Sunday, September 23, 2012

Only now does it occur to me... NEW JACK CITY

Only now does it occur to me...  that Golan or Globus must have given Mario van Peebles a good luck charm for his directorial debut!  

Allow me to explain.  Mario van Peebles was a Cannon Films star in the 80s: see RAPPIN' and EXTERMINATOR 2 if you don't believe me.  His hilarious but earnest endeavors in acting (in all of their Jheri curled glory) helped shape the way that I perceive the 80s, and Cannon films as a whole.  He is a giant.  
Well, following in his father's auteur footsteps, he decided to make a film.  And what a film it was.  Sure, he'd directed some episodes of 21 JUMP STREET and CBS SCHOOLBREAK SPECIAL, but a feature film is a large undertaking for a first timer.  You need talent, faith, and a lot of luck.  More on that in a minute. 
NEW JACK CITY is a spectacular film:  it combines the sleazy ludicrosity of a De Palma actioner (SCARFACE, CARLITO'S WAY, SNAKE EYES) with the blood-spattered NYC grit of Abel Ferrara (KING OF NEW YORK, FEAR CITY) and the dopey do-goodin' panache of a D.A.R.E. public service announcement.  Mario even inserts himself in a supporting role as a Captain America-White Knight cop in a move that smacks of lovable narcissism, like Stallone in anything or Tommy Wiseau in THE ROOM.
Furthermore, the lead is played by Ice-T, himself a Cannon Films veteran (BREAKIN', BREAKIN' 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO, the soundtrack to MISSING IN ACTION and RAPPIN').
Anyway, to my point:  midway through the film, all the cops are hanging out at stakeout central, and as Mario strides in, Ice-T is revealed to be playing around with a very distinctive, insane, knife-spiked brass knuckles combo– which I immediately recognized from... COBRA.
I remembered hearing that it was custom-designed for the makers of COBRA (Stallone, Stallone, Stallone, and Golan & Globus) by famed knife maker Herman Schneider, and you can see it's clearly the same knife, as wielded in the photo below by Brian Thompson.
So what's the story?  In a move of good faith, did Golan and/or Globus loan it to van Peebles as a good luck charm?  Or is the story more sordid?  Did Mario and/or Ice-T steal it from the Cannon backlot?  Or is it merely a replica, inserted to pay homage to the glory of Cannon Films?  Perhaps we'll never know for sure.  

Also, while researching this, I discovered that you buy replicas of this Cobra knife wherever fine knife replicas are sold, such as this frightening website called "Knife Depot" who calls it "one of the most unique and dramatic knife designs ever created."  I also learned that there are such things as "renowned knife authors" and plenty of fetishistic descriptions of "point pressure" and "knife heft."  I feel as if I could easily do some frightening and intense dramatic readings of simple product descriptions from any number of these websites.  Whew!


Jack Thursby said...

Good spot! Maybe the implication is that both films are set in the same universe? Maybe the plan was to make some awesome Cobra/New Jack City crossover at some future point?

Sean Gill said...

Thank you, sir! And now I'm speculating if DEMOLITION MAN was initially intended to be such a cross-over: I'm at least going to pretend that Stallone's character is a cryogenic Marion Cobretti and that Snipes is some future iteration of the Nino Brown character.

Jack Thursby said...

Stop press: I just watched Wishmaster again last night (cheesy flick).

Towards the end the Djinn makes Jack the Ripper come alive out of a painting. What type of knife does he hold in his hand? Yup, the same spiked one from Cobra!

Will update you if I spot it again.

Sean Gill said...

Ha! Amazing. Jack the Ripper was quite forward-thinking in his cutlery choices. Definitely keep me updated if you spot it again, and I'll do the same!