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Cobra

Comparison:

  • Original Version
  • Extended TV Version
Release: Aug 06, 2018 - Author: Mike Lowrey - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Cobra – Lots of censorship for the popular Stallone movie

For fans of Sylvester Stallone, Cobra (1986) is a beloved entry in his filmography. The grim tone, Stallone as a rule-bending cop from the police’s “Zombie Squad” and a killer sect that kills various people (and also tries to kill Brigitte Nielsen) worked with audiences just as well as the movie’s stylish poster that surely decorates lots of walls. Cobra’s success is therefore understandable but looking at the film’s troubled production history, it’s easy to see how the movie could have been so much better in many aspects.

The initial version had a runtime of almost two hours but Warner Bros. interfered, demanding a more fast-paced action thriller in the vein of other genre films at the time. Stallone had his part in this process, as well, removing lots of plot scenes involving other actors (while being more forgiving with his own, of course). Stallone had this power because director George P. Cosmatos didn’t really have a lot to say. Warner also deemed the film too “intense” and therefore had a lot of the violence removed in order to avoid the MPAA’s infamous “X” rating. When Cobra still scored that classification after the first submission, the violence was censored even further to achieve the desired and financially lucrative “R” rating.

Extended TV Version raises the desire for the Cobra workprint

We’re seeing the almost sinful waste of so many, potentially interesting and entertaining elements that were removed from Cobra’s final cut and can only say what a shame that is. To make matters worse, there are two versions of the film that confirm that this material does indeed exist. We managed to get a hold of one of them and it offers just an appetizing glimpse of what fans hope for in their wildest dreams. This version was aired on US TV (and - judging from the foreign subtitles – in Sweden, as well) and has all the censorship markers that are typical for US cable television: too intense violence and vulgar language usage were trimmed down or replaced by alternate footage. But it makes up for this by offering over six minutes of exclusive material, consisting of extended and additional scenes. Looking at the kind of censorship, it’s safe to assume that this version originated from the studio, as well.

And so we can truthfully call this an extended version. It doesn’t feature more on-screen violence but more story and character scenes, which is an improvement of Cobra. What is still unresolved is the situation of the workprint. If the rumors are true, then only a small, very secretive group of collectors possesses this version that is said to include between 30 and 40 minutes of material comprised of more plot and extended murder scenes. Lots of fans are on the desperate, thus far unlucky search for this workprint and if it really stays that way, we can once again only say: what a shame.

Comparison between the Original Version (included e.g. on the German Blu-ray by Warner Bros.) and the Extended TV Version.

52 differences, consisting of

15 additional scenes
12 scenes with dialog censorship
11 scenes with alternate material
 8 pure violence cuts
 6 extended scenes

The Extended TV Version runs 382.76 sec. or approx. 6 minutes 23 seconds longer than the Original Version.

Alternate Material
0:04:11: The TV version has a closer shot of the exploding watermelons. They are hit by the shotgun blast in the OV, as well, but here we see a lady just narrowly escaping that scene.
The OV runs 0.12 sec. longer

Original VersionExtended TV Version



Censored Dialog
0:07:27: Gonzales‘ answer to Cobra’s question about the shooter is a little less vulgar on TV.

OV: "Just another asshole who woke up hating the world."
TV: "Just another psycho who woke up hating the world."
No time difference



Censored Dialog
0:11:02: Another instance where a rude word was dubbed differently on TV.

OV: "You're looking at a fucking hunter!"
TV: "You're looking at a brave hunter!"
No time difference



Alternate Material
0:11:13: The OV shows how the knife penetrates the chest while the TV version shows Cobra throwing it from another angle.
No time difference

Original VersionExtended TV Version



Censored Dialog
OV: 0:12:17: Regarding the reporter’s question, Gonzales tells Cobra: "Come on, don't listen to this asshole." There’s no alternate dubbing this time but a simple cut instead.
2.76 sec.



Censored Dialog
0:13:08: The guys who make it hard for Cobra to park his car are more rude in the OV.

OV: "Fuck you!"
TV: "Get lost!"
No time difference



Extended Scene
0:14:05: Cobra yells something to the Latinos and then walks to his apartment complex. He’s relaxed and compliments the janitor for his cleaning work and then checks his mailbox. A female neighbor passes by with her dog and Cobra enters the elevator.
35.16 sec.



Additional Scene
0:18:14: The TV version offers a completely new scene. A little boy delivers a package to the desk of the police station. He says that a man outside the building told him to do it. The cop starts unpacking it and realizes the blood on his hand. Suddenly, the phone rings and a male voice says: "Her hands are with you, her soul is in the New World.". The cop tells his colleague that he should call the superiors.
62.96 sec.



