Stallone working on a Cobra TV Series with Robert Rodriguez and a sequel to Tango & Cash
Those of us over a certain age remember the classic action films of the 1980s and in particular, the battle to be box office king between Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stallone had a massive hit with ‘Rambo: First Blood Part II‘, Schwarzenegger countered with ‘Commando‘. Schwarzenegger delivered mob actioner ‘Raw Deal‘, Stallone hit back with ‘Cobra‘. Schwarzenegger took 1989 off while making ‘Total Recall‘ while Stallone delivered a buddy cop movie similar in style to ‘Lethal Weapon‘, starring alongside Kurt Russell in ‘Tango & Cash‘. With Stallone once again returning to one of his classic characters with the release this weekend of ‘Rambo: Last Blood‘, the actor has been asked about any plans to revisit some of his other 80s action roles. To our surprise, he answered in the affirmative.
Stallone has revealed that both ‘Cobra‘ and ‘Tango & Cash‘ are being looked into as a potential reboot in the case of ‘Cobra‘ and Stallone has reached out to his co-star Kurt Russell about making a sequel to ‘Tango & Cash‘. At the moment, it looks more likely that ‘Cobra‘ will be making a comeback, possibly as a series. Stallone has been discussing the property with director Robert Rodriguez and it seems that the series could actually happen. Rodriguez has been handed the keys to the characters and the premise and is up for the chance of bringing back the iconic ‘Fugitive From The 50s‘ cop.
The original 1986 film was based on Paula Gosling’s novel, ‘Fair Game‘ but only certain elements of the book were retained for the film. The film was, in reality, Stallone’s version he wanted to make of ‘Beverley Hills Cop‘. Stallone was originally signed up to make the now classic 1984 box office smash and play the role of Axel Foley. The only problem was Stallone went about re-writing the script and completely removed all the comedic elements and making the film an all-action blockbuster instead. The producers decided to not go in that direction and offered the original script and role to the young up and coming actor, Eddie Murphy. The rest is, of course, cinematic gold and history.
Stallone’s version, entitled ‘Cobra‘ went the route the actor wanted. Re-uniting with his ‘Rambo II‘ director, George Pan Cosmatos, the film was an all-action cop thriller co-starring Stallone’s then-wife, Brigitte Nielsen and Reni Santoni in a role that wasn’t too far removed from the actor’s appearance in the legendary 1971 Clint Eastwood film ‘Dirty Harry‘. Taking the premise of Gosling’s novel and twisting it to his own designs, Stallone came up with a film that despite having huge plot holes, ludicrous twists and performances and at times resembling an MTV pop video, was quite entertaining. The actor did look cool as LT. Marion Cobretti, all 50s chic with a car to match but the film didn’t set the box office on fire. Many unreported reasons for this is the little known fact that, although Cannon Films were behind the film, distributors Warner Bros took control over the final product and edited the film down from a 115-minute action film with great plotlines to an 89-minute feature that didn’t always work. But the character and the film remains interesting to this day. I mean, come on, what’s not to like about the hero owning and driving a classic car with ‘Awesome 50’ as its licence plate?
There’s no word yet on whether Stallone would be open to revisiting the character himself or by making a guest appearance as Cobretti, handing the keys to his car and his iconic leather jacket and customer machine pistol over to a new incarnation of the character. We can all hope that the project comes to fruition. With both Stallone and Rodriguez on board, the project would be a must-see show for all fans of the 80s.
Not looking as rosy though is a sequel to 1989s ‘Tango & Cash‘. The film starred Stallone as Ray Tango, a sharply dressed police officer on the trail of a major drug dealer. Kurt Russell played rough and ready Gabriel Cash, a scruffy, mullet haired cop who is also on the trail of the drug lord. Both are unaware that they are after the same man, choosing instead to be involved in a personal game of one-upmanship against each other. When both are framed for a murder and for being corrupt, they are sentenced to eighteen months in a minimum-security facility. The drug lord has been manipulating and bribing his way to getting both cops sent away and makes sure they are sent to the worst maximum-security prison instead, where he can arrange for them both to be murdered by the inmates, many of which Tango and Cash put behind bars. After an attempt to kill them both fails, the cops decide to escape and to track down everyone behind their downfall and to clear their names. The film was an entertaining but again flawed action/comedy but the two leads complemented each other and played off each other brilliantly.
Again, behind the scenes problems surfaced. It is rumoured that Stallone himself directed much of the film when credited director Andrey Konchalovsky wasn’t up to the task. And yet again, Warner Bros came in and brutally cut the film down. Serious plotlines and character development were left on the cutting room floor and creating plotholes and threads that could never be filled or finalised. The film should have been a box office smash. Instead, like ‘Cobra‘, it underperformed at the box office.
The problem with getting the sequel off the ground lies with Kurt Russell. The actor is unsure about returning to the role he played over 30 years ago. As he said to Stallone when he approached him about the project:
“I don’t know Sly…There we were in our prime and now we’re in our unprime. I dunno”
When Stallone replied “Kurt, I’m telling you, ya gotta go in on this”, Russell is quoted as saying “I’ll talk to you when I get back”.
The thought of having both actors returning to their roles after all this time is, although appealing, is probably best left in the past. Don’t get me wrong, if it came to pass then I would be queuing up to get into the movie screen as fast as I could get there. However, after 30 years, I’m not sure a sequel would appeal to today’s audiences. Yes, Stallone has brought back that 80s vibe with his ‘Expendables‘ movies and 2008s and this years ‘Rambo‘ films to great effect but this time around, I’m yet to be convinced by the project. It may work out better if Stallone raided the Warner vaults and see if any of the cut footage from the film still exists and if it does, oversee a director cut of the film, restoring the vital plot points and making the film more cohesive. If this version of the film is a success, then consider making a sequel.
Whatever way you look at it, to see these iconic characters return to our screens once again would be, for better or worse, something that 80s moviegoing kids like myself would relish. Attitudes at the censors have now changed and quite a lot of the footage they decided wasn’t suitable for us to view in the 1980s would sail through the boards today unchallenged. Rambo may be shedding his last blood this coming weekend but if Sylvester Stallone gets his way, then we may be revisiting more of his classic characters instead.
Bring it on!
Rambo: Last Blood explodes on cinema screens from Thursday.
Until next time…
“This is where the law stops…And I start!”
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Indiana Jones and Horror movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!