Maniac Cop 2

1991, Movie, R, 88 mins

Review

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Though unquestionably a low-budget genre film, MANIAC COP 2 delivers substantial entertainment value within the narrow parameters of its ambitions.

New York Detective Sean McKinney (Robert Davi) is on the case of a serial murderer who kills strippers. Officer Susan Riley (Claudia Christian), a departmental therapist, is concerned that McKinney is headed for a nervous breakdown. Meanwhile, officers Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) and Teresa Mallory (Laurene Landon) continue to insist that the late Officer Matt Cordell (Robert Z'Dar), who was killed after he went on an inexplicable rampage, is still alive. They're treated as though they're crazy because they insist Cordell is an unkillable monster. Cordell was dubbed the "maniac cop" and his reign of terror made New Yorkers deeply suspicious of their police department. Department officials want to hear no more about it. The problem is there have been a number of incidents involving a tall, silent cop who seems to be on the side of the bad guys.

Forrest is killed, and Mallory tries to convince Susan that she's not crazy. Susan becomes a believer herself when she sees the maniac cop face-to-face, but no one else believes her. Meanwhile, the terribly deformed Cordell joins forces with Turkell (Leo Rossi), the stripper killer. Turkell is arrested and Cordell breaks him out of jail. With a group of other prisoners, they take Susan hostage and attempt a massive prison break. McKinney rescues Susan, and Cordell is consumed by fire.

The sequel to MANIAC COP, MANIAC COP 2 reunites writer Larry Cohen (who has written and directed such films as IT'S ALIVE, Q and DEMON WIND) and director Bill Lustig, who made his legitimate debut with the notorious MANIAC. Promoted with the ad tag "You have the Right to Remain Silent...Forever," MANIAC COP was a small-scale horror picture with an intriguing premise, and much mileage was derived from the question of whether Cordell was a supernatural monster or simply a deranged man. MANIAC COP 2 lacks the element of suspense present in the first film, and it's clear that Cordell is a monster a la FRIDAY THE 13TH's Jason or HALLOWEEN's Michael Myers. Still, it delivers excellent action (including a spectacular sequence in which Susan, handcuffed to the steering wheel of a runaway car, must first climb inside, then bring the vehicle under control on a crowded highway), some spectacular fire effects and a number of quirky characterizations--a Cohen specialty.

MANIAC COP 2's cast is an exploitation enthusiast's dream, including Bruce Campbell (THE EVIL DEAD), Clarence Williams III (THE MOD SQUAD), Claudia Christian (THE HIDDEN), Robert Davi (BLUE MOVIE BLUE), Laurene Landon (I, THE JURY) and Robert Z'Dar (TANGO AND CASH), whose unusual face is used to good effect. EVIL DEAD director Sam Raimi remains listed in the credits, though his cameo role as a newscaster has been cut from the film. (Violence, adult situations.) leave a comment

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