The Space Adventure Cobra videogame is great. The Space Adventure Cobra TV series is great. Cobra: The Animation is great. This movie sucks.
This movie sucks for two reasons. First, instead of simply telling a stand-alone story, as any sensible movie would, it takes Buichi Terasawa’s wonderful long-running Royal Sisters arc and replaces huge swathes with uninspired simplifications. The movie’s not bad because it’s different; it’s bad because they obviously took on more than they could handle and, in response, cut out the coolest shit. The second reason this movie sucks is because Cobra and Crystal Boy don’t kick enough ass. Cobra’s an insightful guy, but he’s an action hero. Crystal Boy always seemed to have an intellectual mind trapped inside his crystalline body, but that didn’t stop him from murdering people.
In the Space Adventure Cobra film, these two fight for love. As in, they fight each other to obtain the ultimate love. Not to acquire a priceless treasure . . . to acquire love. Literally. It’s about acquiring the concept known as “love”.
In case you’ve forgotten, Cobra is a playboy who has a laser gun where his left arm should be. Crystal Boy is an evil space pirate who’s immune to the Psycho Gun. His right arm is a claw, well-suited for slitting throats. These two are perfect rivals: the extroverted human and the calculating cyborg, the immortal legend and the invincible assassin sent to eliminate him. It would be a great set-up for a game of cat-and-mouse, but Space Adventure Cobra instead shoehorns them into a love trapezoid with visions of beautiful women riding flaming unicorns.
Han Solo was awesome because he didn’t get wrapped up in all the philosophical Force mumbo-jumbo. Imagine watching a “Han Solo” film where he learns how to explode peoples’ heads by snapping his fingers. It would be stupid. Now imagine watching a “Han Solo” film where he doesn’t explode heads, but instead learns how to transmit his love for Leia across time and space into the heart of another woman. It would be both stupid and boring. That’s Space Adventure Cobra.
And that’s Crystal Boy, the galaxy’s most feared space pirate.
The first ten minutes aren’t bad, but there is only one scene I actively enjoyed. When Cobra meets a particular beautiful woman, he plops down on her furry bed. The bedsheets are so absurdly shaggy that Cobra actually swims through the fur. That looked fun.
This movie isn’t.