Opening January 12, 2017
Directed by: Justin Kelly
Writing credits: Justin Kelly, D. Madison Savage
Principal actors: Garrett Clayton, Christian Slater, Keegan Allen, James Franco, Robby Johnson
King Cobra is the story of the rise of the porn star Sean Paul Lockhart a.k.a. Brent Corrigan (Clayton), and his relationship with his producer Bryan Kocis (Slater). As his star rises, Sean’s professional and personal relationship with Bryan (who is called Stephen in the film) begins to deteriorate. When he decides to be a free-agent, he is contacted by Harlow (Allen) and Joe (Franco) who run a rival studio and are willing to do anything to get Sean to star in their films. What results is a story which became a tabloid favorite and shocked the porn industry.
Despite a decent cast, King Cobra is simply a schlocky exploitation film. That being said, it is not even a particularly good one, as it does not have the originality or the shock value to make a cult classic, nor the nuance to rise above the genre. Despite being about porn, there is no full-frontal nudity, and in fact it feels pretty tame as if the filmmakers wanted to have the focus on the story rather than the sex. Regrettably, the story never manages to rise above that of a seedy sex story and the characters feel more like tropes than actual people. It is a film that doesn’t quite know which direction to go, and it suffers for this indecision. Perhaps if director and screenwriter Justin Kelly had a stronger vision it could have become an excellent niche film, but unfortunately, King Cobra is simply a forgettable B movie which doesn’t add any insight into an interesting subject or provide anything new or interesting to the genre. (Rose F.)