7 September 2012 | Red-Barracuda
Jet set giallo
An angry gangster travels to New York and then Nairobi in order to find out who killed his brother. He encounters a selection of shady characters along the way and the mystery is slowly unravelled.
Taking account of the above synopsis, it could be argued that Human Cobras could be regarded as an Italian riff on Get Carter. Although it must be admitted that seeing as both of these films were released the same year it may just be a complete coincidence. But the basic narratives of both movies are pretty similar. That's more or less where the comparisons end though, as this one is nowhere near as good as that classic British gangster flick. It begins like it's going to be a poliziotteschi, with plenty of crime genre scenes involving tough gangsters and an opening theme tune that is driving and energetic in a crime flick type of way. But as the film develops it becomes a mystery-thriller, although not an out-and-out giallo.
The settings are certainly factors that make this flick stand out a bit. It's not often that Italian genre pictures go to America and even less often do they travel to Africa. But the change of scenery certainly gives this one something different and the Nairobi scenes, especially, are pleasingly unusual. It's in this latter location where a somewhat out-dated and bizarre event happens. Our 'heroes' take time out to go elephant shooting! I don't know if international law was different in these matters back in the 70's but nowadays such behaviour is regarded as only a few rungs below child molestation. It's another example of genre films showing some jarring examples of behaviour that seems appalling now.
George Ardisson stars as the central character and he gets through the entire movie with a face like fizz. He is supported by a cast of regulars from other Italian genre pictures - Erika Blanc (Kill, Baby!
Kill!), Janine Reynaud (The Case of the Scorpion's Tail) and Alberto de Mendoza (The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh). While the prolific Stelvio Cipriani provides an entertaining and varied score. The film overall isn't anything special but it's decent enough. The mystery isn't the most interesting but it does actually make sense. It's solid enough and should please most Italian genre fans at least to some extent.