Cocaine Wars (1985) Poster


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It's Nose Candy for your eyes!
Comeuppance Reviews6 October 2010
"A Lone American Hero Challenges The Might Of A Vicious Drug Empire!" Cliff Adams (Schneider) is an American in South America. He works for drug super-kingpin Reyes (Luppi) and his partner General Lujan (Rodolfo Ranni) as their personal pilot and assistant. However, Cliff is a DEA agent working hard, undercover, to bust Reyes' organization. When Marcelo Villalba (John Vitali), a revolutionary, "power to the people"-type politician starts gaining some political momentum, Reyes gets worried, because Villalba is anti-drug. Reyes asks Cliff to kill Villalba. This unleashes a chain of events that sweeps up Cliff and his love interest/reporter Janet (Witt) in the violence. Will Cliff be able to protect Janet, Villalba, and their friend Bailey (Dano) from the thugs of Reyes? Will Reyes succeed in his nefarious drug-running plans? And who are those strange German characters? "Cocaine Wars" somehow manages to be pretty silly, yet unmemorable. Odds are, you will forget this movie very shortly after watching it. Maybe it's the unclear, disjointed way the plot rolls out, or some of the stilted dialogue and wacky dubbing (things that normally make these types of movies worth watching), but there it is. The unshaven John Schneider, who, here at least, is best described as "flatly charismatic", does a competent job as Cliff. His hirsute status gives him a doglike appearance, perhaps a golden retriever. I mean this in the best possible way, of course. Luckily, his mustache saves the movie.

There are the standard car chases and shooting-based action scenes, and the movie would definitely have been remiss in denying Schneider the all-important torture scene. There are some parallels to the Peter Fonda movie Fatal Mission (1990), as well as The Dogs of War (1980) and The Expendables (2010). The main music cue is very similar to the opening notes of Beverly Hills 90210. You think Schneider, after running people off cliffs and such, will at any moment walk into the Peach Pit.

Cocaine Wars is a very 80's subject, and this Roger Corman production, released on the great Media label, perhaps could have been executed better. But at 82 minutes, you can't really go wrong.

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Routine but passable drug-war "actioner" set in S. America.
dinky-422 July 2000
The title and accompanying art work don't hold out much promise but this is a competent piece of film-making with several touches which lift it ever so slightly above the mediocre. However, the material is too routine and predictable to have much impact and its lack of distinction may have helped put an end to John Schneider's movie career. This is unfortunate since Schneider had both youth and size at this point and could possibly have competed with Schwarzenegger, Van Damme, and Chuck Norris for leads in action movies. (Assuming he got a better haircut.)

Schneider plays a man at odds with a South American drug lord and in one scene Schneider is captured and tortured for information by the drug lord's henchmen. He's stripped of his shirt, thus allowing him to show off an impressive but not over-muscled physique, and bound spreadeagled-style. Here, as is common throughout the movie, there's a small but imaginative touch that elevates the otherwise unexceptional proceedings.

As expected, Schneider is forced to endure electroshocks since electricity is almost always the torture of choice in these movies. And, as expected, his pants are left on, thus putting off-limits, in a gentlemanly sort of way, the very parts of his body most vulnerable to electric shocks! This means the sadistic henchman with the cattle-prod restricts himself just to shocks above his victim's waist. (Yes, there's the usual close-up of the tip of the prod being held to one of Schneider's sweaty nipples.)

But the sequence ends with a distinctive flair. Black-gloved hands pry apart Schneider's lips and we see the prod being roughly inserted into his mouth. Now, sticking something into the mouth of a man you're trying to make "talk" may not be very logical, but it gives the scene a sexual connotation that is often missing in these sequences, and it imparts to even a jaded audience the sort of chill that makes them pause and think: "Now, that must REALLY hurt."

Kathryn Witt, the indispensable "girlfriend," makes the most of trite material.
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If you are B movie fan, you might like this
elvisfan18720 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Ah, back to the simple times. Back to the simple movies. Movies that deal with serious issues, but not as realistic as they could be. For a movie with a small budget, it was pretty good. I was buying a few VHS's at Vintage Stock when I saw the title. I'm a big fan of movies and documentaries that deal with the war on drugs because while I'm opposed to meth, cocaine, heroin, and pills, I have supported the NORML for 6 years. Many narcotics were illegalized in the late 1930's in America. Yet we still haven't even begun to make much of an impact. Most of the emphasis is put on marijuana, which is why we didn't make an impact during the crack epidemic, and there's no sign that we will with meth because in order to do so you must not discriminate.

