In "King Cobra" Scott and David Hillenbrand bring us another giant snake epic. I have seen any number of this genre of films and this is actually one of the more entertaining of the bunch. The film borrows conceptually from the great "animals gone wild" films that came before it, most notably "Jaws", but does so in an entertaining manner that lets the film be derivative yet simultaneously amusing.
The film opens in a secret lab where there is a mutiny by several underlings who don’t understand the scientific method at all well. The net result is the release of Seth, a giant half-cobra, half-rattlesnake mutant which was bio-engineered for maximum aggression.
Two years later a small town is preparing to host a lager festival, which is wholeheartedly endorsed by Erik Estrada in a hilarious and very flamboyant cameo completely unlike his typecast roles. After a few deaths the mayor is asked to call off the festival, but of course that’s out of the question. An expert herpetologist is called. Who could it be? None other than Pat Morita, who comes up with a plan involving a vibrating machine, a large metal tube, and a goat to capture the snake. To say that the plan encounters difficulties is something of an understatement. (As an aside, is kung fu really a recommended method of self defense against a thirty foot long snake?) The plot is resolved and the cast is thinned out in a manner you may be completely expecting, but the scenes of the love-struck protagonists rolling a giant tube containing a huge snake around in the forest is a special treat.
The DVD has several extras including a decent commentary from the Hillenbrand brothers, a trailer for the film, and a making of feature that is brief but interesting. For all the cheesiness to be had here the actual models and special effects are notably better than many CGI snakes that have starred in other (even worse) giant snake films.
If you like implausible B-movies featuring giant creatures eating helpless small town citizens, this is a predictable, inane, yet fairly entertaining herpetological voyage.
About King Cobra (1999)
Starring: Courtney Gains, Nick Jameson, Joseph Ruskin, Megan Blake, Hoyt Axton, Judith Montgomery, Gary Bristow, Lang Yun, Michael Elton, Hailey Russo, Scot Boland, Pat Morita, Efren Ramirez, Scott Hillenbrand, Iyari Limon, Casey Fallo, Chadwick Palmatier, Eric Lawson, Eric Anderson, Arell Blanton, Ben Madden, Jerry Kernion, Gerald Henderson, Michael Leopard, Catalina Larranaga, Erik Estrada, Concetta D'Agnese, Cedric Duplechain, Paul Morgan Fredrix
Director: David Hillenbrand, Scott Hillenbrand