Two British officers in the Philippines in the 1940s tangle with a murderous cult while trying to retrieve a relic with supposedly supernatural powers.
Cheap and cheerful Italian knock off of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ (1981) with swashbuckling David Warbeck punching, shooting and quipping his way from one life threatening danger to the next in his search for ‘The Golden Cobra.’ Not only is the statue a rallying point for a sinister group of local fanatics, it’s also apparently the key to immense riches. This means Warbeck gets saddled with treasure hunter Luciano Pigozzi and his niece, Almanta Suski, whose long lost twin sister just happens to be the high priestess of these snake-worshipping villains. Also along for the ride is John Steiner’s upper crust British Intelligence officer, who provides some much needed comedic moments.
The film tries hard to deliver the same level of thrills as its (obvious) inspiration, and the paper-thin plot is little more than a vague excuse for a series of fist fights, car chases, gun battles and last minute escapes. Unfortunately, director Antonio Margheriti (working under his usual alias of Anthony M Dawson) didn’t have a Hollywood budget to work with so there is little notable stunt work or big set pieces. There’s an attempt at a big, fiery finish, but it’s more of a damp squib than anything else. And that’s the film’s main weakness. There’s no dynamism to the action on offer and a complete lack of style in the delivery.
Marghetti was actually a director with a long pedigree in fantasy cinema; ‘Assignment Outer Space’ (1960), ‘Wild Wild Planet’ (1965) and ‘Killer Fish’ (1979) to name but a few of his outlandish pictures. A year after this release, he reunited with Steiner and Pagozzi for the spectacular chuckle fest and guilty pleasure that is ‘Yor, The Hunter From The Future’ (1983), but there’s little of that level of entertainment here.
The explosion of home video rental in the early 1980s was the ideal market for a project like this: put some colourful artwork on the video box, take a couple of ‘name’ actors slumming it, and mix them into a plot reminiscent of a current hit of the time. A sound business plan, but the results here are stubbornly unremarkable.