• Review: King Cobra (2016)

    From David N. Butterworth@21:1/5 to All on Mon Oct 17 19:37:38 2016
    KING COBRA (2016)
    A film review by David N. Butterworth
    Copyright 2016 David N. Butterworth

    *1/2 (out of ****)

    Not to be confused with that just-sack-Pat "Noriyuki" Morita monstrosity
    "King Cobra," a late '90s straight-to-video nasty about a mutated killer
    snake that terrorizes a small California town ("It Moves Without Sound... Thirty Feet of Pure Venom!"), Justin Kelly's "King Cobra" features
    Christian Slater still doing the Alpine eyebrows thing as Stephen, a covert backyard gay porn producer sporting that same reptilian moniker--the best tagline they could come up with here is "Inspired by a True Story." Catchy.
    That story, it turns out, is the real-life murder of adult film entrepreneur Bryan Kocis. And director Kelly, along with producer James
    Franco (who gets top billing as one of the remorseless killers), focuses on
    its unsavory aspects with exclusive, mouthwatering glee.
    Stephen's latest find is a young stud with the boy-next-door charms of
    Zac Efron, whom he introduces to the world as Brent Corrigan. Brent (real
    name Sean Paul Lockhart, equally pornographic) is dramatically realized by Disney alum Garrett Clayton ("Teen Beach Movie") with boyish naivete but
    not much more. Brent proves an instant crowd pleaser but with rapid
    success comes burgeoning dissatisfaction and the young "paid intern" (as he tells his mom, awkwardly played by Alicia Silverstone) decides he wants to branch out and make his own movies. "Legitimate" ones, that is, but
    Stephen's got him tied up, contractually.
    Enter modest rival Viper Films--what is it with these guys and snakes anyhow?--whose dirtbag director Joe (Franco) and hunky headliner Harlow
    (Keegan Allen) are eager to work with the young starlet and come up with a nasty and altogether permanent solution to benefit all (all but Stephen,
    that is).
    Kelly's disposable drama manages to convincingly and consistently blur
    the lines between reality and fantasy--both incarnations are so shamelessly sleazy it's hard to tell when a high def work-in-progress peters out and "'Cobra"'s central story arc continues. Franco continues to draw his detractors, of course--he seems to be outspoken in all the worst
    ways--although I myself thought he was pretty good in that movie in which
    he cuts off his own arm with a butter knife ("Maid in Manhattan"?). He and Slater seem to be having mucho macho fun being bad (and asses) in "King
    Cobra," and Franco-philes will likely delight in their champion's no holes barred performance. But what are Silverstone and Molly Ringwald (as
    Stephen's sister!?) doing in this slop of horrors (and a little one too,
    since size matters here)?
    Like its 1999 namesake, this "King Cobra" deserves to skip the
    octoplex altogether and slither, in this case, straight to streaming.

    David N. Butterworth

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