When I saw Lori Eastside hanging out with the Cobras, the baddest street gang this side of Wilshire Blvd., in the opening scene of 3:15 (a.k.a. Showdown at Lincoln High), I thought to myself: Yay! Add another Lori Eastside movie to my ever-growing list of Lori Eastside movies that I have seen with my eyes. Tickled pink that I had just increased my cinematic output, vis–à–vis, Lori Eastside-based cinema, right out of the gate, I prepared myself for the inevitable letdown that was surely to come when I found out that she was basically an extra. Oh, how wrong I was. Granted, her role is still pretty chintzy, but I have two words for you, my friend: Weaponized scrunchies. That's right, Lori Eastside (Downtown 81, Get Crazy and Fear City), who plays Patch, the leader of the female wing of the Cobras, the Cobrettes, uses her ponytail as a weapon. Now, if you saw a woman employ her ponytail as a weapon, what would you say to them? I'll tell you what you would say... No, wait. Let's let the Cobrette played by Gina Gershon tell us what we should say. Whilst in the ladies room adjusting their hair and make-up, Gina Gershon sees Patches putting the finishing touches on her weaponized scrunchie. And, as any sane person would, Gina Gershon declares Patches to be, and I quote, "so fucking cool."
You said it, honey. And, by the way, you're kind of fucking cool yourself, if you don't mind my saying so. What am I saying? Kind of fucking cool? You're a lot of fucking cool. I mean, it's 1986, you look like Gina Gershon, and you're a member of a gang called the "Cobrettes. Of course you're fucking cool.
Okay, now that we've established that Lori Eastside's Patches and Gine Gershon's unnamed Cobrette character are both fucking cool, we can safely move on to describing the plot or some shit like that.
Or can we? I don't know 'bout you, but the blonde Cobrette in the black stockings looks an awful lot like Christina Beck, the actress who appears in three of Penelope Spheeris' punk rock movies (Suburbia, Dudes and The Boys Next Door); I know, The Boys Next Door isn't technically a punk rock movie, but it has punks in it. At least I think it does...
Anyway, the reason the blonde Cobrette in the black stockings looks an awful lot like Christina Beck is because she is Christina Beck.
All right, let's re-establish where we stand. This movie, which, like I said earlier, is called 3:15, features Lori Eastside, Gina Gershon and Christina Beck as members of the Cobrettes, the all-girl offshoot of the most feared gang in the city.
Most feared in the city?!? That might be pushing it. But if you were to calculate their badness based solely on the swagger they display in the opening scene, they be pretty bad.
Only problem being, the Cobras lose Jeff Hannah (Adam Baldwin), their toughest member, after their leader, Cinco (Danny De La Paz), kills a rival gang member during a rumble outside a hamburger joint.
Even though he still has the Cobra tattoo on his arm, from this day forward, Jeff wants nothing to do with the gang; he throws his Cobra jacket on the ground to signify his withdrawal from the Cobra fold.
After a year passes, you would have thought that Cinco would have forgiven Jeff for leaving the Cobras. But this couldn't be further from the truth. Cinco still feels betrayed. And so does Lora (Wendy Barry), Jeff's crazy-eyed Cobrette girlfriend, who's relationship with Jeff ended the second his Cobra coat hit the cold concrete.
As expected, things are a tad awkward for Jeff while at school, as the halls of Lincoln High, a graffiti-adorned, gang-ridden paradise, are replete with enemies.
Is Lincoln High really a high school? From my vantage point, it looked more like a prison. The way the gangs congregated in this fenced in area reminded of a prison yard. The fact that all the gangs were made up of members of the same race only added to the school's prison vibe.
However, not all the gangs are like this. While the Tams, the school's Asian gang, and the M-16's, the school's black gang (who are lead by Mario Van Peebles and dress like Cuban revolutionaries) are homogeneous, the Cobras have a mixture of Latino and white members.
Breaking up the serenity of this "gangsta's paradise" is a massive drug bust (set to "All Lined Up" by Shriekback). Initiated by Horner (Rene Auberjonois), the school's warden-esque principal, and Moran (Ed Lauter), Horner's police confidante, the bust targets the Cobra's elaborate narcotics operation. Unfortunately, however, the bust does nothing but open up old wounds, as Cinco blames Jeff for his arrest.
While it's clear to anyone with half a brain that Jeff had nothing to do with Cinco's arrest, that doesn't matter, as Cinco has the excuse he needs and plans on exploiting it to the max.
This puts Jeff in a tight spot. You see, Horner and Moran want him to testify against Cinco, but by doing so would expose him as a narc to the rest of the school.
If that wasn't enough, Sherry (Deborah Foreman), his new, non-gang-affiliated girlfriend, doesn't seem realize that the school she attends is a hellhole.
I mean, you're wearing a teal sweater vest?!? I'm not saying your wardrobe should be devoid of teal, or turquoise or cyan, for that matter. I'm just saying it should better reflect the temperament of the school you attend.
No wonder Patches gives Sherry the stink-eye when she sees you walking down the hall. Though, to be fair, I think Patches looks at everyone that way. That being said, Patches does resent the fact that Lora and Sherry have made positive inroads in the dating world. And how do you think Patches expresses these feelings of resentment? You got it, she does so by swinging her weaponized ponytail at those she feels have wronged her.
Call me deranged, but I loved the scene where Patches and the rest of the Cobrettes (including Gina Gershon and Christina Beck) beat up Deborah Foreman in the ladies crapper.
The film's title refers to the time when Jeff must face the Cobras, and once and for all, exorcise the demons of his past. Who will stand with Jeff against the Cobras? The Tams? The M-16's? His floppy and curly-haired friends? Don't count on it. No, the answer to that question might surprise you. A high school movie with prison movie overtones, 3:15 is gritty and overly serious at times. That being said, you'd be nuts to skip this film, as it's an authentic snapshot of 1980s fashion and youth culture.