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Black Cobra 3
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by Jack Sommersby

"Third Time is Not the Charm"
2 stars

The last time Williamson teamed up with an Italian director for one of these low-grade action movies, it was the much-better "1990: The Bronx Warriors."

Confessing to not having seen either of the two previous entries in this series, after sitting through the harmless but lackluster Black Cobra 3, I can safely say I don’t think I missed out on too much. Fred Williamson, that former pro-football player and blaxpoitation superstar of the seventies who made a considerable name for himself in movies such as Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem, once again dishes out his two-fisted machismo, only it’s a once-tasty product gone bland that’s on its very last legs. While refreshingly bereft of smugness, Williamson can’t even remotely be accused of putting much in the way of genuine effort into these undemanding star vehicles; even though they’re low-budget, one can be fairly sure he’s not being paid chicken feed, and with this sequel set in and shot on location in Manila, in the Philippines, at the very least he got an all-expenses-paid trip to an exotic locale. Returning as Chicago cop Robert Malone, Williamson’s first scene has him thwarting a robbery by three-armed men in a downtown grocery (he, of course, goes through them like a warm knife through butter), and next thing you know Malone’s stereotypically loud-mouthed police captain has been telephoned by the governor to allow Malone an indefinite leave of absence to cooperate in a CIA operation to locate and destroy a hijacked shipment of land missiles that was meant as military aid to a revolutionary group fighting for democracy. There’s a time limit involved: in what would seriously jeopardize East/West relations, we’re told, in ten days the hijacker will release to the media proof of a fifty-million-dollar Swiss bank account the CIA had set up to fund the group. (Since Reagan was able to escape persecution for something similar, it’s highly unlikely anything explosive would come from this kind of revelation.) Malone won’t be working solo, however. Joining him is Interpol lieutenant Greg Duncan, who knew Malone’s father twenty-five years ago and recommended Malone for this operation, and Tracy Rogers, a computer whiz who may or may not be duplicitous. (Actually, the traitor is so easy to spot he might as well have a “V” for villain stamped on his forehead.) With a sometimes-decent action sequence every now and again (naturally, the well-armed bad guys, who might as well be papier-mâché targets at a shooting range, couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn) and occasional gratuitous female nudity thrown in for good measure, Black Cobra 3 is a slight improvement over Williamson’s abysmal Delta Force Commando from two years prior, but it’s so unsurprising and generic that you could probably switch up reels of it with the original and first sequel and not notice much difference. Williamson isn’t allowed to get a rapport going with his co-stars, and he himself looks spent and distracted, as if already contemplating his next deal, of possibly a Black Cobra 4 filmed in Hawaii? I know, I know -- life’s rough, Fred.

Fans of the series (all one or two of you) can get the collection for only $6 on DVD.

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originally posted: 01/30/15 06:21:16
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  30-Nov-1990 (R)



Directed by
  Edoardo Margheriti

Written by
  Vincent Danegi

  Fred Williamson
  Forry Smith
  Debra Ward
  David Light
  Kelly Wicker

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