Alternate Material
0:19:25: The shot of the killed woman on the table can only be seen in the OV while the TV version lingers longer on the shadows on the wall. The dialog about the murder weapon is the same, though.
No time difference

Original VersionExtended TV Version



Censored Dialog
0:19:44: Here we have the third kind of dialog censorship. The angry shouting of "Christ!" was simply erased from the TV’s audio track.
No time difference



Censored Dialog
0:20:15: The OV has Cobra say: "Because as long as we play by these bullshit
rules and the killer doesn't, we lose.
" The TV version omits the expletive and the cut was hidden by prolonging a prior shot.
No time difference



Additional Scene
0:20:46: A montage of scenes shows the Night Slasher and other members of the sect doing their day jobs, attending a sect ceremony and weapon training. Obviously someone of the gang is a cop as becomes clear when we see their tattoo on the wrist.
46.6 sec.



Censored Dialog
0:24:58: Gonzales’ answer to Cobra’s sugar remark differs in both versions:

OV: "Bullshit."
TV: "Oh, shut up."
No time difference



Additional Scene
0:27:54: Ingrid’s colleague wants to party with her but she declines because she’s too tired. Her colleague jokes that Ingrid can life that boring lifestyle alone. After that, Dan flirts with her while Ingrid asks him to call security for her way to her car. He asks whether she has a stalker and wants to accompany her. She thanks him but insists on the security guard. Dan compliments her for the photo shooting and says that he wants to see her happy.
41.92 sec.



Alternate Material
0:30:23: Only the OV shows how Dan is hit by the axe. The TV version shows the killer preparing his strike.
No time difference

Original VersionExtended TV Version



Alternate Material
0:30:32: On TV, violence is hidden once more. Here, we see the Night Slasher’s accomplice starting to chase Ingrid while the OV has him strike down an innocent bystander with his axe. A champaign bottle crashes on the floor.
The OV runs 2.6 sec. longer

Original VersionExtended TV Version



OV: 0:30:41: The short view of the body is missing. The killer steps on the glasses while running.
1.4 sec.



OV: 0:31:00: The TV version doesn’t show how the van rams the security guard into the wall.
2.16 sec.



Alternate Material
0:35:08: The Night Slasher tests the sharpness of his knife with his finger and a little blood surfaces. On TV, he continues to sharpen it.
No time difference

Original VersionExtended TV Version



Censored Dialog
0:37:03: Gonzales jokingly insults Cobra but chooses a word that the TV version replaced with a more harmless term.

OV: "Yeah, fucking liar."
TV: "Yeah, freaking liar."
No time difference



Additional Scene
0:37:59: The Night Slasher’s helper drives his car to the back of Cobra’s apartment complex and parks it there.
11.28 sec.



Additional Scene
0:38:47: Carrying weapons, they sneak into the back entrance of the apartment complex.
13.2 sec.



Additional Scene
0:39:07: One of the masked killers sneaks up the stairs.
7.68 sec.



Alternate Material
0:39:28: The OV has a short close-up of the blade moving towards the cleaner but no bloody consequences. Still, on TV we see a more distanced shot.
No time difference

Original VersionExtended TV Version



Additional Scene
0:39:33: One of the Night Slasher’s helpers waits in the car and we see Cobra studying case files while the other two killers go upstairs with their axes.
16.92 sec.



Additional Scene
0:40:18: The killers come closer as we see based on the shadows on the wall.
6.04 sec.



Additional Scene
0:40:49: They go further and shut off the light.
10.48 sec.



Additional Scene
0:41:45: The helper still waits in the car.
2.72 sec.



Alternate Material
0:42:27: When Cobra shoots the first killer, we see that more clearly and bloodier. On TV, he also gets hit but it is shorter and features no blood.
No time difference

Original VersionExtended TV Version



Additional Scene
0:42:44: The helper in the car starts the engine.
1.72 sec.



Additional Scene
0:42:48: We see him fleeing.
8.88 sec.



OV: 0:40:12: A simple violence cut in the TV version as the Night Slasher walks through the room with his bloodied knife. This is followed by a scene showing Cobra racing his car and then another shot showing the Night Slasher’s hand in a glove, slowly using the doorhandle.
12.44 sec.



Censored Dialog
0:47:07: Once again, a religious curse word had to be replaced for TV.

OV: "What is this, a goddamn game?!"
TV: "What is this, one of your damn games?!"
No time difference



Extended Scene
0:47:18: The TV version also changes the superior’s use of words.

