile young chick in her undies all over the jungle. Our snake doesn’t approve of bad girls who run around jungles in a state of undress and he makes sure his disapproval is registered.
The lead couple are as unattractive a couple as could possibly be and there is a whole subplot that he, the towns numero uno doctor is about to leave the small town for the big city to get a better job and life. Alas, he is set to leave his small town, simple, local cop of a girlfriend at home with the snakes and we the audience are supposed to feel ripped apart by this enormous dilemma. In actuality we are praying that the both of them are saved the most awful death’s but alas our evil desires remain unfulfilled.
Pat Morita plays the snake expert miraculously keeping a straight face while delivering some truly hysterical dialogue. Like all good mad scientists he is “in love” with snakes and possibly even wants to be one. Its cliché city, this film but with enough tackiness and stupidity to elevate it from stuff like the recent Bats which was just woeful and probably cost ten times as much as this piffle.
The snake effects range from bad to quite bad, but once or twice the giant creature does manage to look fairly awe inspiring if a touch stiff round the edges. It doesn’t move so much as the camera sort of zooms in towards its open jaws to indicate a vicious kill. Once in a while it manages to spring forward quite majestically and on occasion its eyes look quite cool. Good use is made of a monstrous profile and absolutely supersonic snake sounds. It’s quite a giggle watching this super cobra doing its thing.
Once or twice it manages to make stunning appearances out of the blue causing a major shock or two. Its good old fashioned cheap b monster movie fun with no pretensions whatsoever. Some horrid acting and some of the worst dialogues in recent history, but a funky snake monster with a mean streak a mile long make up for many of its flaws.