Cobra VS Commando and my quest to see them!
Well it all started back in 1986 with the release of Stallone’s latest movie “Cobra”. I was 15 at the time and with a few mates at school and people getting VCR’s the advent of home movie watching was in full force, By this time we had rented and watched countless times the 1st 3 Rocky movies and had all gone to the ABC Cinema earlier in the year to see Rocky 4, what a film that was when you were that age! Arnie and Stallone were like gods to us. In 1985 Arnie had released Commando but with it being an 18 certificate I had no chance of getting in. My dad and his mate had been and raved on about how bloody thirsty violent it was I was desperate to see it but I was only 14. Now back in the day the word "Internet" hadn't even been invented so the only way you got to see/hear about films were either Film 86 with Barry Norman which I was on occasion allowed to stay up and watch as it was on a school night or you’d see ad’s or features in the all new colour supplements in the News Of The World, That’s where I saw the advert for Stallone’s next movie “Cobra” I hatched a plan……
I basically bugged the hell out of my poor old dad and all he ever said was “You won’t get in” I wanted to go and that was that and I wasn't taking no for an answer, The next week it came out and I asked again and again and again, He crumbled and said “OK, I’ll take you next Thursday but you won’t get in!!” Thursday came and I told all my school mates that I was going to much jealousy and a few mates asking can we come but there was no way that was happening as I did not want to lower my chances of getting in with a bunch of spotty teenagers in tow and blowing the whole thing, if I turn up with my dad it will appear like it’s him and his mate going to see the film and a few beers after, I was 15 going on 25 and I thought the final part of my plan was genius and it will work 100%, the final part of my plan was to borrow one of my dad’s leather jackets, I’ll look old enough then, no problem at all or so I thought in my infantile mind.
(That's not me by the way)
Thursday came and all day at school I was clock watching, we were going to the 7.30 showing so it wasn't too late for the next school day, Ding Dong the school bell rang, I basically ran home for dinner with the voices of my mates shouting “let us know what it’s like!” ringing in my ears, I couldn't wait to see it and was even looking forward to going to school the next day to be popular for a day and the focus of much jealousy! So dinner down in 30 seconds flat then up to my dad’s room to choose my leather jacket, my weapon of choice. Shit, this one’s massive, How long are the sleeves on this one??, I'm no way wearing that shitty brown one, Got it, The leather black cool short cut one, didn't fit of course but I didn't care, “Come on dad let’s go!!”
We jumped in his Morris minor and away we went, Found a parking spot close to the ABC, The days where you could park anywhere, so I got out of the car, straightened up my Jacket, checked my hair, I looked 21 at least, or so I though, We walked around the corner and there it was, The ABC with a huge poster of Cobra outside, There was no queue so we would go straight in get tickets and see my first 18 certificate film. I wonder what trailers would be on? Would my dad buy some snacks in the foyer ? This was my main worry as I didn't want to stand around for the manager to see me or one of the staff and question my age, Do we get the tickets and then show them the lady on the door, do they have a lady on the door?? Step one getting the tickets that could be easy but what if they have a lady on the door? What if they woman on the desk believes me but the woman on the door doesn't?? We walked up the steps and by this time my heart was going ten to the dozen and I started to sweat, I could feel my mouth drying up, I felt like Brad Davis at the beginning of Midnight Express!
My dad had told me that I was to go and get the tickets, so he gave me the money in the car and I approached the ticket office, The lady behind it was huge and scary, she looked like a cross between Mary Whitehouse and Bella Emberg wearing a pair of Dame Edner’s glasses, I casually walked up and said with a dry mouth as my dad stood next to me “Erm, 2 tickets for Cobra at 7:30 please.” Now I had practised my birthday so I was 18, in my head I kept going “12/04/1968, 12/04/1968, 12/04,1968!” She looked at me then my dad and said in a voice reminiscent of Lee Marvin “Date of Birth” “Er……12/04/1961, I mean 12/04/1968!” 12/04/1961, that made me 25, shit! “You’re not 18 are you” I crumbled “No, I said” She just looked at my dad and said “Would you like to see anything else” “No” he said, Back to the car then with my dad saying “Told you!” Thoughts of the shame of going to school and saying I couldn't get in, Terrible. We got home and my mum laughed and I went upstairs and watched some shit on TV. Back to school in the morning, Friends asking “well, what was it like???” “The car broke down” I said, “ Why didn't you get the bus??” “We didn't have any change in the house and wouldn't have got there on time” instantly spieled bullshit by me!
So to Scott, Stevie, Troy and Keith wherever you now may be I confess after all these years I didn't get in! Sorry chaps! But I did eventually get to see Cobra and Rented Commando on the same day when Cobra came out, The guy in our local video shop knew I wasn't 18 but he was a cool young kid who loved to share great movies so let me have them both, I went home and laughed at my dad and waving the video saying “Got it!” Put it on and it was crap! Ah well it may have been better in the cinema probably because of all the Midnight Express adrenaline I was pumping at the time, Now Commando I loved, watched that twice that night, Arnie was my new favourite, Balls to Stallone, he let me down with Cobra and probably a bit of that was a sour taste from my momentous ABC trip failure. I did recently re-watch it and it made me smile, I really quite enjoyed it, maybe because of the 80’s cheese but to be honest it gave me that nostalgic warm feeling of teenage failure. God Bless Cobra!