OV: "Alright, enough of this bullshit. Do you understand? You bet."
Much more interesting is that we also get an extension of the dialog with more information. They discuss bringing Ingrid to a secret location on a boat they routinely use for endangered persons but Cobra is against it and suggests a safehouse instead. His boss is enraged by that because he argues that other people were in more danger than Ingrid and were hidden there successfully. He also provokes Cobra by asking him whether he thinks that he’s the only expert on the force.
19.92 sec.



Alternate Material
0:54:58: In all honesty, the TV version is cleverer here from an artistic standpoint. As Cobra stumbles out of the wrecked car and points his gun in the direction where he expects the villains to show up, we can see that he’s still a bit dizzy from the crash. When we see his point of view, the TV version shows the scene in a blurred way while the OV shows everything sharp immediately.
No time difference

Original VersionExtended TV Version



Censored Dialog
0:55:24: The TV version uses more harmless vocabulary.

OV: "Of course we're gonna have legal problems. This city's become one big goddamn battlefield."
TV: "Of course we're gonna have legal problems. This city's become one big damn battlefield."
No time difference



Extended Scene
0:55:25: The cops are puzzled that the killers that Cobra eliminated did not have a criminal record and no ties to crime in general. They also ask how the killers got the police uniforms.
8.12 sec.



Censored Dialog
OV: 0:51:08: Captain Sears uses different language while venting.
OV: "I don't wanna hear this shit anymore!"
TV: "I don't wanna hear that stuff anymore!"
No time difference



Extended Scene
0:56:12: A different cop again cites legal problems that would arise were they to bring Ingrid to a location that’s not in the department’s jurisdiction. He asks Cobra why he thinks that she couldn’t be safe in this district and Cobra replies that this department has a leaker and that it’s only a matter of time before the killers know where she is.
10.76 sec.



Censored Dialog
0:56:37: On TV, Monte can’t mention the rear end of a rat.

OV: "He doesn't give a rat's ass for this girl."
TV: "He doesn't give a rat for this girl."
No time difference



Extended Scene
0:58:05: The dialog between Cobra and Ingrid is longer on TV and quite charming, as well. Cobra asks her how long she’s living in California and then tells her that he has never left the state. Ingrid offers to accompany him on a trip sometime. He thanks her and jokes that he’ll try to make it as a model and Ingrid flatters him by saying that he really should. He then boasts about his legs and they both smile.
26.68 sec.



Additional Scene
1:02:59: Officer Stalk sits at the bar with Gonzales and says that she has to call home to check if everything’s okay. Gonzales jokingly asks if she’d sexually assault him later at the hotel in case she gets desperate but she just lets it slide and grabs the phone.
18.84 sec.



Additional Scene
1:09:20: An old man smokes and looks out the window.
3.72 sec.



Additional Scene
1:10:19: The killers cut the phone cables and attack a woman and an old man. They kill both but no blood is visible.
28.76 sec.



Alternate Material
OV: 1:06:38: OV shows the attacker being shot bloodily while TV has him running and shot in the process (at least the scream suggests it).
No time difference

Original VersionExtended TV Version



OV: 1:14:18: One of the killers gets engulfed in flames and screams.
2.36 sec.



OV: 1:14:22: He falls down to the ground while burning.
1.96 sec.



OV: 1:19:35: The TV version cuts how the hook sticks in the screaming Night Slasher’s back.
3.48 sec.



OV: 1:19:40: The hook carries him closer to the furnace, he screams in pain.
2.68 sec.



OV: 1:19:46: Another shot and then a view of Cobra observing the scenery.
4.84 sec.



Alternate Material
OV: 1:19:53: The OV is slightly longer as the Night Slasher dangles in the air. Then, both versions show a different shot of Cobra walking slowly towards the camera. This is followed by another instance in which the OV shows the Night Slasher a little longer. A more sublime way of toning down his suffering for TV viewers.
The OV runs 3.2 sec. longer

Original VersionExtended TV Version



OV: 1:20:05: Only the OV shows how the Night Slasher dies in the flames.
3.88 sec.



Extended Scene
1:26:07: When Cobra and Ingrid meet after the final fight, the OV has them go straight to the exit. The TV version is longer and shows a group of cops approaching them with their guns aimed at them. The ranking officer doesn’t recognize Cobra so he identifies himself, hands over his gun and tells them that they have missed quite a party. The officer is furious and wants to know what happened. Cobra says that he’ll write a report but the officer screams twice that he wants to have a full report and demands answers. Cobra then slowly turns around and tells the cop to let him know when he finds them. After that, he and Ingrid exit the building.
44.28 sec.