Interpol agent Kyle Connors (kickboxing legend Don “The Dragon” Wilson) is sent into a tailspin when his partner, Trevor (Rick Hill), is apparently killed during a failed operation. Connors’s boss (played by the film’s director, Fred Olen Ray) orders Connors to go on leave so Connors promptly heads over to India. Connors is planning on capturing Daveed (Evan Lurie), the drug dealer who Kyle blames for murdering Trevor.
While searching for Daveed with the help of an honest (and obviously doomed) cop named Ravi (R. Madhavan), Connors has several battles with a group of Indian ninjas who are intent on capturing a mysterious woman named Shallimar (Deepti Bhatnagar). Connors also meets yet another mysterious woman, Callista (Tane McClure), who claims to be an intelligence agent and who tells him that Daveed’s boss is actually the enigmatic Victor Grayson (Michael Cavanaugh). While Connors is tracking down Grayson, he finds out about yet another shadowy crime boss known as The Hydra and a computer disk that can apparently be used to hack into computer in the known world.
Can you guess who The Hydra actually is?
As any aficionado of late night Cinemax can tell you, Don “The Dragon” Wilson and Fred Olen Ray are a match made in heaven. If you were growing up in the 90s, you knew Don “The Dragon” Wilson was cool because everyone who talked about him used both his given name and his nickname. He was never just “Don Wilson” or “The Dragon.” Instead, he was Don “The Dragon” Wilson. Though Wilson never had much screen presence, he was a good on-screen fighter and the fact that he wasn’t a typically muscle-bound action hero made him more interesting than an ‘actor” like Steven Seagal. Fred Olen Ray, meanwhile, was smart enough to get out of the way and let Wilson kickbox his way through the movie. Though the story is nearly impossible to follow, a few good fight scenes more than make up for it. Ray understands that is what most of his audience (maybe all of his audience) is going to be watching for.
Though the plot of Operation Cobra never makes any sense, most people will know what they’re going to get when they see who directed it and who is starring in it. Even though the film wasn’t shot in the most photogenic areas of India (because that would have cost too much money), it still makes good use of its location footage and it’s hard not to be entertained by a film features Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Tane McClure, Rick Hill, and Evan Laurie. That’s B-action movie nirvana. I also liked that it was never entirely clear what the computer disk actually did but that it was extremely important than it not fall in the wrong hands. It was the ultimate MacGuffin and because the film was made in 1997, it wasn’t necessary to go into details. All that had to be said was that it had something to do with computers and that automatically made it a big deal. That’s just the way things were in the 90s.