Operation Cobra Reviews
Though the film has the style of a cheap martial arts film, a lot of the time it has the genuine spirit of a Bollywood film. Seeing as it is set and filmed in India, the ends up adding an unintentional comic spirit to the film which energises some of the moments a little better. However, it's still only sporadic in quantity and of meandering success. What it does more than anything is simply remind viewers just how minimal the production values in the film are. The fact is that Inferno is not a film with cheap thrills, it is just cheap. And it hits viewers over the head with this notion repeatedly through countless production value issues and a predictably thin story. I can't say I expected any surprises from the story in Inferno, and so when I got so few it was not a disappointment. But I will admit, the fact that the most ridiculously cliche twists were thrown in there caught me off guard. And not in a good way at all.
The film in general is just a disappointment. It's not the kind of film which would give anyone high hopes in the first place, but you could at least hope for some decent action. Here, the action is extremely cheap and repetitive while buried heavily beneath an abundance of storytelling with a story lacking in any sort of appeal. The weird thing is that although there is no story in Inferno, there is more of it than action. This is because the script decides to plague the entire experience with an excessive abundance of cheap writing without having any lines that are the appropriate kind of pathetic, ensuring that the unintentional humour of the film is abslutely minimal. There are no characters in the film and not even many archetypes, just a bunch of people who contribute nothing to a story that goes nowhere. And the fact that nobody saw fit to hide all of this beneath a high quantity of action proves real incompetence on behalf of Fred Olen Ray as a director of action films. The film is meant to be a guilty pleasure, and yet he has some ridiculous idea that it should be taken seriously even though the entire experience feels so cheap and familiar to countless other films of superior quality. Ultimately, nobody is going to take this film as seriously as he did. But they won't have much fun either.
Whenever the action does actually come in screen, it rests below average. Most of the success is predicated on the fighting skills of Don "The Dragon" Wilson. You can tell he's good at what he does, but the problem is that the film editing and other people he has to fight are both below average. Seeing cast members faking their own deaths or injuries in such a thin manner is pathetic to the extent that it's occasionally funny, but you can tell that Don "The Dragon" Wilson is really making an effort. The fact that nobody else will do the same really drags down the skills that he brings along to Inferno because the production values of the film are not up to the limited standard of effort that he puts in. One scene shows Kyle Connors tied to a chair with ropes that could not actually be more loose, and the fact that Don "The Dragon" Wilson has to pretend that he is having a genuine struggle to get out of is a pathetic challenge for the man. And watching him have to do it is one of the most unintentionally funny yet also pathetic moments in the film. But it is also awkward to watch, and the most picky of viewers may find themselves cringing at it even though it should be expected. Even sex scenes in Inferno are so awkward that there is no guilty sexual appeal that comes from them. A cheap guilty pleasure is a film which needs nudity, but considering that it only happens during prolonged and melodramatic sex scenes pretending to be erotic, there is no actual appeal in any of it. In short, Inferno messes up the action and the nudity which leaves it with nothing to elevate itself beyond its status as a cheap production.
The only gimmick inn Inferno which has any value is the presence of accomplished martial artist Don "The Dragon" Wilson.
Don "The Dragon" Wilson's leading performance is one of the only mild assets Inferno has to offer. The genuine extent of charisma in Don "The Dragon" Wilson comes up short enough to the point that his wooden performance actually comes off as funny. His confused facial expressions attempting to be intense are matched simply by his lazy soothing around during the dramatic moments of he film, and his line delivery does not even have a hint of emotion in it. Don "The Dragon" Wilson adds unintentional comedic value to Inferno as an actor, and it is better than any value the the other cast members bring along. But more importantly, he is an adequate action hero. The film boasts really low standards and Don "The Dragon" Wilson is forced to work with the aforementioned poor editing and surrounding cast members, but he does prove to have some talented moves. He knows how to throw a good kick and integrate multiple techniques at once. And though he may not get to do it enough in Inferno, the simple fact is that proves his worth as a B-movie action star, even though his genuine performance as an actor is not up tothe same standard.
So Inferno may boast the martial arts skills of Don "The Dragon" Wilson, but buried beneath production values too shoddy to capture his talents or transcend the cheap roots of the film as a martial arts B-movie, it ultimately does not have enough value to succeed as a guilty pleasure.