REVIEWS: Action & Thrillers — June 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

REVIEW: When the Cobra Strikes aka Black Cobra (2012)

Sizwe Biko (TJ Storm) has a problem to deal with – his father, an ex freedom fighter and a political prisoner is ill, and he’s kept in a prison in South Africa. Biko learns that his father is being threatened, so there are some people to bribe, so that his father would be set free.

Such plan of course does not come cheap, and Biko decides to smuggle diamonds from S. Africa to the U.S., sell them on the black market there, and pay that money for his father’s release. Little does he know that there are lots of other not so good folks that want to get their hands on these diamonds.

Luckily for Biko, he’s expertly trained in “Black Cobra Kung-Fu” style of martial arts, and can take care of himself.

Upon arrival in the U.S., Biko has to deal with not only his old friends, but also with a Japanese crime boss Goro Tanaka (Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa), who wanted to purchase the diamonds.

As usual, I decided to check out “Black Cobra” or “When the Cobra Strikes” relying completely on actors. In this case, they were TJ Storm (finally in a leading role), and Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa, who needs no introduction.

TJ Storm in fact is one of those martial arts actors today, that desperately need recognition, and more leading parts. Other stars that are in the same boat with Storm are Marko Zaror and Lateef Crowder.

Although his acting is very mediocre, even by the “b-action movie” standards, his martial arts skills are on the level, and he gets plenty of scenes in the film to showcase his talent as a fighter.

Jeff Wolfe, who plays Storm’s friend in the film also gets a few fight scenes, and he’s surprisingly good.

Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa handles his part with ease, as he’s been playing these type of characters most of his career, and he’s simply natural.

Sadly, everything else in the film fails to grab a viewer’s attention. The directing is mediocre, camera work is “shaky” at times, the plot is far from solid even in this type of film, and there are way too many ridiculous scenes that do not add anything positive to the viewing experience.

If you are a die-hard martial arts fan, this might be a good addition to your home collection. While this is an obvious letdown for Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa, for TJ Storm it is the opposite – I only hope he climbs the ladder fast, so the talent wouldn’t go to waste.



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