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Cobra Mafia YIFY

T.J. Storm is sort of an oddity within martial arts cinema: despiterarely being cast as more than a minor supporting player in most movies(his biggest role to date was as a recurring sidekick on CONAN THEADVENTURER), he's remained relevant and a minor fan favorite among theB-movie community for more than two decades. The fact that his veryfirst solo vehicle here didn't come about until 21 years after hisdebut in the movie business is a shame, if only for the fact that hemay no longer be in his physical prime, but the movie does nonethelessshow that he can still be utilized in larger roles. BLACK COBRA is farfrom a perfect vehicle, but it is one of the better (very-)low budgetvehicles I've seen in a while.The story: On a quest to liberate his incarcerated father, a SouthAfrican martial artist (Storm) travels to Los Angeles to secure thenecessary legal funds, but runs into unexpected trouble in the form ofthe Japanese mafia...The film's premise potentially sets the movie up as a derivative ofRUMBLE IN THE BRONX, but this isn't really the case: the scope justisn't there, and even though Storm's character is a stranger toAmerica, there are no awkward culture shock scenes to be had.Nevertheless, the movie isn't humorless, and this helps thingsimmensely: after seeing some of the intro scenes' cheap camera-work, Iexpected the worst in the form of a cruddy backyard action flick thattakes itself too seriously, but the script by Scott Donovan (adaptedfrom Sebati Mefate's novel "When the Cobra Strikes") actually includesa couple laugh-out-loud moments - a rarity among these kinds of flicks.Also serving as co-director (and co-star), Donovan makes the absolutemost of what must have been a limited budget, as he believably stagesscenes taking place on two different continents and ensures relativelyclean-looking production values.At its worst, the movie's action content is serviceable, but on thedownside, its quality never exceeds "kinda good." T.J. Storm is alegitimate practitioner of a plethora of fighting arts, and by defaultit's cool to watch an African character utilizing snake-style kung fu,but I think it's fair to say that, compared to a good deal of modernpractitioners, he's a bit on the slow side, physically. Of course, thismay just be the flawed pace of the choreography, but some of hisopponents just plainly look quicker than him: Hong Kong veteran JeffWolfe and sometimes-heroine Stefanie Cheeva immediately come to mind.Conversely, stalwart villain Cary Tagawa - playing the Yakuza lord - isalso kinda slow but looks relatively good when engaging T.J. with akatana; I really wasn't expecting anymore fight scenes out of him, soit's cool that we got this one.The movie begins with investigating the inequality and racial hatredthat still goes on in South Africa, but this ends up giving way tocontrasting pictures of friendship and father-son relationships.Pleasingly, the film features sections of genuine Japanese and Africandialect being spoken - always a nice thing, in these cheap movies. IfBLACK COBRA here were judged simply on a ratio of what was attemptedversus what ended up working, it'd get a higher rating, but there'sreally only so high a rating that I can give a film like this. Were thepicture made with an actual budget and with maybe a slightly tighterstoryline, not to mention swifter fights, this one would at leastmanage a 7. Nevertheless, if you're interested in T.J. Storm, this isdefinitely a place to start.

Cobra Mafia YIFY

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