But enough about politics. This movie is about a DEA agent in a foreign country going undercover in a cocaine ring. He's constantly insulting and threatening the kingpins, who apparently don't know how to their job. For example, if I worked under Escobar and I get screwed out of some money, the last thing I want to say to someone like him is, "One way or another, I'm going to get it from you. Just wait and see." I would be killed so fast, I wouldn't see it coming. So instead of the kingpin having the main character executed while he's surrounded by his personal army, he allows him to leave and waits to sends very few dimwitted thugs who easily get beaten. They put up less of a fight than the rape victim from Deliverance.

There is also one pointless scene where the main character is walking to a bar and is offered an Uzi from someone on the street. For no reason at all, he takes the gun, looks at it, puts it between the guy's lips and say's no. Come on, the man was just making an offer. Typical DEA agent! That's not what he's being paid for! This man is more cocky than the freaking' criminals are.

Anyway, he hooks up with his girlfriend, they escape death a few times, they have sex, protect a politician, etc. Then, they both get kidnapped. He gets briefly tortured and she gets smacked around. He escapes torture as easily as Seagal in Above the Law because these gangsters or whatever can't fight.

Now we get to the end of the film where our hero must rescue his girl who is kept alive even after he arrives at their "trap." You're supposed to use the woman he loves to lure him and then get rid of both of them. What's the point of keeping her alive while the hero is killing all of your men. Aren't these criminals supposed to be ruthless. I'm sorry, but I hate it when the bad guys have this much mercy. Why not do what Death Wish IV did, kill the girl just seconds before Bronson gets his man. Teach the viewers that you can't always get a happy ending.

Just like in Commando, there is no moment where you are given any doubt as to whether the hero will prevail or not. It just seems way too easy. Movies like this need some kind of tragedy or else they become forgotten or uninteresting. When the hero's woman is killed, the audience feels for him. Braveheart is a good example of this. When Wallace's wife's throat is slit, the audience is captured and their mouths drop wide open. This movie, as entertaining as it is, left me a little disappointed. It was as predictable as a made-for-TV movie and leaves you wondering what difference was made. So he destroyed the supply. What else? Did he go after the others? Were troops brought in? Did drug use decline in this country? Oh, what am I saying? They probably went back to their original plan: Spraying the crops with poison, even though it only affects the users.
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This is very bad cocaine
PeterMitchell-506-56436416 December 2012
It's very rare, someone returns a video the same day they hired it. Such was the case with this cheapie Italian effort I hired back in 1987. The guy at the video store, cautioned me about it, saying "It was sick". Really, he should of told me straight out, "It's pretty crap". Dea undercover cop, Schneider (one of he Hazzard boys, if you can remember) stars in this junk, which I'm sure spent it's weeks, unwanted on the video shelf. At it's start, he witnesses he's friend, double crossed, also undercover, being slain at the hands of the merciless drug lord, Regis. An old flame, a female journalist, pops up in Schneider's life, after an attempt is made on his, where the other guy goes flying through the window of this seedy bar. The owner, Cliff's friend, who's been handed the assailant's weapon, tells buddy Schneider, later, "Cliff, you keep giving me these guns", which he does. He suggests turning the first gun into a lamp, the second into a family air loom. Schneider doesn't really seems phased about people trying to kill him. He acts pretty cool in fact. He ups the stakes too. Regis, before was screwing him over with money and a plane, after Schneider refused to kill a zealous anti/drug government official, trying to hit hard his message of abolishing the drug empire. Now Schneider starts screwing with Regis, where in turn, more attempts are made on his life. The same official-a friend of Schneider's girl team up together to bring down this bastard. Schneider is funny and so cool in some of his remarks, he sends out to his executors. A bit of sick violence, that being the torture/interrogation scene where electrodes are clipped to his nipples, where the amps are pumped up, each time his torturers don't get a proper answer. The highpoint of the Italian sleaze effort movie is the bad's guys face being shoved into a excess of cocaine. He snorts so much of it, as when he tries to stagger around, he eventually collapses, just proving, if you mess with cocaine, the results can be fatal. This movie is a half baked product. It's made as if it was done in a needed rush. Typical exploitation film, I was in a hurry for it to finish. Some viewers may take to throwing their head into a mountain of cocaine, after watching this crap. Given that said, though, Schneider does make it watchable.
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